If you have just started using WordPress, or know some who has, this easy-to-understand walk-through shows you how to use the editor window to create posts and pages in WordPress.
Post or Page Title
This is the title of your post or page. How it looks on your site will be dependent of your theme’s styles. It also plays an important role in SEO (search engine optimization).
You will see that you can also edit your permalink. If you choose to do this, only do it before you published your post or page. If you change this after publication, all inbound links to this specific post or page will be broken and a 404 error page will come up for the reader.
This is where you do your writing and formatting of posts and pages. You can create them here or paste them in.
You will find two tabs on this window: Visual and Text
This is the view most people use. In fact, it’s very close to many popular word processing programs. It is also sometimes called WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). But that isn’t true with WordPress. As you will learn, font colors, styles and sizes here will typically look a lot different on your website.
This name is a little confusing. This tab is used by people who are more comfortable with HTML and HTML markup. One useful tip here. If you paste in some text and it looks wonky or there is some formatting that you cannot get rid of, switch to the text view and find the code around the content and delete it.
Distraction Free Writing Mode
If you enjoy a less cluttered window when you are writing or editing a post or a page, you might want to use this little icon right below your text tab.
This is the view:
And it removes the side clutter:
Be aware that the moment you move your mouse over to either side, everything will reappear.
Visual Editor Window Tools
You can use two rows of tools to format your page or post. At first you may see only one of them, like this:
But if you click that last highlighted tool called Toolbar Toggle, you will get your second row.
Here is a screenshot with an overview of all the tools and what they do. I will go into more details on these.
The Add Media button allows you to add images, videos and audio files directly from your computer or your media library. You can also easily embed videos and other media. All of this will be covered in the two lessons, Adding Media to Posts and Pages and The Media Library.
Bold, Italicize and Strikethru
This is standard formatting that is self-explanatory.
Bullets and Numbering
When you create a list and you want to bullet or number it, you can highlight the text and choose either of these. If you start your first one with a number, it will automatically format it as a numbered list.
One thing to be aware of:The style of the bullets and the font will depend upon your theme. In this example I have created two lists.
But if we look at this page in two different themes, we see this.
The blockquote is similar to a pull-out quote that you might see in a print publication. Just highlight the text you want to stand out and apply it. Again, how it looks on your site will depend on your theme’s styles.
In our visual editor we have highlight this text (the yellow highlight is only to show you what text I chose for the blockquote and is not part of the styling).
Now let’s see what that looks like with four different themes.
This simply inserts a horizontal line that will expand the full width of the content.
You can easily align your text using these three tools. It can also be used for images.
Insert/Edit Link – Remove Link
The chain icons allow you to create a hyperlink for any of your text in a page or post. Simply highlight the text with your cursor and a small window appears inline to add it. You can past your link in or if you are adding an internal link from your site, just start typing in the title to search for it.
Once you have it in there, click the blue box with the arrow and apply it to the text.
Now you can click on this pencil icon at any time to edit it inline.
Or the gear box and this window will open. You have two choices.
- You can fill in the field with a URL for an external link, and choose to have it open in a new window or in the same window.
- Or you can search the posts and pages on your own site and easily choose one of those. The URL field will automatically be filled with that link.
You can also remove the link by clicking on the second chain icon or the “x” in the inline editor. If you are going to remove the link, I suggest you do it either of these two ways to make sure all code is removed.
Insert Read More tag
Some themes—but not allpof them— automatically cut off the posts at a certain point on the blog archive page. And if it doesn’t pull in your excerpt, your blog page is this very long page with full posts. This isn’t good for your readers and also will cut down on your comments because they need to click through to the single post to comment. Some won’t take that extra step.
If you need to force a quitting spot on your posts, you can use this tag. Just put your cursor in the spot where you want it to cut off. You probably want a place with enough good content to tempt people to click through,. If you can do that, you are off to the races.
Don’t freak out thinking that this weird line will show on your full post, it won’t. Only on your blog archive page.
At the risk of repeating myself, remember that the toolbar toggle hides and shows the second row of tools.
If you click it, you get your second row.
Paragraph and Headings
Before fully understanding this, you must realize that your theme dictates the font family, style, color and sizes throughout your site. Your theme may have an option to change these, or you might be using a plugin that will accomplish that. But by default, you have this menu to control which headings appear where.
Paragraph – this is the style of your content’s text that. By default it’s always chosen.
Heading – Headings are used throughout your site and often are called H1, H2, etc, They serve two purposes:
- They help break up your content into visual chunks. When you have long posts and pages, using headings (or sub-heads) makes the post or page easier to read and scan.
- They are helpful in your SEO (search engine optimization). Your post or page title is automatically assigned at Heading 1. And that is what Google looks at first. If you have created a title, do not use Heading 1 again in your post or page because it will confuse the search engines. Heading 2 is the next most searched heading and it’s important to use key words in those. You can learn more about this in our Yoast SEO course.
Again, how your headings look on your site will depend on your theme. And in some cases, a Heading 2 and a Heading 3 may not be much different in size.
Here is a screenshot that shows you how headings look different in six different themes.
Underline and Full Justification
These two options are available but use them with caution.
Underline – Underlining text is confusing to the reader because most people still expect that piece of content be a hyperlink. So unsuccessfully click it, again and again. Then they contact you in frustration that your link isn’t working and you reply by thanking them for the email but letting them know it’s not a link. Your time and your readers’ time wasted. If you need to emphasize text, consider bolding or italicizing it.
Full Justification – This worked good in the days of print. But it can look horrible on the web and usually makes your content harder to read.
WordPress allows you to change the color of your content in a post or page with the color picker.
Again, use sparingly, if at all. Color fonts should only emphasize select content. Too much color or too many different colors can make for an ugly and hard-to-read post or page. Also, keep in mind that for people who are color-blind, the may be totally unreadable to them.
Paste As Text
When you paste text in from another document, sometimes it pulls in extra code you didn’t know was there. This can make it a pain to do any formatting. This button converts your screen window into a plain text pasting and once it’s in, you can now format it as you like.
In this example, I have pasted in a Pages document.
If I look at this same page in the Text view, I see this:
So it’s best to click that icon before pasting your text in if it has been formatted. You will then get this message.
This is especially useful if copying from a web page or some text someone has sent you.
Microsoft Word Users: As noted in the screenshot above, WordPress has gotten much better with Word docs. Most times, you can paste it in and it will retain any formatting and also remove the unwanted markup or code. I would suggest testing the waters on this one.
Erase, Undo and Redo
These are basic editing functions. If you have formatted any text, you can highlight it and erase the formatting. If you have done text edits, you can easily redo or undo.
Decrease and Increase Indent
WordPress does not have tabs. You can hit that tab key to your heart’s content on your keyboard and nothing will happen. Instead, you control it by using indents. You can click the button as many times as you need to get your desired indent space.
Of course there is a lot more to learn when it comes to WordPress, but this gives you a good start with your editor window.