How to display multiple downloads on a page and sort them by publishing date in WordPress

Having lots and lots of downloadable content to offer website visitors is a happy problem to have. We say it’s a problem, and it can be. 

If your downloadable content isn’t organized or structured in a way that’s easy for users to navigate, it could mean visitors will leave your website altogether. 

Putting hour after hour into crafting content for your files, all wasted because of a poor user experience. 

There is a solution, Download Monitor to the rescue! Using Download Monitor, you can easily display multiple downloads on your page. You can also sort them by publishing date in under 5 minutes. 

So less than 5 minutes of your time and keeping your website visitors happy sounds like a win to us!

Why displaying and sorting multiple downloads by publishing date is useful

This guide isn’t for website owners who only offer a few files; in reality, that will not cause any issues. Users can quickly find and download the content they need.

But what if you have hundreds, even thousands, of files up for download in one place? A user will only go through a few before being overwhelmed and leaving the website altogether.

To keep your visitors happy and make their lives easier, sort your downloads by publishing date. That way, they can quickly check the top of the list if they want to download the latest files.

Here are a few reasons why you should sort your downloads by publishing date:

  • Keep your content updated and organized: If you frequently update your website with new downloads, sorting your downloads by publishing date can keep your content organized and make your website look more professional.
  • Highlight new or recent content: You will make it easier for users to locate and obtain fresh or recently updated content by organizing your downloads by publish date. 
  • Promote time-sensitive content: Sorting your downloads by publish date can help ensure that downloads that are only temporarily useful to visitors (such as event schedules or promotional materials) are prominently displayed and easy to find.

How to display multiple downloads on a page using Download Monitor

If you’re new to WordPress or experienced, Download Monitor is easy to use, and we might add a user-friendly solution for structuring downloads. 

This guide will assume you are a new user and help you through the process. If you already have and used Download Monitor, you can skip to the relevant parts where we talk about sorting downloads.

Download Monitor

Grow your audience, track download performance, and convert your traffic into email subscribers with an easy-to-use digital downloads solution for WordPress.

Install and activate Download Monitor

The whole installation and activation process is straightforward. If you need help with the process, make sure to check our guide on how to install and activate Download Monitor.

Once you have Download Monitor installed, it’s time to add your downloads.

Create new downloads

Adding downloads on your website with Download Monitor is easy; anyone can do it regardless of their experience with WordPress.

ℹ️ You can check our step-by-step guide on how to add your first download.

Once you have a set list of downloads, it’s time to display them on your website.

Displaying multiple downloads with Download Monitor

You can use one of two shortcodes to display all your downloadable content. 

The first shortcode is available in the free version of Download Monitor, and the second comes with the Page Addon extension in the premium version. Next, we’ll introduce them both.

Display downloads using [downloads] shortcode

If you have installed the free version of Download Monitor, go to the page or post on which you want your downloads to be displayed and paste the shortcode [downloads] in the shortcode block of the page or post editor.

[downloads] shortcode in shortcode block
[downloads] shortcode

This method will display the downloads in the order in which they were uploaded, with the latest download at the top of the list.

[downloads] shortcode display on page
[downloads] shortcode display

ℹ️ If you want to learn more about the [downloads] shortcode, you can check our documentation on that.

You can assign multiple arguments to the shortcode to display your content differently. 

For example, if you don’t add arguments, it will default to showing all your downloads in the published date order.

Adding a simple argument can reverse the order instantly. More details about this are provided in the next section.

You can also set a certain amount to show, skip the first set number of downloads to be displayed, pull members-only downloads, and more.

Display downloads using [download_page] shortcode

You can use the Page Addon extension with Download Monitor’s Popular and Complete plans to display info pages for each resource and list downloads, categories, and tags.

ℹ️ If you need help with installing and activating (or updating) the Page Addon extension after the purchase, check out our knowledge base article that will teach you everything you need to know about handling Download Monitor extensions.

It includes a unique shortcode called [download_page] that you can use to display your downloads in a more organized fashion (four downloads are shown by default). The shortcode can be pasted in the post’s or page’s shortcode block.

In the screenshot below, you can see how we displayed four downloads from a specific category (Books) to give a basic example of what can be achieved. The newest downloads are shown first.

Page Addon display

You can also add arguments to the [download_page] shortcode to enable various outcomes to be displayed.

ℹ️ We also have more info on the [download_page] shortcode that you can check visiting our documentation of the Page Addon extension.

Sort your downloads by publish date

For this guide, we have a list of ten fictional books up for download. 

I have changed the publishing date on three of them for more recent dates (in order of publishing: ‘Game of Smoke,’ ‘Secret of the Vanishing Poet,’ and ‘Fire and Flame’) to showcase how the shortcodes work. Everything else has a much later publishing date.

To change the publishing dates, head to Edit download > on the right side where it says “Publish” > Published on > Edit > (set the date you need) > Update.

ℹ️ Please note that the published date is different than the file date, and changing the file date will not affect how downloads are sorted with this method.

With this in mind, let’s review how to sort downloads by publishing date.

Sorting your downloads is relatively easy, even though it might seem slightly complicated at first glance. 

There are two methods of sorting downloads by publishing date, and the options are the same ones we used to display our downloads. 

Therefore, we can use the free version of Download Monitor or the premium version (Popular or Complete plans). We will go through both options:

Sorting downloads by publishing date with Download Monitor free version

You can sort downloads by publishing date in descending or ascending order.

To display them in descending order using the free version of Download Monitor, the [downloads] shortcode will do the trick. 

There are also other variations of this shortcode to sort downloads from the most recent on top to the oldest at the bottom. Add the argument orderby=date to your shortcode or orderby=date order=DESC.

⏳ TL;DR: To sort your downloads from newest published to oldest, pick one of the following shortcodes to use: [downloads] OR [downloads orderby=date] OR [downloads orderby=date order=desc]. All three shortcodes will have the same output.

Sorted downloads
Sorted downloads

If you want your list to be displayed starting from the top with the older ones first, use the argument orderby=date order=ASC.

ℹ️ To display downloads in ascending order, use this shortcode [downloads orderby=date order=asc].

ℹ️ It doesn’t matter if the arguments ASC and DESC are written in uppercase or lowercase; it will still work the same.

Sorting downloads by publishing date with Download Monitor pro version

Download Monitor the Pro version comes with a neat extension to showcase downloads. The Page Addon extension uses the shortcode [download_page] to list featured downloads, categories, tags, and a search box.

The shortcode also comes with arguments that help you display your downloads just the way you need. 

The main shortcode will display by default the latest four downloads starting at the top with the most recent one. 

For example, default_orderby=date sorts your downloads in descending order, and front_orderby=date sorts the downloads in ascending order.

⏳ TL;DR: To sort your downloads using the Page Addon extension from newest published to oldest, pick one of the following shortcodes to use: [download_page] OR [download_page default_orderby=date]. Both shortcodes will have the same output.

ℹ️ Keep in mind that in order to display downloads using the Page Addon extension, your downloads must be assigned to categories.

To give an example, here is a screenshot of the displayed downloads in ascending order using this shortcode:[download_page default_orderby=date]

[download_page default_orderby=date] shortcode

And here is a screenshot that displays the downloads in a descending manner:[download_page front_orderby=date]

[download_page front_orderby=date] shortcode

Adding more arguments, you can further customize your shortcode according to your needs. For example, if you want to display only the number of downloads per category, add category_limit=X. Change X with the number you desire.

ℹ️ For more shortcode customization options, make sure you check our Page Addon documentation.

There are loads more features in the Pro version of Download Monitor., To compare the free and pro versions, look at our guide Free vs. PRO guide.


Now you know how easy it is to show multiple downloads sorted by published date. Download Monitor is meant to make your life easier, freeing your time to create content. 

With just a few clicks and no fuss, Download Monitor lets you list, limit, or even monitor how many downloads a user can receive using its various features.

Get Download Monitor and all its features immediately for a fantastic price!

Download Monitor

Grow your audience, track download performance, and convert your traffic into email subscribers with an easy-to-use digital downloads solution for WordPress.

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Diana Alecu

Diana is a passionate content writer, graphic designer, and amateur photographer. By day she writes content for Strong Testimonials, Download Monitor, and Modula. By night she binge-watches anime and plays video games.

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