Welcome to the ninth step in our free self-paced course to help you set up your own personal or professional educator blog!

The aim of this short activity is to:

  1. Help you understand how plugins are used on blogs.
  2. Show you how to activate and deactivate plugins.
  3. Activate plugins.

What Are Plugins?

Plugins extend functionality or add new features to your blog such as extra widgets, an easy way to add images to posts, the ability to embed documents, add sliders, add contact forms and more.

Plugins On Personal Educator Blogs

There are numerous plugins that you can activate in Plugins > All in your dashboard.  Plugins should only be activated if you plan to use the functionality provided by the plugin.  You shouldn’t activate plugins you don’t use.

Here are just some of the plugins you might find helpful to activate on your blog:

Plugin Used For
Pixabay Easy tool to quickly find and add Creative Commons images to your posts with attribution.  Once activated it adds a Pixabay icon to your visual editor which you use to search and insert images using Pixabay.
Easy Tables Quick and easy tool designed to help you add tables to your posts and pages.
Embed Any Document Enables you to embed any document into a post or page.
Lightbox for Images Adds an overlay that goes over the site and shows the larger version of the image when a reader clicks on the image so that readers can view without navigating away from the page.
Supreme Google Webfont Adds Google webfonts into a nice dropdown list in your visual editor which you can use to change your font type and/or font size.
Visual Editor Widget Adds a new ‘Visual Editor’ widget to Appearance > Widgets which makes it easy to add links, images and more to a widget.

You’ll find a complete list of plugins here!

How To Activate Plugins

You activate plugins as follows:

1. Go to Plugins > All in your dashboard.

All Plugins

2.  Click on Activate below the plugin you want to use.

Activate Pixabay plugin-

Some plugins have an administration page where you can set options specific for that plugin.

  • Plugins with configuration options add a new item under the Settings menu.
  • Some plugins also add widgets to Appearance > Widgets
  • Click on the Documentation link on the plugin for more information on how to use the plugin.

3.  Click on Deactivate if you want to turn a plugin off.

Click Deactivate

Plugins To Try On Your Blog

Here are some of the plugins we recommend you try:

You should always test a plugin once you’ve activated the plugin to see how it works and then deactivate the plugin if you don’t intend to use.

To test Pixabay and Easy tables plugins you need to write a new post.  The Pixabay plugin adds a Pixabay icon to your visual editor that enables you to quickly find and add Creative Commons images to posts.  The Easy Table plugin adds a tables tool to your visual editor for adding simple tables to posts.

To test the image widget and visual editor widget plugins you need to go to Appearance > Widgets and add their widget to your sidebar.

Remember you’ll see numerous plugins that you can activate in Plugins > All in your dashboard. But you should only activate plugins you plan to use.  Don’t activate plugins you don’t use.  If you decide to activate other plugins remember to test the plugin after you’ve activated it and deactivate it if you don’t like.

The documentation link under a plugin takes you to the support page that explains how the plugin is used.


Your Task

  1. Activate Pixabay , Easy Tables and the Visual Editor plugins in Plugins > All.
  2. Test each plugin and then write a post to discuss what you learned about plugins or tell us which plugin(s) you liked and why.  Remember to leave a link to your post in a comment here so we can have a look at your new post.

How to leave a comment: Scroll down to find the comment box. Write your comment, then enter your name and email address (email addresses are not published). Enter the anti-spam word. Press submit and we will moderate your comment ASAP.

83 thoughts on “Step 9: Working With Plugins

  1. Plugins, I finally knows what its purpose and know I know and it makes sense. Plug in, to add to. I will be working on my blog using all of the new items I have learned through these lessons.

  2. Plug ins seem fairly simple to use. I probably will be using Pixabay a lot on my blog. The other plugins: Compfight, Easy Tables, and Visual Editor did not show up on my plug in page.

  3. I believe something has changed or I’m missing something. When looking at the Pixabay page, it setup looks vastly different from what I see and I can’t locate the Pixabay plugin when writing posts. The other two plugins do not show up.

    1. The Pixabay plugin can be activated in Plugins > All and should be available for you to use. Thanks for participating!

  4. I tried to add the print, email, PDF plugin and it wont work…. its on the page but keeps saying there is an error. Any advice on how to trouble shoot this?

    1. Hi Melissa, thanks for your feedback, however, this seems to be working now. Hope you enjoyed the Teacher Challenge we put together!

  5. I activated the Pixabay and the Easy Tables plugins. It shows that they are activated, even so I did not see them when I tried to add a new page or new post. I could not add the Visual Editor plugins in Plugins > All because you have to have a pro membership.

  6. I will try Pixabay because it sounds like the easiest one to use, and as a novice, I think I need to start with something easy.

  7. I think I have missed some step. I can’t find the pluggins after I activate them. They do not appear as icons on my editor tool bar. I managed to work around the Pixabay issue by going to the website and downloading and then uploading images. Hopefully, I will figure out eventually what I am not doing in the right order to add a picture using the pixabay plugin. Here is my link to the post: https://nellieleoma.edublogs.org/2020/09/06/pixabay-plugin/

  8. I added the Easy Tables plugin and it was just that – easy. I created a table to show our block team meetings.
    I have used the Compfight webpage, but did not see it as a plug in. I did use this tool to add images to my post. I was also unable to activate Visual Editor because it required the pro version.
    I am still a bit confused on how widgets and plugins differ. Actually, probably more than just “a bit confused,” more like perplexed. I will be using this step-by-step guide over and over on how to include them and truly feel overwhelmed on what I actually need.

  9. I have tried the Pixabay and the Easy Tables Plugins. I was unable to try the Visual Editor Plugin without Pro mode. Pixabay made selecting and inserting images into the website very simple; I love it! Depending on what information I am trying to convey, I could use the Tables plugin – it works similarly to other programs when you insert the table, thus making it more user friendly.
    Here is my blog with pictures and now a video: https://leemansblog.edublogs.org/

  10. I like the plugins I activated, Lightbox. Pixabay and Easy Tables. I know that I use the Lightbox features on other sites frequently so adding this will help the accessibility of my site.

  11. I might use plugins to upload the links that are relevant to the events we are hosting with other organizations for our club! This is a great way to connect with people and hopefully better promoting our contents more efficiently with them!

  12. I played around with the different plugins. I added a plugin that allows my blog to be shared via social medias.

  13. Unfortunately I got off to a bad start, excitedly adding Compflight, only to find it not working (this is more than likely due to where I am living and the ridiculous internet restrictions). However I am please to say that I now have access to a more Word Doc like menu with fonts, colours, sizes etc. I was also successful in adding tables which will certainly be useful later on.

    I’m curious if it’s possible to save new custom headings, if anyone knows???

    1. Oh that’s a shame! If Pixabay and Flickr are blocked there then that would be why it isn’t working as that’s where Compfight pulls images from.

      Great to hear you have installed some new features using plugins!

      You can definitely add a new custom header image to your blog but that depends on the theme. I can see that your theme does allow custom header images. If you go to customize > header image you should see where you can upload an image.

      This tutorial shows how you can make your own design using PowerPoint (you can also use something like Canva, Google Slides or Google Drawings to do the same thing).

      Let’s know if that doesn’t answer your question or you need more help!


  14. Compfight has helped me find helpful images. I don’t need tables yet as we don’t use Google Docs whole school

  15. The ability to insert a table is helpful but a little clunky. I used this plugin to include information that I already had on a table in Google Docs. Perhaps in time it will prove to be more useful. I really like the Visual Editor widget and used it to list my favorite podcasts. The Step 8 comments from last week about embedding a Google Doc are much appreciated! http://vujaklijavoice.edublogs.org

  16. I am loving Compfight for finding images! I don’t want my blog to get too overwhelming right now, so I’ll be trying out more plugins in the future.

  17. Here is my blog post about the three plugins featured in this lesson.


    The plugin that I would have really have liked to use is the “Embed Document” plugin because one theoretically can embed a document directly from one’s Google Drive. I say theoretically because you have to link your Drive in a complicated way. They lost me at “find your Google API ID” even though they do provide instructions.

    I’m now thinking that if I want to embed a document, I might use an iframe like someone else on the course suggested a couple of lessons back.

    1. I find embedding using an iframe to be the simplest way to embed a Google Doc too. Hopefully these instructions will help. It’s pretty simple when you get the hang of it. You just sometimes have to adjust the height/width in the code to get it displaying how you like it 🙂


      Kathleen Morris
      Edublogs Community Manager

  18. Hi everyone, I’m having problems with this task. I’ve activated several widgets, including Compfight, they appear as activated in the main list, but don’t apear in the Available Widgets section.

    I also can’t see them in the Live Preview mode

    Is this because I haven’t upgraded the blog yet?

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