Quick Tip: Manage Your WordPress Block Editor Preferences

When you start using the WordPress block editor to write a post or page, the number of panels, boxes, and choices that display while you’re editing can be overwhelming.

That’s what I’ve heard from my clients who transitioned from the classic editor to the block editor.

From the top bar to the side panel to the panels that display at the bottom of the editor window, there’s a number of distracting elements in the layout that get in the way of your writing.

Many WordPress users know about Fullscreen mode, available from the Options icon (the three dots in the top-right corner of the page), where the top admin bar and left sidebar menu are hidden.

But they didn’t know they could customize how the block editor displays (or doesn’t display) panels in the interface.

Read on to learn how you can create a custom interface that makes it easier for you to write and publish your content in the block editor.

Manage Your WordPress Block Editor Preferences

By default, the WordPress block editor configures several settings and options for panels, which you can customize using Options > Preferences.

Options panel in right sidebar with Preferences option, last option in the menu, highlighted with red arrow.

When the Preferences panel displays, it offers four sections you can customize:

  1. General
  2. Appearance
  3. Blocks
  4. Panels

The General section includes the pre-publish checklist and Display block breadcrumbs turned on by default.

Personally, I’m a fan of the breadcrumb bar at the bottom of the editor. I use it regularly when I’m trying to edit nested blocks.

Depending on your preferences, you may find you make no changes in the General, Appearance, or Blocks sections.

But I recommend you review your settings in the Panels section. I’ve customized my preferences in this section to turn off several options.

I disable Active Elements (related to my theme) and Discussion in the Document Settings section.

The Additional Settings section includes Custom Fields and Layout options as well as other options (dependent on the plugins you install).

For example, my Additional Settings includes Simple CSS and All in One SEO plugin panels.

If your Panels section includes options for plugins that you don’t customize by page or post, disable the panel from displaying.

Wrapping Up

Staying focused on your writing can be challenging when the block editor window is filled with distracting panels and options.

Streamline your block editor display.

Customize your preferences to only display the panels and options you need to support your writing.

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About the Author

Deborah Edwards-Onoro helps small businesses, consultants, nonprofits, and higher ed with creative and distinctive websites. Deborah shares her expertise with web design, user experience, and accessibility on her blog, social media, and at meetup events. As organizer of Refresh Detroit, West Metro Detroit WordPress, and Metro Detroit WordPress, she encourages members to share their knowledge and experiences. In her free time, you'll find her birding, shooting photos, reading, or watching tennis.

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