The visual editor in WordPress is the default editor for text and media when adding a new post or page. It’s available for the classic editor. The Gutenberg editor is similar in function but uses proprietary technology developed specifically for WordPress 5.0+.
A visual editor uses the What You See Is What You Get system that shows your content how it’ll look like before it is published.
It’s a word processor, it not only shows text, but visualizes HTML elements, such as bold or italics and other tags.
How to Use the WordPress Visual Editor
On a standard WordPress Visual Editor, you will see the main formatting tools and controls at the top bar. From left to right, they consist of:
- Text Style – allows you to format your text with the Paragraph, Headings 1 to 6, and Preformatted options.
- Bold and Italic – these options allow you to emphasize parts of your text with slight visual changes.
- Unordered List – lets you create a list that is accompanied by bullet points.
- Ordered List – much like the unordered list, this allows you to create a list with numbered points, or an alphabetical sequence.
- Blockquote – this is useful for formatting quoted text. The style will depend on the theme you’re using.
- Align left, center, and right – the standard alignment options for texts and images.
- Insert/edit link – this button lets you add a link to a line of text.
- Insert Read More tag – this provides an option to display a post excerpt on your homepage.
- Toolbar Toggle – opens the second toolbar.
The second row, once opened with the Toolbar Toggle, presents these options:
- Strikethrough – adds a line crossing through selected text.
- Horizontal line – inserts a horizontal line across the page.
- Text color – lets you change the color of your text.
- Paste as text – makes sure that text that is copied from somewhere else will be pasted without any special formatting or HTML tags.
- Clear formatting – removes all formatting on the selected text.
- Special character – opens a collection of characters such as dashes, Latin letters, and mathematical symbols.
- Decrease and Increase indent – lets you reformat the indentations of your text.
- Undo and Redo – allows you to undo or redo your actions.
- Help – shows a list of keyboard shortcuts and additional information regarding the editor.
There’s also the Add Media button above the control bar at the far left. It’s a shortcut to the WordPress Media Library. You can simply click on it if you need to insert an image or video into your post.
At the top-right corner, there’s a Text tab that lets you view and edit the raw HTML code of your post.
However, in the current WordPress version, the Visual Editor has been replaced by the Gutenberg editor.
The Visual Editor vs. The Block Editor (Gutenberg)
After the 5.0 update, by default, WordPress doesn’t include the Visual-and-Text editor, which is instead completely replaced by the Gutenberg block editor.
Gutenberg has a significantly different user interface design than the Classic Editor. It’s more modern and interactive, making sure that the editing process can be fast and easy for beginners and experts alike.
The drag-and-drop feature allows you to easily insert blocks and website elements, placing them anywhere on the page. There are 27 blocks divided into five categories ― Text, Media, Quotes, Code, and Layout.
It also has the capability to embed multimedia and social media uploads. The layout of your post or page will also be mobile-friendly.
One of the blocks in the Gutenberg editor is actually a Classic Visual Editor. It has the same top bar of formatting tools and controls.
Adding custom HTML is also much easier as you don’t have to view the whole HTML version of your post.
But if you prefer using the more straightforward Visual Editor, you can install the Classic Editor plugin:
- From your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins -> Add New.
- Type in ‘Classic Editor’ in the search bar, then Install Now and Activate.
Once the plugin is installed, you can now use the Block and Visual Editor interchangeably.
The Visual Editor is a part of WordPress’ default classic text editor before the 5.0 update. It uses a WYSIWYG system like other text editors.
You can install the Classic Editor plugin to revive it back if you prefer it over the new Gutenberg version.