What is Gutenberg
At the end of 2018, with the release of WordPress 5.0, WordPress replaced its classic text editor with the new Gutenberg block editor.
To find out about Gutenberg, its features and how it works visit the WordPress guide Say Hello To Or New Editor. It's an easy read and has a working mockup so you can play with Gutenberg and see how it works on your website.
Do you have to use Gutenberg with WordPress?
No - Gutenberg is still in its infancy and the WordPress developers are working hard and fast to iron out any bugs and make improvements suggested by the WordPress community.
Not all themes and Plugins support Gutenberg so for some existing sites, using the previous (Classic), WordPress editor may be preferable for now.
Can I still use use the Classic Editor with WordPress
Yes - Whether you are building your first WordPress site or are an old hand you should have the option to switch between the new Gutenberg editor and the classic WordPress editor.
We recommend using The Classic Editor plugin.
This free official plugin maintained by the WordPress team lets you use either classic WordPress editor or Gutenberg, or switch between both.
We think it is the best option for WordPress users and it will be fully supported and maintained until at least 2022, or as long as is necessary.
Why have both Gutenberg and Classic editors?
If you are building a new site
- Not all plugins and themes are compatible with Gutenberg yet.
- The Gutenberg editor may still have bugs.
We suggest using Gutenberg as your first choice, it is going to get better with each update and is the WP editor for the future.
Have the classic editor as a back up in case your themes/plugins are not compatible with Gutenberg.
Familiarise yourself with the classic editor by using it to build a couple of unpublished test pages (set visibility to private) so if you do need to switch you already know how to use Gutenberg
If you already have a site
- You aren’t missing anything by not switching to Gutenberg immediately.
- Your current page builder may not support Gutenberg
- Gutenberg may not work with your theme or some plugins
- You need time to learn how to use it properly
We suggest continuing using the classic editor and use Gutenberg to build a couple of unpublished test pages to familiarise yourself with it.
Eventually, you will have to switch over when WordPress end support for the classic editor.
Don't panic - The classic editor will be supported for at least 3 more years to allow themes, plugins and developers time to build in support.
If you have any issues using the Classic editor use The Classic Editor Support Forum
Using the Classic editor plugin
Make sure you are using the latest version of WordPress and all your plugins are updated.
Click on the updates tag in your admin panel, the update page will show what needs updating, update WordPress if necessary.
Then go to the plugin menu on your admin panel, click on add new, then type classic editor in the search box.
The Classic editor should be the first plugin you see, click on install then activate.
Wait for it to install then find it in your plugin list and click on 'settings', this should open the writing settings page for your WordPress website.
Where it says 'default editor for all users':
- If you want to use classic as your default editor then tick the Classic editor box
- If you want to use Gutenberg as the default editor then tick the Block editor box
Where is says 'Allow users to switch editors':
Tick yes and you will be able to switch between the Classic editor and Gutenberg on all your posts and pages. We recommend using this setting to keep your options open.
If you are certain you only want to use your chosen default editor then tick no.
To switch from Gutenberg to the Classic editor on your pages/posts.
Click on the 3 spot icon on the far upper right, this opens a 'more settings' menu.
Scroll down to the switch to classic editor icon and click on it.
To switch from the Classic editor to Gutenberg on your pages/posts.
Scroll down the page menu to 'Default editor for current user' and click on 'Switch to Block Editor'
For the future:
If, like me, you prefer the classic editor with its wordprocesser-like format then hopefully there will be plugins that will give the option to use the classic editors, or something like it far into the future.
But, it would be sensible to learn how to use Gutenberg as block editing seems the future of page building for now.