Editing in Gutenberg

If you’re using the WordPress Gutenberg editor now, you’re using it as a plugin. It is currently quite easy to edit any content with the Classic editor instead of Gutenberg. Go to “All Posts” and you will see your posts. Hover over a title and you will see two editing options: “Edit,” which means Gutenberg, and “Classic Editor,” which is the current editor for WordPress. Click on your choice of the two and you will be able to edit any post in your preferred editor.

Once Gutenberg is the default editor for WordPress (maybe sometime this year), you will be able to download the Classic Editor as a plugin, and the All Posts page might continue to look and work as I’ve just described. There could be changes, but at the moment, there’s no indication that this will change.

So we have four possible experiences.

Edit a Classic post with the Classic editor

If you edit a post written in Classic using the Classic editor, your experience will be Gutenberg-free.

Things will be just the same after Gutenberg with this option as they were before.

If you don’t want to deal with Gutenberg, this is your best bet. We have seen suggestions in forums that you not update to the new version of WordPress once Gutenberg rolls out, but this can have security consequences. Just download the Classic editor plugin and go on your merry way.

Edit a Gutenberg post with the Classic editor

If you use the Classic editor to edit a post which was written or edited in Gutenberg, you will get this warning:

This post was previously edited in Gutenberg. You can continue in the Classic Editor, but you may lose data and formatting.

Because this post does not have revisions, you will not be able to revert any changes you make in the Classic Editor.

You will see this every time you go to edit the posts, when you update it, when you schedule it, and when you publish it. I am cordially sick of this warning by now. If the post has no revisions and that is really a problem, then that problem should be fixed. If it’s just intended to discourage people from using the Classic editor, then show it once.

Click on “Continue to Classic Editor” and you will have your Classic experience, except for the warnings.  

Edit a Gutenberg post with the Gutenberg editor

This is what WordPress wants us to do.


Paragraphs, or blocks, must be edited individually. The editor itself is not very different from the Classic experience — click in, make your changes, and click on Update.

The arrows on the left-hand side allow you to move your block up or down. I have heard people getting very excited about this. It’s not a big improvement for me, since pictures and such can be dragged and dropped in the Classic editor and I don’t move paragraphs around. However, if you are building rather than writing, you might like this feature a lot.

You can also transform a block. For example, if you decide that you want to change a Paragraph block into a list, a quote, or a heading, you can. Just click on the paragraph symbol and pick your transformation. You can’t change every block type into every other block type, but this is a quick way to make something into a list. Not quicker than the Classic editor, but just as quick.

Edit a Classic post with the Gutenberg editor

This used to be a horrible experience. It was impossible to add images or videos, because the editor interpreted the entire document as a single paragraph/ block and images and embeds need their own blocks. Now you will by default be given Gutenberg’s take on the Classic Editor. It’s very much like the current editor, and allows media inserts wherever you want them. You can even use the classic media editor to update photos in the post.

If you prefer, you can choose to have the post converted to blocks.

This allows you to edit the post as if it had been built in Gutenberg. This experience is so much better than it was just a few months ago that I will just leave it at this and say how grateful I am.

What now?

Gutenberg is still having some teething troubles. I’ve been using it for about 18 months now, and it still occasionally irritates me enough that I jump out of a post and switch to the Classic editor. WordPress is still working on Gutenberg, so I assume that it will be perfected pretty soon.

I also use some plugins that don’t work with Gutenberg. They don’t show up in the Gutenberg editor. When I need to use these plugins, I have no choice but to switch to the Classic editor.

Gutenberg is the default editor if you have installed the Gutenberg plugin, and will be default editor once it rolls out. That means that when you click on a post in your Edit Flow calendar, you will go straight to the Gutenberg editor. Unless you normally start editing by going to your All Posts page, you’re going to be seeing the Gutenberg editor a lot.

The best experience will probably involve choosing one editor or the other and sticking with it. I use Gutenberg at three different websites, and I find that I often end up in both editors for various reasons. I’m now comfortable enough with Gutenberg that I usually just stay where I am and soldier on.

However, given the need to use plugins that haven’t yet hooked up with Gutenberg, I expect to download the Classic editor when Gutenberg rolls out, and keep my options open.

Have your web people do this for you if you aren’t delighted with Gutenberg or don’t want to put in the time to get accustomed to it. If you can, however, it makes sense to get to know Gutenberg. WordPress sees this as the future and we probably can’t stop that.






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