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.


29 thoughts on “Venturing into the Block Editor”

  1. As you know, I recently tried a post using the BE. I only used ‘Classic Block’, ‘Gallery’, and ‘Image’. You are more adventurous than me, so I will save this as a bookmark for when I need your great tips. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m using the blockhead editor, but am posting less frequently because of it. I see no point to having blocks, especially when ones will suddenly inexplicably stop letting me edit my words… then I have to rewrite everything in a new block that’ll let me edit in it. So much wasted time.

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    1. I do not disagree. I find it glitchy at best. I am trying to embrace it so I can at least troubleshoot when necessary. I always shied away from writing in Word then copying it back to WP, but for writers, it might be the simplest avenue.


  3. Most helpful to me is seeing a feature on another blog and asking the writer how they did that. I recently learned how to do a slideshow, for instance. I have also asked people how to do certain things I can’t figure out and have been helped.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a nice introduction, Maggie. I like your style. I do think they rushed this editor into production, but it seems we have little choice but to make it work for us.

    Thanks for the shout.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There was no need to repeat all that you had already shared. I had fun playing with the button block. It still feels a bit forced, but I am sure I will get there.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I stumbled into the block editor over a year ago….I decided to perscivere and stay with.i actually like it. Yes it does randomly change and then you have to experiment and explore. On the whole and fingers crossed I really like it 💜💜

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  6. Well done for giving it a go, Maggie. I’m seeing more and more people giving it a try.

    At first, I disliked the Block editor, but I grew to love it after setting up a test post in my draft folder and playing with the various blocks. I also watched and learned from the tutorials WordPress offered on how to use it. Watching and reading them was a great help to me.
    I’m now firmly in the Block editor fan zone and wouldn’t go back to the Classic editor, but that’s just me.

    I found your post after doing a search on WordPress for posts on the Block editor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hugh, I must admit I still flip-flop between the two. I write primarily on my iPad, and the mobile versions are still a little cumbersome for my liking. Maintaining my blog on the free site also limits some of the functionality.

      If I was on the paid version, I would assist with testing to try to resolve some of the bugs that still haunt a few people. It has come a long way, though, I will give credit where credit is due.

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      1. When they first took on the Gutenberg Block editor, I think WordPress had more in mind the users who do most of their blogging on a desktop or laptop. I was somewhat surprised by that, especially given that WordPress always pushes the tag ‘Blogging on the go,’ which means blogging from a tablet or mobile phone.

        However, they now seem to be concentrating more on the mobile device section of the Block editor. I’m not very good at blogging on mobile devices, and I have found various things you can’t do on them (such as turning a block into a reusable block), but it may just be because I don’t know where the setting to it is…yet.

        Good to see that you’re giving it a go, though. And thank you for the tutorial in this post. I’m sure it will help many who read it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I will definitely keep plugging away at it. I agree, though, their history on mobile is not as solid as the desktop. When I started in web design, I used WordPress almost exclusively. It was perfect for the average user to maintain their own content. It is not as easy now.

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