A couple years ago, WordPress introduced the Gutenburg editor, but since change is hard, many chose to stick with the Classic editor. A couple months ago, everyone was finally forced to make the switch (from what I’ve heard–I myself have been using Gutenburg since it came out in Dec. 2018). This post will briefly introduce the basics.
Gutenburg vs. Classic
The old editor is similar to Microsoft Word or Google Docs; all the options lay across a main menu at the top. With the new editor, small menus pop up throughout the post. Figuratively, the old editor treats a post like one large entity, while the new editor treats each post like a puzzle with paragraphs, images, etc. being pieces of it. This may seem confusing, but I hope you’ll see what I mean by the end. Let’s transition from figurative speech to practical instructions–
Basics of Gutenburg
When you open a post in the old editor, the good ol’ main menu greets you. When you open a new post in Gutenburg, the page looks blank, which can seem intimidating. But you should see a + icon to the right. If you click on that icon, you can change the “block” type to image, quote, heading, etc. If you’re typing normal text, don’t worry about the icon. Each time you hit “enter,” the + icon will appear. Again, pay it no mind until you need to use a different kind of block. “Paragraph,” or normal text, is the default block setting.
When you wave the mouse over the block you are typing in, a menu appears that shows the block type along with options to move it up or down, text alignment, bold, italics, “insert link,” more text controls, and more options. To have that menu pop up for another block, simply click your mouse in that block. Click on the block type to change it. The menu on the right side has two tabs–block and post. The block tab shows extra options for the block your mouse is clicked in/on, while the post tab pertains to the post as a whole.
The four minute screen capture below displays a sped-up version of myself performing the basic functions on Gutenburg. Please watch to have the directions above reiterated visually.
Thoughts on Gutenburg
Not having a main menu felt disconcerting to me initially, since that’s what we’re accustomed to with WordPress and most text document software. Once I got used to the change, I began to appreciate the ease of moving blocks around. For instance, let’s say I have paragraph one, paragraph two, and paragraph three. I decide to put an image between the first and second paragraphs. Afterwards, I think to myself, The image would actually look better between paragraphs two and three. With Gutenburg, I can simply click on the image, then use the down arrow. Let’s say I had a paragraph near the top and wanted to move it to the bottom; I can drag the block where I want it. That ability comes in handy!
Also, there seem to be more options for block types and special features in Gutenburg. Or maybe I never fully got the hang of the Classic editor–go figure.
A hack for die-hard Classic lovers
I forgot to show this in the screen capture, but there’s still a way to use the Classic editor. When you open a new post, go to the + icon and search “Classic.” Classic editor is a block type. If you select it, the familiar Classic menu appears. You can then proceed to make the entire post under that one block, and it’s just like using the Classic editor.
Thanks for reading! What do you think of Gutenburg vs. Classic? Did this post help? Let me know in the comments. Next up is a look at the more advanced features of Gutenburg, some of which I discovered while prepping for this post. For instance, you can create “reusable blocks” to quickly add to any post–helpful if you like to leave your social links, a certain image, etc. at the end of your posts.