What is a Visual Editor in WordPress?
The visual editor in WordPress provides an intuitive way to format and layout content without needing to know HTML. It allows you to see real-time previews of styling as you write and edit posts and pages.
The visual editor transforms WordPress from a simple blogging platform into a user-friendly content management system accessible to everyone.
Understanding WYSIWYG Editors
WordPress uses a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor for the visual mode. This type of editor displays formatted text as it will appear to website visitors. WYSIWYG editors function similarly to word processors like Microsoft Word, allowing you to apply styling without coding knowledge.
As you write content in the WordPress visual editor, you can use the formatting toolbar to mark text as bold, italic, add bullet points, align text, insert links, and more.
The editor instantly applies the styling so you can visualize what the post will look like. Everything from paragraph breaks to font sizes appears right in the editor window.
WYSIWYG editors contrast plain text editors, where you manually insert HTML tags. While coding gives you fine-grained control, it also creates a disconnect between writing and formatting.
The visual editor bridges that gap, showing real-time previews so you can focus on content without distraction.
Key Features of the Visual Editor
The WordPress visual editor provides a robust set of formatting options including:
- Text styling – Make text bold, italic, underlined, strikethrough, superscript, subscript, and set font sizes.
- Alignment – Align paragraphs left, center, right, or justified.
- Lists – Create bulleted, numbered, and nested lists.
- Links – Insert hyperlinks with anchor text descriptive of the target.
- Media – Add images, videos, and documents into content seamlessly.
- Blockquotes – Format pull quotes and citations with block indentation.
- Tables – Build tables to present data in rows and columns.
- HTML view – Toggle to HTML view to directly edit code.
Extending Capabilities with Plugins
The visual editor is built on the open-source TinyMCE platform. This makes the editor highly extensible through WordPress plugins. Developers can add new buttons and options to the toolbar, giving you more formatting capabilities.
For example, plugins like TablePress add more advanced table options beyond the built-in tables. Other plugins extend the editor with buttons for creating interactive elements like tabs, accordions, and sliders without coding.
Plugins are available to add enhanced media handling, pasting from Word, and many other features.
Consistent Display of Styling
A key advantage of the visual editor is it displays content with the active theme’s styles applied. This ensures the formatting you see as you write matches what site visitors will see.
The editor uses the theme’s CSS stylesheet to render styling choices like font families, sizes, and colors.
This gives you a real preview of how formatting like paragraph spacing, line heights, and text alignment will look on the live site. You don’t have to worry about styling not matching due to differences between the editor view and templates.
What you see in the visual editor reflects your site.
Accessibility for All Skill Levels
The intuitive WYSIWYG interface makes the visual editor welcoming to beginners. You can focus purely on writing without having to learn HTML markup. Users with more development experience may prefer the Text tab for full control over source code.
However, the visual editor makes WordPress accessible to all users regardless of technical skill.
Its beginner-friendly design allows businesses, organizations, schools, and individuals to leverage WordPress to publish professional content. You don’t need a background in web development to craft great-looking webpages.
The visual editor’s rich toolset empowers anyone to produce quality content through an easy drag-and-drop interface.
Creating SEO-Friendly Content
While the visual editor simplifies formatting, it doesn’t limit your ability to optimize content. You can still craft compelling meta titles and descriptions that rank well in search engines. The text formatting options help you emphasize important keywords and structure content in scannable ways.
The editor also supports inserting metadata like alternate text for accessibility. You can adjust images and embeds to have descriptive titles and captions.
The visual editor gives you the best of both worlds – ease of use with the flexibility for optimization. This allows you to focus on great content while ensuring it’s highly discoverable.
Balancing Power and Simplicity
WordPress’ open-source roots and active developer community enable the visual editor to continually advance. The editor strikes an ideal balance between an intuitive interface with robust functionality. It brings the usability and features of desktop publishing tools into your web browser.