CatFolders is a nice plugin to further organize the files you have uploaded to your WordPress website. The plugin allows you to create folders to put together files by certain criteria you define yourself. Its advanced sorting options allow you to find the files you need more easily. In this post, we will provide you with the in-dept review of CatFolders and why you need it to have on your website.
You can definitely leave the files you have uploaded to your WordPress website the way they are — without organizing them. But as your website gets bigger, you will find it troublesome to find a certain file when you need it.
A simple instance. You want to replace the current logo of your website. Naturally, you want to delete the old logo once the new logo is uploaded to save the storage space on your server. The scenario is extremely easy if you only have a few files uploaded. What if you already have hundreds of files uploaded? Of course, it will take time to find the file of your old logo, unless you have a folder on the Media Library dedicated to storing the logo and other brand assets. Like the one below.
The above scenario is just a simple use case of CatFolders. If you have a more complex website like e-commerce and membership, the use of a file manager plugin like CatFolders will be way more crucial.
CatFolders Intro: What Can It Do?
WordPress already has a built-in feature to manage the files you have uploaded to your website. You can access it by going to Media -> Library on your WordPress dashboard. From here, you can find all the uploaded files on your website. Be it by yourself or other users. To make it easy for you to find a certain file, you can sort the files by file type and date.
While the sorting options are quite useful, wouldn’t it be great if you could sort files by name, file size, and even author? That’s what CatFolders wants to offer.
Also, the plugin allows you to create folders — and sub-folder — to allow you to put together files by certain criteria, just like in apps like macOS Finder and Windows File Explorer. This will make it easy for you and other users on your website to find a certain file more effortlessly anytime you need it.
Imagine the following scenario:
You run an e-commerce website and have different staffs dedicated to taking care of product images and inventory. The product image staff is responsible of taking the photos of the products, editing them, and make them available on the Media Library so that the product inventory staff can find them when they need them.
Meanwhile, the product inventory staff is responsible of updating the product stocks, adding new products, and so on.
If your e-commerce site has multiple product categories to sell, how will you handle the above scenario without a file manager plugin? That’s how CatFolders comes into play. You can use it to create folders on the WordPress Media Library to put together files by certain criteria. In this scenario, you can create folders based on product categories (i.e., Women’s T-shirt, Men’s T-shirt, and so on.). This way, your product inventory staff can effortlessly find the product images they need anytine they want to add a new product or update an existing one. Similarly, your product image staff has a clear idea where they should put the images to once done with the editing.
Of course, there are many other scenarios about how CatFolders can help better manage your files, depending on the website type you run.
— Organize Files by Folders
The ability to create folders on the WordPress Media Library is the main feature that CatFolders offers. This feature is available on both versions of the plugin: free and pro (we will it shortly below). You can create as many folders-subfolders as you want.
To create a new folder, you simply create the New Folder button, which will show up on the Media Library when you have the plugin installed and acticated.
While to create a sub-folder, you can right-click an existing folder on the folder panel and select select New Folder. A sub-folder can have another sub-folder, and a sub-folder of a sub-folder can also have another sub-folder. A little note. The ability to create sub-folders is only available on the pro version of CatFolders.
Creating, editing, and deleting a CatFolders folder will not affect the permalinks of the files belong to it. The plugin creates virtual folders, working as labels. You can also freely move files from a folder to another one without affecting the permalinks. CatFolders itself offers a drag-and-drop functionality. You can place files to a certain folder by simply dragging them.
— User-Based Folders and Permissions
Remember the scenario we provided above? You may want to prevent the product image staff from editing the folders as it can ruin the file organization made by the product inventory staff. In such a case, you can set who can create, edit, and even view the folder’s content.
CatFolders comes with a feature whereby you can set who can create, edit, and view folders. You can set the permissions based on user role on your WordPress system. The feature can be accessed from the Settings screen of CatFolders. You can enable the Folder Permissions option to grant permissions to user roles you want.
Another option you can choose to limit folder access is by enabling the User-Based Folders option, also on the Settings screen. If you enable this option, folders created by a certain user will only visible to the associated user.
Say you have three users named Alex, Marcus, and Antony. When the User-Based Folders option is enabled, the folders created by Alex will only visible to Alex. Similarly, Marcus can only see the folders created by Marcus. The same thing applies to Antony.
In other words, when User-Based Folders is active, the folders created by users will be private folders. Conversely, when User-Based Folders is inactive, all folders created by users will be considered public folders, meaning everyone on the system can access them.
— Advanced Sorting Options
WordPress already has a built-in feature to sort the files on the Media Library. However, there are only two options available: by date and file type.
CatFolders adds new criteria you can choose to sort the files. This will make it even easier to find a file amongst the piles. Here are the criteria available with the CatFolders installed on your WordPress website:
- Date added
- Date modified
All these sorting criteria come with ascending and descending options. You can use these sorting criteria to sort files on a specific folder or the whole files on the Media Library.
# Sorting Files by Size
In addition to the sorting criteria above mentioned, there is an extra sorting criteria offered by CartFolfers. You can sort the files by file size. However, this option is not available by default. CatFolders needs to learn the sizes of the files available on your system before is can provide the option. To allow it, you can go to the Tools menu of CatFolders (not WordPress Tools menu) and click the Generate button on the Attachment Size section.
After clicking the button, you will see a new File Size tab on the sorting table. A little note. This sorting option works only the list mode. It will not available if you are on the grid mode on the sorting table.
— Integration with Page Builder Plugins and Gutenberg
Do you use a page builder plugin to create your WordPress website? If so, the integration support of CatFolders with page builder plugins can make everything even easier. You can use it to put together design assets based on their types. For instance, you can create an “illustrations” folder to store all illustration images for your project.
The CatFolders integration support with page builder plugins makes it easy for you to add a visual element to your design, especially when a project is handled collaboratively. You can simply store the assets to the appropriate folders and find them easily when needed. Take a look at the following screencast to learn how you can easily find an asset on your Media Library when working with Divi Builder.
As you can see, the CatFolders panel shows up as you click the image picker button on Divi Builder. If you prefer to upload a new image, you can directly add the image to an existing CatFolders folder.
In addition to Divi Builder, the page builder integration of CatFolders also supports the following page builder plugins:
- Visual Composer
- Thrive Architect
- Beaver Builder
- Tatsu Builder
One thing to note. The page builder integration works a bit differently on the free version and pro version of CatFolders. On the free version, the folder panel is locked. Instead, you will be presented with a dropdown menu to select a folder.
While clicking an item on the dropdown menu equals to clicking a folder on the folder panel — which will filter the files by folder — they definitely offer different experience.
— Export and Import
Another interesting feature that CatFolders offers is export and import. With the feature, you can copy all folders from a certain website to another one. The feature is great if you have multiple projects. You can access the feature from the Tools menu of CatFolders. There is section called Backup and Restore.
To export the folders, you can simply click the Export Now button. CatFolders will export the folders in a CSV file. You can then import the CSV file on another website that has CatFolders intalled. Importing the CSV file will only copy the folders, not the files they contain.
One more thing.
CatFolders makes it easy if you want to migrate from the similar plugins like FileBird and HappyFiles. CatFolders automatically detects the folders created with other file manager plugin. You can find them on the Import from other plugins section under the Tools menu. Simply click the Import now button if you want to import the detected folders.
CatFolders Free vs Pro
CatFolders is released as a freemium plugin, with the free version is available on WordPress.org. Interestingly, unlike most freemium plugins out there, you are not required to install two plugins to use the pro version. Instead, when you install the pro version, the free version (if you have one) will be automatically deactivated.
The pro version of CatFolders allows you to unlock features like sub-folders, advanced sorting options, page builder integration, and so on. Take a look at the following table to learn more about CatFolders Free vs Pro.
|CatFolders Free||CatFolders Pro|
|Advanced Sorting Options||No||Yes|
|Page Builde/Gutenberg integration||Yes*||Yes|
CatFolders offers a free add-on called CatFolders Document Gallery, which is available for free on WordPress.org. You can use the add-on to display files belong to a certain folder on a Gutenberg-powered page (front-end). The add-on is quite useful if you want to offer free staffs to your visitors. From e-books, template files, photos, and so on. Your visitors can sort the files file type, date, and file size. They can then instantly download a file they want.
The CatFolders Document Gallery add-on offers two Gutenberg blocks as follows:
- CatFolders Document Gallery: To display document files (PDF, DOC, PPT, and so on)
- CatFolders Image Gallery: To display image files (JPG, PNG, and so on)
The add-on itself supports the following file formats:
- Documents: pdf, doc, ppt, odt, xls
- Graphics: psd, svg
- eBooks: epub, mobi, azw, azw3
- Images: jpg, jpeg, png, gif, ico, webp
- Audios: mp3, m4a, ogg, wav
- Videos: mp4, mov, wmv, avi, mpg
- Others: svg, zip, json, and custom file types
If you are interested to use CatFolders Pro, there are three plans available as follows:
- 1 Website
- 3 Websites
- Unlimited Websites
You can get the pro version of CatFolders whether via a one-time purchase option or yearly subscription. Of course, one-time purchase charges you more upfront than subscription based. Here are the plans pricing plans of CatFolders Pro:
The features available on the WordPress Media Library are too basic to manage your files in a huge number. You can only sort files by date and file type. There are no options to sort files by name, author, and other criteria. Also, you can’t create folders — which is the most crucial feature in file management. CatFolders comes to offer all these required features. With the plugin, you can create folders, sort files with more advanced sorting options, and so on.
CatFolders supports integration with popular page builder plugins like Elementor, Divi Builder, to Gutenberg — the default editor of WordPress. CatFolders is especially useful if you have multiple users on your WordPress website. Each user can have private folders to manage their own files.
Overall, CatFolders is a great plugin, works nicely based on its functionality as an advanced file management tool on WordPress. No product is perfect, though. In the case of CatFolders, it would be much better if users can pick a folder theme. Also, the pricing plans are a bit pricey compared to similar plugins out there.