Venturing into the Block Editor

I have been slowly dipping my toe into the block editor waters. I first used the Classic Block, but am now finding I do not like using it as much. I am taking it at a snail’s pace, while truly trying to embrace the changes.

Let’s get the frustrations out of the way first.

  • Where are the menus?

The menus float and change depending on where you are. That is confusing at best and can cover the text you have just written, but you can resolve that easily. If you wish to see your toolbars at the top then click on the three dots on the top right and click ‘Top Toolbar’ (highlighted below).

  • Why is everything a different block?

I would guess the reason for this lies in the fact that the menus and parameters for each type of block can be different. For a paragraph I may need to align or change the text color or change the font size, whereas with an image block or a video you may need to change the size of the image, or round the corners.

  • How do I add a block?

If you start writing, the editor assumes you are writing in a paragraph block. Just write over the text that says ‘start writing or type /to choose a block’. If, however, you want to insert a video, or a gallery for example, you will click on one of the two plus signs ( + ) that appear on your screen. One floats at the end of a new line, and the other is at the top left of your screen as highlighted in the images below.

  • It seems a waste of time to always search for the block you need.

Agreed. That is why there are shortcuts available once you know the name of the block. If I wish to add a column block for instance, I could search for it (using one of the two + menus) or just use the shortcut /column on the new text line.

Column Example

This is data I decided to write in column one just to demonstrate. It is more difficult to create columns in the classic editor and requires knowledge of coding to do so.

For this column I am using a paragraph block but I could have chose other things. For the second column to the right, I added an image and rounded the corners.

The text is in one column, the image in another.

rounded photo

I am still learning, but there are nice features in the block editor. I made the decision to give it an honest try and so far it is okay. I write mainly on an iPad and I do not think WP handles the pop-up keyboard on a mobile device well. It does seem to conflict with the WP menus at times.

  • I don’t know where to begin!

The best place to start is at the beginning. Dan Antion did a great post on his No Facilities blog about using the Classic Block within the block editor. It is a great place to begin.

There are great beginner’s videos on YouTube. If you search for them, be sure to add 2021 to your search criteria as the format has changed since the editor was first announced. Also, if you are using the free WordPress account, you will NOT have access to Plugins which several videos discuss. I found this video to be particularly helpful.