In our article on Posting in Gutenberg, we told you how you can create a blog post like the ones you normally create in the current (or Classic) editor. We also shared a sample post built in Gutenberg by choosing different types of blocks:
We don’t think this looks good at all. However, you can change the way your blocks look, and the way your document behaves, by using the Settings.
Document Settings in Gutenberg
Creating a post or page in Gutenberg is largely a matter of choosing a block and putting content into it. But there are also settings on the right hand side. You may be familiar with the Publish section in the Classic editor:
This is where you choose settings for your post, including how public your post should be and what categories and tags you want to use. You can schedule your post here and send it automatically to your social media accounts. You may also have a choice of formats, which is rather like the Gutenberg Blocks.
Gutenberg’s Document settings are very similar, as you can see in the screen shot below.
Your options will look different depending on the theme and plugins you use. You might see some of these elements in different places, and you might have more choices. Essentially, however, you’re still choosing how public you want your post to be and when you want to publish it, along with the categories and tags.
Blocks settings in Gutenberg
Unlike the Classic editor, Gutenberg lets you make specific decisions about your blocks in the Settings panel. In the screen shot above, you can see the “Block” tab next to the “Document” tab. Choose Block and then click on one of your blocks and you will see a set of options to choose from.
For example, these are the settings for the audio block:
You can easily determine whether to make this file autoplay or play on a loop.
You can also add CSS in the Advanced area. That will style your audio player to look just the way you want it to look. If you know CSS well enough to make it happen, and if you have the design skills required to make things look good with CSS. For most website owners, this is not useful at all. You would probably be better off choosing an audio player plugin that looks good to you and using that.
The Verse block settings are even more rudimentary. This block changes the font and allows you to use unorthodox spacing and line breaks. The whimsical description shouldn’t disguise the fact that there are no settings here, except a place to put CSS.
The Paragraph block allows you to change the color of the background and the color and size of the font. Sort of like Facebook posts. We know that people love to do this. This might be the most popular part of Gutenberg with the average website owner. The Classic editor lets you change your font in these ways, too, but it might be less fun.
But here’s the thing. It is fun to make those changes, but they don’t generally improve the readability of your website or catch your visitors’ attention. Ideally, your visitors get the message you’re sharing with them without even noticing the font. No one ever thought, “Well I was going to put off that colonoscopy for another year, but seeing a blue font on orange background made me decide to make an appointment.”
Once again, without knowing CSS, you can’t do much that will actually be beneficial for your website.
As for the columns, you can’t control the width. You will always have equally sized columns, arguably the least attractive kind.
The Image settings should look familiar:
Along with some bad advice about alt text, you get most of the same options as in the classic image editor:
You should certainly try out the various Blocks and you should play with the settings. We found that many of them, such as the one that presents your recent posts, look bad on the sites we tried it with. Many have no settings, just a whimsical quip and a space for CSS. The others generally offer roughly the same options as the Classic editor.
But this is relevant only if you know the Classic editor well. Gutenberg puts everything in the same places for a consistent workflow. Plugins that support Gutenberg use that right hand column, too. It’s a lot like the Customizer.
What to do now?
There will surely be at least one Gutenberg block that you really like, and there will doubtless be settings you like to use. Download the Gutenberg plugin and schedule yourself some playtime.