Gutenberg is the new WordPress editor in town. It’s possible that it will become the default editor by the end of this month. It will certainly become the default editor at some point, probably pretty soon. If you’ve been using the Gutenberg editor for some time, as I have, and you’ve wondered things like, “Is there any way I can easily see the number of blocks in my document?” you should check out Smashing Magazine’s walk through every single button in the Gutenberg editor. They’ve done a good job.
If you’re a website owner, however, you’re probably not wondering whether you can use slash autocomplete in paragraph blocks. You’re probably wondering one of these things:
- How can I use the new editor to do the things I already normally do?
- How can I use the new editor to do things I wish I could do, like making more interesting layouts or putting pictures just where I want them?
Let’s look at some basic options. We’re going to stop saying “posts and pages” now because it’s the same in Gutenberg for both.
Writing blog posts
If you like to be able to write a blog post at your website occasionally, Gutenberg will let you do that without too many changes.
The big difference is that Gutenberg works with blocks rather than working with pages or posts the way MS Word (and the classic WordPress editor) work.
In the Classic Editor, when you open a new post or page, you have a narrow box for your title and a bigger box for your post. You can simply type in those boxes and your content will end up looking the way your website is designed to look. You have a toolbar which looks and works like the toolbar of your favorite word processor. This toolbar allows you to insert pictures and files or to style your text with bold type, headers, and so forth.
In Gutenberg, you get a box for your title — you just edit where it says “Add title” — and a paragraph block below the title box. You can go ahead and type as you do with the Classic Editor, and your post will look the way your website is designed to look.
As you write, each paragraph will automatically become a separate block.
You don’t have to type as though you were using a word processor, though. You can add a different type of block at any time. Just click on the plus sign in the top left corner and pick a block.You can also use the plus sign that appears to the left of the new block automatically created when you hit “Enter” on your keyboard.
You can create a cover image (a header or hero image), add an audio file, place a gallery, or make a list. Scroll down in the box you see in the screenshot below, and you can embed your Kickstarter, make eight columns, add a page break and a grid of your most recent posts, or create a table without learning code or searching for a plugin. This long list appears each time you push a plus sign.
With so many different blocks, and the option to create custom blocks of your own, you can do lots of things that might have been difficult for you in the Classic Editor. The example below shows a number of different kinds of blocks which would have required more effort (or a plugin) in the Classic Editor. This is how they look out of the box — that is, if you just choose a block and add content for that block.
If you have been wishing that you could easily embed snippets from College Humor or make special background colors for columns on your page, you’re in luck. Will you get good results at a business website by doing these things? Probably not. But Gutenberg is intended to be fun. It’s also intended to allow designers to create layouts quickly and easily.
It makes sense to schedule some time to try out different blocks. Some may never be useful for you, but some might be just what you need.
In the next installment in this series, we’ll talk about Settings.
At this point, you should be able to write a new post or page in Gutenberg. Make sure that your blogger is familiar with this basic process before Gutenberg becomes the default editor.
Come back to learn more about how to use Gutenberg.