How to Get the Most Out of the WordPress Text Editor

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Today we are going to tackle THE MOST EXCITING of all WordPress support questions - how to get the most out of the text editor! Yes, folks, I know you've been dying to read this article and I'm happy to oblige. Jokes aside, the WP text editor doesn't have the best rep because there are a few aspects that are simply not intuitive to the casual user. In today's article, I hope to tackle some of those pain points and change your mind about this writing platform!

I bet that most of the time that you're working in the WordPress admin, you're hanging out in the Posts or Pages sections. This is, after all, where the content of your website is created and where you've spent hours tapping away at your keyboard. At first glance, the text editor looks super basic and the functions do not appear very customizable. If, however, you spend some time exploring the WordPress text editor, you'll see that the functionality isn't quite as limited as you initially thought.

Getting There

First thing's first: to find the WordPress visual/text editor for posts and pages, go to Admin > Posts > Add New or Admin > Pages > Add New respectively. If you’ve used WordPress before, this should look familiar and I hope you’re pumped to learn a few tricks about how best to use this section.

Copying & Pasting Text

If you take only one thing away from this article, take care of how you copy and paste text! If you copy text from Word, another word processor or from your web browser, do not paste it directly into the text editor's visual mode! If you do this, you'll notice that it looks pretty funky when you preview or publish your content. Instead, copy the text first into a text editor (like Notepad or TextEdit) - this will clean up any hidden code that interfere's with the theme's styling.

Toggle the Full Editor

When you first open up the text editor, you will be given a menu bar with lots of customizations (e.g., Bold, Bullet Points, Alignment Preferences, Links, etc.). But did you know that if you click the third last button (called Toolbar Toggle when you hover over it), you'll see an expanded set of controls? Take a look at the photo below to see how many more options you have!

Expanded Text Editor Toggle Option

Expanded Text Editor Toggle Option

These new set of controls now allow you to do many more things, such as switch text colour, switch between paragraphs & headers, text underline, etc. Probably the most exciting of all is the “paste as plain text tool” which you can access by clicking the clipboard icon in the centre of the menu. Remember above how we talked about the trouble with copying & pasting directly into the editor? This function solves that problem directly within the editor.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Time is money, my friends, and the seconds add up over time. Learn the keyboard shortcuts available in the WordPress text editor and you'll become a speedy WP whizz. With the expanded row of controls open (like you learned in the point above), click the little question mark icon and the list of your dreams will pop op. These are all super helpful actions that will make it much easier and quicker to create content for your site.

Keyboard shortcuts WordPress Text Editor

Keyboard shortcuts WordPress Text Editor

Distraction Free Mode

This is hands down my favourite functionality of the text editor. If you're anything like me, you get distracted by all the colours, menu bars and general stuff cluttering the page when you're trying to write. If this is the case, be sure to switch over to the Distraction-Free Writing Mode by clicking the full-screen icon below the Visual/Text tabs. This lets you work in a simplified space and focus on creating.

Keyboard shortcuts WordPress Text Editor

Keyboard shortcuts WordPress Text Editor

Embrace the Text Editor Tab

Most people stick to the Visual tab since it's a lot less intimidating for those without a basic knowledge of HTML or CSS. There's nothing wrong with this but if you'd like more control, want to resolve formatting frustrations or have a burning desire to add some styling to your text, this is the place to go. In this mode, you can adjust the line height, padding, font size, etc with a few HTML tags. In the Text Tab, you'll notice that the menu changes slightly, as can be seen in the image below.

Text Mode WordPress Text Editor

Text Mode WordPress Text Editor

At the end of the day, the WordPress text editor is where "the goods are made" so it's in your best interest to get as comfortable as possible! It may not be home to your website's most snazzy settings but it's where most of the day-to-day settings reside. Having a strong understanding of this area will help you take advantage of all the customization available and will make your content creation experience so much more enjoyable.

Have any questions or comments about using the Text Editor? Have you learned any neat tips that you can't wait to share? Let us know, we can't wait to see you creating the best content out there! 

Charlotte O'Hara

Vancouver