You will eventually learn your way around the WordPress editor. However, it can save you a lot of time if someone points you in the right direction to start off with. Plus you might otherwise end up missing some nifty tools, in your rush to publish your next post.
The WordPress Visual Editor
The WordPress Visual Editor is a pruned-down version of a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. It allows you to enter and edit all of your content for posts and for pages. You actually have the choice between the code view (HTML tab) and the page view (Visual tab). So you can toggle between the two which is very handy if you have code that you want to enter yourself such as Google Adsense code.
The Kitchen Sink
When you first start a new post, you will most likely see just 1 row of icons instead of the 2 as shown in the screen dump below. All you have to do is find the Kitchen Sink icon on the end of the top row of icons. When you hold your mouse over it you will see [Show/Hide Kitchen Sink…]. You can click this toggle-icon once to show the extra row of icons and click again if you want to hide the 2nd row. I find it especially useful to have both rows of icons showing all the time because of the extra features offered in the 2nd row such as the h1, h2 etc. headings in the drop down Paragraph list. Each of the other icons in this 2nd row are also very handy. You don’t get a lot of icon options with this WordPress editor so you want to make the most of what is on offer.
You can quickly find out what each icon does by holding your mouse over it to see the tool tip appear. The rows of icons do follow convention so you will already be familiar with what many of them can do from your experience with Microsoft Office products.
Pasting Text into Your Blog Post
Writing your posts in another offline editor and then copying them across can be tricky, especially if you use the wrong offline tool. This is because either the formatting can disappear after pasting or additional code might be inserted. I found, when I first started writing posts, that I was wasting way too much time copying and pasting AND THEN fixing up the way the post looked. These days, I often write directly into the WordPress Visual editor. However, this might not always be possible. You might not be online at the time that you are writing your content or you simply might prefer to write it offline and copy across. In that case, you can use the [Paste as Plain Text] icon
This will open up a window for you where you can paste in your content. Once you click [Insert], all the extra formatting characters will be removed for you in a cleanup process. You can, in addition, nominate to keep the line breaks as shown in the screen dump below.
Spacing Your Text
Getting spaces to work between your paragraphs can be a major cause of a lot of frustration and time-consuming trial and error. At first, when you look at what you have written in the WordPress editor, it will appear that you have a space between your paragraphs. However, when you preview the post, the space has often disappeared and your text looks scrunched up. If this has been happening to you, there is a simple solution. All you have to do is insert 2 spaces (press enter twice) at the end of the last sentence in your paragraph.
The icon for this option is probably the easiest to find. It sits right above the top row of icons and has the label [Upload/Insert] and the tool tip [Add Media]. once you click on this you have the option of uploading a new image or selecting one from your gallery of already-uploaded images.
Once your image has been inserted, you can edit it by clicking on it and selecting the [Edit Image] icon that appears on top of the graphic.
Forcing Text Under an Image
If your graphic is smaller than the width of your post, you might find yourself battling with text that insists on wrapping itself around your graphic. No matter how many times you press enter to force it down under your image, as soon as you preview your page/post, the text has sprung back up around the graphic.
One solution is to activate the HTML tab and then enter the following line of code right under the line that inserts your image:
<div style=”clear: both;”></div>
The WordPress editor makes light work out of inserting any of your links. Simply highlight the text you wish to hyperlink and then click on the [Insert/Edit Link] icon from the top row.
You can then enter the URL for the link along with the text for the title (this will appear when the mouse hovers over the hyperlink).
You can also insert special characters via the icon with this very [Insert Custom Character] label.
This can come in handy if you want to insert a copyright symbol for example. ©
Publishing your Post
Showing Just an Excerpt of Your Post
If you set up your blog to show the latest posts on your home page, then you can nominate how many you want to show (via Settings – Reading) and you can also specify that a snippet or excerpt of each post appears followed by “Read More …” or a similar message.
In the top row of icons, you will find an [Insert More Tag] icon. Place your cursor under the 1st or 2nd paragraph and click on this icon. When your posts appear on the home page, the lines of content will now be displayed down to that “invisible” tag followed by the message inviting your visitor to click to read on.
When to Click Publish
Wait until you are completely happy with your post before you click [Publish].
- Once you set up a good site map generator, Google will be “notified” every time a new page has been published. You don’t want to spam Google.
- You can use the [Preview] button to your heart’s content and this allows you to see exactly how the post will look once it is live, complete with your blog theme.
- If you still have Ping Services listed in your settings, then every time you click [Publish], these services will also be notified; again inducing spam.
Also, you will want to finish adding tags and doing the usual SEO (Search Engine Optimization) before hitting the publish button.
Categorizing your Posts
If you want to use categories, you can do so via the option in the left hand side menu of the dashboard. If you have forgotten to set up categories before starting your post, it is very easy to save your post and leave it in draft mode while you return to the required section of your admin dashboard.
WordPress Visual Editor Plugins
There are also plugins that can provide more advanced features and remove some of the irritations that come from battling with a very basic WYSIWYG:
- Ultimate TinyMCE – provides lots of additional formatting icons and many more features.
- CKE Editor for WordPress – this replaces the default visual editor.
- TinyMCE Advanced
Let’s know, via the comment section, any other tricks and shortcuts that you have discovered when working with the WordPress Editor. I look forward to hearing from you.