Your writing environment

If you yourself can get into a Zen-like state of mind before writing, fantastic!–it’s a useful skill. WordPress can go into Zen mode at a press of a button!

There are two ways to enter text into WordPress, and each of these has two modes, Zen and un-Zen.

Visual vs. HTML

You will notice that the text entry box you type your page or post into has two tabs at the upper left. “Visual” is a WYSIWYG editor, that allows you to see most text formatting, inserted images, links, bullets and other features, almost as they will appear in your published page or post. The editing buttons at the top of the text box should be familiar from other word processing programs.

Editing buttons for WordPress in Visual editing modeIf you don’t see all of these buttons, you need to invoke the power of The Kitchen Sink, the name for the button at the end, or near the end, of the first row of editing buttons.

image of the kitchen sink buttonThe kitchen sink.

HTML mode allows you to enter code into WordPress. You need to use it in some cases where the WYSIWYG editor doesn’t correctly interpret code. One example of this is the <!–nextpage–> comment discussed in the formatting section of this site. Another is when you need to use an older embedding method on sites where WordPress doesn’t know to auto-embed media.

The HTML editing toolbar looks like this:
The WordPress HTML toolbarIf you want to try some HTML feature that you can’t figure out how to achieve in the visual editor, it’s worthwhile trying to insert it in HTML mode.

Getting to Zen

The folks at Automattic, the company that makes WordPress, like jokes. You may stumble across some hidden tricks and behaviors while you work on your pages.

One inside joke that’s pretty useful is Zen Mode. More boring companies call this “fullscreen editing mode.”

in the WYSIWYG editor, use this button:

button to go to fullscreen mode in Visual Editing mode

In HTML, there is a button that says “fullscreen.”

That’s Zen. It’s more Zen to write on a spacious white page than in an narrow horizontal window. Note however, the narrow horizontal window in un-Zen mode has a drag handle on the lower right that allows you to stretch the window by dragging your mouse down. Do that if you want to see more of your writing without scrolling.

To get out of the Zen mode in WordPress, mouse over the top part of the screen. An exit button will appear.

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