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Using the WordPress Text Editor

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Welcome back everybody to lesson eight in How to Build a Professional Website using WordPress and Thesis 2.3. Now that we have created some pages we’re going to add content to those pages.

In order for us to do that we’re going to learn how to use the WordPress text editor. The WordPress text editor is the same whether you are editing a post or a page. It’s the same editor in both cases. Let’s just open up this page and edit it.

Two Views – Visual and Text

The WordPress text editor has two modes and two views. Lots of people know about the two views, that is the visual view where we are right here and the text view here.

Two Modes – Dashboard and Distraction Free

The two different modes are the the dashboard mode which is what everybody is used to and then you have distraction free writing mode or full screen mode which you can get to using this little button over here. This full screen mode takes everything else away except your text area and buttons. If you roll your cursor over to the area outside the text area everything else comes back. Both of these modes are available in the visual view and the text view. It seems nice but I never happen to work that way.

Visual View

Here we are in the visual view. You’ve got an add media button and then you’ve got the one toolbar although there is a toggle button right here which drops down a second bar. That toggle used to be called the kitchen sink, now it says toolbar toggle. There’s no reason not to have it always dropped down. You may as well just keep that button clicked so you can see all that options.


Most of the tools should be familiar to everybody but if you aren’t familiar with them all you have to do is hover over one to see what it does. Many times I’ve told people to use center align and and they say “how do I center align it?”. It’s simply this button here.

There are less than 20 buttons here so it doesn’t take long to look them over and experiment with it a little bit. There are a handful of very specific WordPress tools here like block quote, read more and clear formatting.

Keyboard Shortcuts

If you click on the question mark it’ll show you the keyboard shortcuts available. So, if you’re the kind of person who likes to use keyboard shortcuts when you’re working rather than using icons like this, here’s a full set of keyboard shortcuts.

Text View

Let’s go into text view. You can see that the whole keyboard just changes, you no longer have a kitchen sink. And now you have just minimal kinds of styling here. Chances are, you are not going to use any of these buttons because all of the work that you do will be in visual view.

You may come into the text editor for the text only version for some purposes but chances are you’re not going to be typing text here. The visual view is more familiar for most people because they aren’t interested in typing out the HTML. In fact we used to call this the visual view and the HTML view

I’ll show you what the HTML looks like. Let’s go back to visual view. And I’ll type in a heading here and choose heading three. Now it’s styled. Let’s flip back over to the text view and you can see it’s added HTML tags,h3s, around that text.

Go back to text view, select the heading and hit the clear formatting tool. It doesn’t work. So sometimes things don’t work the way you’d expect them to. In this case the way you change the styling is to go back and select what you want. I’ll just choose paragraph again. When you flip over to the text view you can see the HTML has gone. The oddball thing about WordPress is that paragraphs inside the text view don’t get paragraph tags.

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