Gutenberg is the block-based editor that comes in WordPress. First introduced in late 2018, Gutenberg’s goal was to create a content creation experience that is simple to use and in line with other user interfaces on the internet. At first glance, using the block editor in WordPress is very intuitive and simple. However, there are many hidden features that can help take your content creation to the next level. We’re going to take a look at some of these features:

Type slash to find the right block

There are so many blocks available in Gutenberg that all allow you to do different and interesting things. However, they can be quickly overwhelming, especially when you’re looking for one specific block. Trying to find that right one can be disruptive to your content creation workflow.

If you know what kind of block you want to add, you can quickly navigate to it by pressing the slash ( / ) symbol when creating a new block. You can type the name of the block that you are looking for in the pop up.

Keyboard shortcuts

Typing / is just one keyboard shortcut found in Gutenberg. There are many others that can help speed up your workflow. While these have existed in previous iterations of WordPress, they’re especially handy with Gutenberg so you can save time searching for the correct block. Here are a few that we find useful:

  • > to create a blockquote
  • ## for a Heading
  • 1. To start an ordered list
  • – to start a list

You can see a full list of keyboard shortcuts available in the WordPress editor here.

Use reusable blocks for repetitive tasks

Do you find yourself using the same blocks over and over again? For example, maybe you want email opt-in forms on multiple posts or you need to place a disclaimer on some of your posts. Instead of doing the same thing on multiple posts, you can write it once and can save it as a reusable block.

Once you have formatted your block the way that you would like to be, click on the three dots that opens the options menu, scroll down, and then select “Add to Reusable Blocks”. Give it a name and then you’ll be able to find it when adding new blocks.

To take it a step further, you can create blocks within blocks and save the whole thing as a reusable block.

Easily add a link

Adding a link was once very cumbersome. You had to select the text, click on the link icon, and then paste in your link URL. No more! All you need to do now is just select the text and then hit “Ctrl+V” (or command+V if on a mac) and the link is automatically created. So simple!

Drag and drop images from your computer

Gone are the days of uploading and inserting images in WordPress. Instead, you can just drag and drop images right into the editor. You don’t even need to create a new block – one will automatically be created when you drop the image in. You’ll be able to find the image in your media library as well.

See an overview of your post

At the top of your post page, you can see a circled i. Clicking on it, will open a pop-up window which gives you an overview of your post. It includes information on word count, paragraphs, blocks, Below, there is a document overview which allows you to navigate around your post easily without endlessly scrolling. This is particularly handy if you are writing long posts with lots of sections.

Distraction free writing

If you prefer to write your content directly in WordPress itself, there are a couple modes to help you achieve peak productivity. Spotlight mode dims all blocks except for the one that you’re working on. When you’re working in spotlight mode, the visual cues for the other blocks are delayed allowing you to focus on one block at a time.   

Like previous versions, enabling full-screen mode will remove all the extra toolbars at the top and side, leaving you with just the Top Toolbar and your words. For maximum distraction-free writing, you can use both modes at the same time.

Finally, if you find the pop-up block editor for each block to be annoying as you move your mouse, you can turn on the Top Toolbar. Doing so will move that pop up to a fixed position at the top of your post.

Copy and paste from other word processing programs

If you prefer to write your content outside of WordPress, this will be a huge improvement and time saver for you. In previous version of WordPress when you copy and pasted content from another source, it came with wrong formatting, extra spaces, and a huge headache cleaning it all up. Now in Gutenberg, this is no long a concern. You can easily copy and paste content from other word process programs like Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and Apple Pages, without worry. All the content is there, but gone are the random span tags, weird paragraphs and formatting.

Copy all content

You might find yourself needing to copy your content out of the editor. Instead of highlighting each of the boxes individually, you can easy copy everything with just one click. In the top right column, click on the three dots to access the drop-down menu. Scroll to the bottom and click on “Copy All Content”.

The new Gutenberg editor is quite a departure from the previous editor, but it comes with so many ways of improving your WordPress content creation process. Change isn’t easy, but it is necessary. While it might take a moment to get accustomed to the new way of doing things, it will quickly become a part of your workflow.

Have you discovered a hidden feature of Gutenberg? Let us know in the comments.