The Basics of Gutenburg Editor (Screen Capture Included)

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.


  1. Hey Lils! Enjoyed watching the screen capture and thanks for sharing all these tips ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m still not yet a convert to the Gutenberg editor. I don’t like the way the small menus pop up all the time, they get in the way. And also I just don’t seem to be able to find things easily. Incidentally, I don’t enjoy using the editor in MailChimp (which had a block style editor before Gutenberg). I feel with these block editors there is less user control and things are harder to find, or not where I would expect them to be.

    Perhaps it’s just a matter of habits and I’m just a whingey old-fashioned twerp (at the age of 38) but this is honestly how I’m feeling.

    In any case, thanks again and God bless you, wonderful person! ๐Ÿ˜Šโค๏ธ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿปโœ๏ธ

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have tried to use the Classic option but itโ€™s not the same as actual classic before block editing times. Their classic option does not allow me to add images or captions under the images. For this reason I had to switch to Block editor and I wasnโ€™t happy about it. Block editor still annoys me but Iโ€™m slowly learning the basics. Personally, I donโ€™t care about the additional features because I stick to the same style and setup regardless. I wish they had kept the Classic version, honestly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Hilary! Have you tried using the “Classic” block option? After you select that option and click your mouse in it, the Classic-esque menu appears, and there is a button with a camera and a music note that will let you add images (or press shift-alt-M). Hope that helps and appreciate your input.


  3. I actually still have the option to use the Classic Editor, and itโ€™s right there in my menu. Apparently, some users donโ€™t have this option, so Iโ€™m confused.

    But I still choose to be on Block because itโ€™s not just the editor thatโ€™s affected, but the page format as well, so I figured Iโ€™d avoid all these extra issues.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Itโ€™s a pity you donโ€™t have a donate button! Iโ€™d
    definitely donate to this superb blog! I guess for now iโ€™ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.

    I look forward to brand new updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group.
    Chat soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I do all of my blogging from my phone and I choose the classic option so I still have not converted over and I seriously donโ€™t want toโ€ฆyour video seems like itโ€™s be helpful to learn the process but I canโ€™t stand change so I couldnโ€™t follow along, I was distracted by how fast your typing is!!
    Maybe some day Iโ€™ll make the switch but probably not until I donโ€™t have another option!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks! Iโ€™ve bookmarked this post for future reference! Says the girl who spent FOUR hours last night doing a post, (one writing the actual post; 3 searching for various features that seemed to have vanished!).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. It was. I am stuck with block editor now, but my son reassures me that it really is a case of perseverance. Keep at it and the more I try the easier it will get!


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