Writing & Editing

Visual Editor

The visual editor provides a semi-WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) content editor that allows you to easily create, edit, and format your content in a view similar to that of a word processor.

This is the default editing mode of WordPress.com, but if it does not appear to be enabled, you can select the Visual tab in the top right corner of the editor area, as depicted below.
image of visual editor tab

There are two (2) rows of editing icons contained within the visual editor. You can find out what any icon means or does by hovering over it with your mouse – a small tooltip will appear describing the icon and its purpose.

Row 1

When initially opened, the visual editor will display a single row of icons:

image of icons on row 1 of toolbar in visual editor

  1. Add Media
  2. Style – various formatting styles defined by your theme
  3. Bold
  4. Italic
  5. Unordered list (bullet points):
    • Item 1
    • Item 2
  6. Ordered list
    1. Item 1
    2. Item 2
  7. Insert/edit/remove link
  8. Blockquote (a way of displaying quoted text; each theme will style this differently.)

    Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.

  9. Align Left
  10. Align Center
  11. Align Right
  12. Proofread/Spell Check
  13. Insert More tag
  14. Toolbar Toggle (enables the second row of editing icons)


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Row 2

To display the second row of icons, select the toolbar toggle icon image of the toggle icon

image of 2nd row of toolbar icons in visual editor

  1. Strikethrough
  2. Underline
  3. Horizontal line

  4. Justify
  5. Select text colorchange the text color
  6. Paste as Text
  7. Clear formatting
  8. Insert special character
  9. Outdent – move text further left
  10. Indent – move text further right
  11. Undo – undo your last action
  12. Redo – redo your last action
  13. Help – display some information about using the editor, as well as keyboard shortcuts.

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Both text and images can be aligned using the appropriate icons:





Note that justified alignment can only be applied to text and will align both sides of the text.

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The style drop-down menu allows you to change the formatting of any selected text. This includes various headings and other pre-defined styles built into your theme.

Note that further style modification requires the Custom CSS Upgrade (and appropriate knowledge of CSS).

image of text styles

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Text Color

To change text color you must first highlight a section of text:

Clicking on the down arrow next to the text color button will display a color selector. While the color selector is open, the arrow will point up. You can click on it to close the selector without selecting a color:

image of colors selection option

Selecting a color will apply that color to the selected text and make it the default color for the color button.

Clicking on the text color button itself will apply the last default color.

image of default color selection button

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Pasting Text

If you copy and paste text from somewhere else, you may discover that it does not always appear exactly as you would expect. If you use the Paste as text button then a special cleanup process will run to remove any special formatting and HTML tags that may otherwise change your text’s formatting.

Below is how the Toolbar looks in “Plain Text off” mode. Note that there’s no box around it:

image of paste as text button when not active

Below is how the Toolbar looks in “Plain Text on” mode. Notice the icon now has a box around it, and the button is shaded black:

image of paste as text button when

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Remove Formatting

The remove formatting button, as you would expect, removes all formatting (bold, italic, colors etc) from a highlighted section of text. First select your text:

image of formatted text

When the button is clicked, all the formatting will be removed:

image of text after clicking the clear formatting button.

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Custom Characters

As well as the normal letters available directly from your keyboard, you can also insert special characters. Position your cursor to where you want to insert a character and click on the insert custom character button. A popup window will appear:

image of special characters

Click any character and it will be inserted at your cursor position.

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Outdent / Indent

The indent button will move text in by one level, and the outdent button will take away one level.



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Hitting the Enter (Return) key will end the paragraph you are writing and start a new one. If you want to start a new line without creating a new paragraph, press the Shift key while hitting Enter.

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Keyboard Shortcuts

The visual editor has several keyboard shortcuts, or hotkeys, built in.

To see a list of all of the available shortcuts, click the toolbar toggle to show the second row of icons, and then click the Keyboard Shortcuts (question mark) icon at the end of the second row.

A window will pop up showing a list of keyboard shortcuts available in the editor.

Image of keyboard shortcuts

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