Block Editor Update #WordPress

Block Editor Update

Some bloggers will remember my first attempts to use Block Editor. I can report in this Block Editor Update that through “occasional” practice and experience, my abilities with Block Editor have improved……but I still have frustrations.

Block Editor Update (Image: white text over a background image of an open laptop, cup of coffee, and a potted small plant with pink flowers)

Image Source: Canva

The Conundrum: I don’t think I’m especially resistant to change or inflexible or technically challenged. However, I do have LIMITED TIME for fooling around. I have reading to do, reviews to write, and content to create. Spending (at least) twice as long creating a blog post is not my idea of wise time management. Nevertheless, I know that I NEED to learn Block Editor eventually. Continued practice will result in less frustration and wasted time.

What I’m Learning to Like

  • I like being able to change the location of a block of text or image or rearrange my content by using the up and down arrows rather than cut and paste.
  • I like the ability to add a background color (as in the heading above)….but this didn’t come easily as noted below!

My Frustrations

  • COLOR: In the Classic Editor, I’m accustomed to having my color choices in the toolbar. It took me a while to train myself to look at the block editing options located on the right side of the post. Also, I miss the sample color palate of about forty colors that Classic provides. According to my theme (I guess), I have blue, white, gray, and black in my Block Editor palate. I need a custom color almost every time. Looking for a custom color is a time waster. I found out the hard way after many frustrating attempts that if you want all the text in a block to be a color, it’s easiest to set that color (in the block edit option on the right) before you start adding text to that block. You can’t change it to color once it is already typed. UNLESS, it’s a “heading” and then you can. ***EDITED to add: Karen indicates that I can add color to text that is already entered…..if fact, I just did with this edit! I think I was trying to accomplish it by using the block editing option on the right (as I can do with headings) instead of using the “highlight” option from the toolbar pull down menu.
  • COLOR OF ONE WORD: I didn’t think I could change the color of one word or phrase in a block. Joanne @ Portobello Book Blog came to my rescue! I was looking for it in the block editing feature on the right side of the page (in the block editing mode, it does say “text”)…….but no, Bock Editor makes it difficult to find. I now know that you can change the color of a single word by selecting the “highlight” option from the pull down menu on the toolbar. There you will find a generic (and limited) color palate and a custom color feature. I’m still confused about how this works because the only way I could change the color of the word above is to select a custom color….the palate color doesn’t seem to work for me. It has taken me TWO YEARS to gain some sort of mediocre proficiency with color. Granted, if I had practiced more and watched some tutorials, I could have made faster progress. But I’m used to working intuitively. Color has been one of my most frustrating experiences with Block Editor.
  • HEADINGS WITH CUSTOM COLOR: Changing text color in a “heading” block can be done in the block editing option on the right of your page. You can also change the color of text once it’s already typed. If you want to create multiple headings with a colored background (as found in this post), you need to do this in one of three ways: 1. write down the custom color so that you have it handy for each heading you create, 2. scroll up to the previous heading and note the custom color code and hope you remember it to select the same custom color in your new block, or 3. scroll up to the previous heading and duplicate the block and use the arrows to bring it down into position (easiest option).
  • SPECIAL CHARACTERS: I CANNOT find a special characters menu. Obviously, Block Editor wasn’t created with writers in mind. The only workaround I can see is to type the word into a word-processing program, add the special character, and copy and paste it into my WordPress post. Really?! How hard would it be to add a special character option to the toolbar? (as the Classic has) If anyone has found it, can you let me know?!
  • READ MORE: I CANNOT find a “read more” feature like I had and used in every Classic Editor post. If anyone knows how to find this, please let me know! I don’t know if you use this feature in your posts, but it’s a handy tool that encourages readers to click through to your blog to read the entire post (which is tallied as a “visit” or “view”) rather than being able to read the entire post in the email notification and never click through. I would really miss this feature if I used Block Editor exclusively. ***EDITED to add: Karen found the “read more” feature! It’s a block called “more.” Thank you Karen!
  • REUSABLE BLOCKS: If I used Block Editor more, I would probably need to figure out reusable blocks eventually. I admit that I’m afraid of them! I did read that if you don’t change it to a regular block before you edit it, you will change that block everywhere it appears (as a reusable block) on your blog. Changing a block in every post could be a nice feature or a disaster! Although I can appreciate its potential value, it’s an advanced feature that I will leave alone for now.
  • SEPARATORS: In the last post I created with Block Editor, separators were highly frustrating. They kept disappearing or moving from where I thought I put them. I’m sure this is a “user error”! Such a tiny annoyance, but it was a time waster to figure out their placement. In Classic, a line separator is right there in the toolbar and using it is as simple as adding a line of text.
  • LIST DILEMMA: I realize while writing this that I do not know how to revert this list block to a normal paragraph block. Rethinking the format, I realize that even though I’ve used bullet points, I might prefer subheadings. I’m stymied. In Classic I would simply deselect the bullet list option and the bullets would disappear and I’d be left with a normal paragraph. I can’t figure out how to eliminate these bullets. I’ll need to leave these bullets but can anyone help me out here? ***EDITED to add: Karen to the rescue once more! She assures me I can change from list format to paragraph format by clicking on the format icon on found on the left end of the toolbar. I just looked and it’s there. I think while creating this post, I was too stress, impatient, and frazzled at this point to function efficiently. Thank you Karen!
  • EXITING A LIST: Just now when I thought I was finished with this list, I tried to continue with a Heading block. Ugh! I couldn’t get out of list mode. I’m fairly certain I’m simply tired and out of patience and couldn’t find the right path (since I exited list mode fine up above). I ended up scrolling up to the top of my post to create a Heading block and then moved it down into position with the arrow. Wasting more time. When my frustration level starts rising like this, it’s time to wrap up!

OVERALL

I can see that I have made some progress and spending more time in Block Editor will increase my proficiency. However, I don’t know that I care as I can create something (mostly) equivalent and satisfactory in the Classic Editor (where I don’t spend precious minutes reinventing the wheel). I’m not sure how long Classic will be available, but I’m here for it as long as it lasts. If WordPress eliminated it tomorrow, I feel like I could function in the Block Editor. That’s progress. Special thanks and a shout out to Karen @ Booker Talk for her continuing support and encouragement! The blogging community is the BEST!

Two Special Requests For WordPress

  1. Fix the color option so that I do not have to write down the custom color or continually check the color in the previous block or create a duplicate block and move it down. Color doesn’t need to be this complicated. The ability of Block Editor to remember a color in the palate seems like a simple request.
  2. Add a special characters menu as found in the Classic Editor for those of us whose content is mainly text.

Block Editor Update QOTD:

Do you use Block Editor?
Are you a pro or a newbie?
Is my Block Editor UpDate helpful?
Do you have tips for me?
***I used Block Editor to create this post, but I’m heading back to Classic!***

21 comments

  1. Apart from using an image block for my post header I still just use the Classic Editor block for text. The block ‘features’ just don’t suit me at all. I know I’m going to have to change someday, especially as my blog theme hasn’t been supported for a couple of years, but until I have no choice, I’m sticking with what works.

    • I wonder how many of us still use Classic? I should have included a poll!

      My theme was retired as well and I updated it a couple of months ago and it hasn’t affected my use of the classic editor. Usually I work from a classic template.

      I agree with sticking with what works. My ventures into using Block Editor have been so time consuming!

  2. Thanks for the update Carol. I’m so impressed that you’re still trying to figure it out. I gave up ages ago, it’s just too frustrating. I’m still using the classic editor and particularly the ‘copy post’ feature for all my posts now, but I occasionally have to use a block to fix things.

    • Persistence is underrated! 😂😂😂 it will probably be another year before I try it again! I have used a lot of platforms…I can’t understand why this is so challenging!

  3. You know, I am totally ignorant about most of this. I’ve been using wordpress on and off for the past 10 years but still haven’t really worked out how to do things properly. I keep meaning to sit down and find tutorials but never quite get round to it. I have the same issues with Canva which I need to get to grips with as well. I must use block editor as I regularly shuffle my blocks up and down. I definitely need to investigate the use of colour although I think that my current theme might restrict that. Thanks for the update Carol

  4. Phew, where to begin to help solve (some) of your frustrations….

    – you can still add a “Read more” option. It’s a special block you can find in the block gallery, and its called “More”. An explanation of how to use it is here https://wordpress.com/support/wordpress-editor/blocks/more-block/

    – not sure why you can’t change from list to paragraph. If you look at the editing toolbar (the same one that has the drop down menu for changing colour on single words) you will see on the left the icon showing what format you are in. Simply click it and change to paragraph

    – your standard colour palette will indeed be determined by your chosen theme. My palette has 12 colours. You could look into your blog settings to see if you can customise it.

    – I can change the colour of a whole paragraph after I type it. Just highlight – go to the block editing options and click text. Odd that it hasn’t worked for you

    – yep the custom colour is a faff. Re-usable blocks would be the simplest option

    – special characters don’t seem to exist. On my computer I can get them by holding down the key and then it gives me choices. So if I want to do an e with an accent for example, I hold down the e key and then see the different accents or other characters. There are shortcuts that you can learn for the most common ones (eg on windows Control +B is quicker than using the drop down menu to make text bold). Take a look at this – https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-keyboard-shortcuts-3d444b08-3a00-abd6-67da-ecfc07e86b98

    Good luck! Let me know how this goes

    • Thanks a million! I’m thrilled to have my read more back!!!

      I don’t understand why I’m having a difficult time with this! I’ve learned many many platforms over the years!

      Thanks once more for your assistance! I’ll check out the links! Every time I try a post with Block I learn more! You could make big bucks as an online consultant/tutor!

  5. I share your frustrations Carol. I’m with @nickimags too. I gave up and still use the classic one. I don’t think wordpress ever actually asked its users what they wanted, did they? Well done for persevering.

    • It seems that what WP has done has not been geared toward book bloggers or bloggers who have a great deal of written content. It seems suited more for graphic designers perhaps? I like that Classic is still available because it allows me to dabble with Block from time to time until I feel more comfortable! It’s never taken me this long to learn a new platform!

  6. I have accepted that I am stuck with the Block Editor. But I do not like the Block Editor. Really, I struggle to think of any WordPress updates that I really enjoyed. Often they seem to make my experience clunkier and generally worse than before.

  7. I use both Block Editor and Classic Editor. This was an extremely helpful post, Carol. I am a newbie, but getting better all the time. Thanks for posting.

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