Block Editor Lessons—1

This looks like a simple post. A little bit of text and picture that everyone seemed to like on Saturday. But, the picture is not in a gallery, it’s centered, resized, and I changed the caption. Thus begins a series of How-To blog posts about working with the dreaded Block Editor. Today, I’m going to explain and illustrate how to 1) Schedule a post. 2) Set Categories and Tags, and 3) Insert and manipulate a single image from your media library. If you already know how to do all these things, you can click here, and jump to my gallery for today.

Maddie loves sniffing the wind.

Note: the information shown below works for WordPress.com bloggers. If you are self-hosting, I’m sure these options are there, but I don’t know where. Also, the galleries in the post are all screenshots, without borders. They look better and make more sense if you click to bring up the screen show. They will appear in order.

I am going to start with scheduling a post, because it’s the first thing I do. It’s the first thing I do, because it eliminates the possibility that I will click “Publish” before I am ready. One of the things people complain about with the Block Editor is that it’s not intuitive. Well, scheduling your post is among the least intuitive steps there is. You start by clicking on the word “Immediately” – see, I told you.

When you click on “Immediately” a calendar widget appears. Here you can set or pick the date you want your post to go live. However, if you click on a date in the calendar, the post will show as ready to be scheduled for that date, at the current time. Often, the widget will close at this point. If you want to also set the time your post will go live, click on the date and time that replaced the word “immediately” and open the calendar widget again. Set the time. Choose AM or PM, and…oh yeah, this is one of those things that doesn’t have a “Save” option. Just click outside the widget and it will go away. Your settings were saved, and you can see them in the place where the word “immediately” used to be. You will note that the button that used to say “Publish” now says “Schedule.” Don’t push it yet, we’ll come back to that.

Let’s put that image into the post. To do that, we are going to need an Image block. Click on the black square with the plus sign. This will open a Block Selection widget. Note: for the duration of these lessons, please DO NOT click the option to Show All Blocks. That changes the layout of the editor, and, well, let’s not go there. Instead, if you don’t see the Image block as an option, place the cursor in the Search area and type “ima” then choose the Image block. In my case, I want an image I’ve already placed in my library – I always upload and add captions to my images before creating the post – so I’m going to Select Image – and I’m going to select it from my Media Library. I’ll choose that glamor shot of Maddie that everybody liked, and voilà…well, that looks like crap.

Maddie is full size and parked on the left side of my page. There are two ways to fix this. The first way is to click on the image. When you click on that – or any block in your post – the right sidebar will change from showing Post Attributes to showing Block Attributes. These will vary with the block you’ve clicked on, and for an image block they will let you size the image and edit the caption and Alt-Text. There are other options over there, but we’ll save those for Block Editor 102, if anyone signs up.

The second way to edit your image is to do it in the editor space. Click on the image. Notice the lower tool bar that is right above your image. You can click on the icon that looks like the paragraph alignment thingie. Click center and center justify your image. You can click on one of the little blue circles on your image and drag it (in, out, up, down, diagonally depending on the circle) and grow or shrink the image size. Finally, you can click on the caption and edit it in place.

Now, let’s add some text above the image. I like to do this by clicking on the image (or any block) and opening the Block menu on the tool bar above the block. I’m choosing to add a block above my image. Now I begin typing and we’re good.

Lastly, let’s look at getting ready to schedule this post. I’m including a few options people have asked me about via email.

If you are still in a block in the editor space, the sidebar widget will be showing block options. Click on the word “Post” at the top of the sidebar to switch to the Post Options tab. There are many, but let’s focus on two, Categories and Tags. Scroll down in the sidebar until Categories appears. This actually is kind of intuitive. Check/uncheck categories as you like. Add one if necessary. Then scroll down farther until you see Tags. Start typing, and tags you’ve used before will appear. Click on them or continue typing.

If you announce your post on social media, switch the sidebar to the Jetpack tab. Edit your social media message and then switch back to the Post/Block settings tab. If the “Save Post” option is available, do that. WordPress falls off a cliff often, so that’s always a good idea. Most, but not everything you’ve done is displayed as it will be in your blog, but I always like to Preview my post before scheduling. Click Preview, and unless you want to tempt fate, click open in a new window. If everything is hunky-dory, push Schedule. You will be asked to confirm this, and you will be given the option to turn that confirmation step off.

If you turn the confirmation step off, and then if you ever press Publish by accident, your post is live. I’d stick with the two-step process.

I’ll have more to share next week. I take requests, so if there is something you want to know about, feel free to ask in the comments.

104 comments

  1. You should pat yourself on the back for being so kind to do this, but it’s still a good thing I watched a video a day last week or I would have been trying read greek. Something that was simple, one page, and intuitive is now counterintuitive and buried in layers. Oh well, it’s now the only way to stay in our community. Give Maddie my thanks for modeling for us. :-) Enjoy warmer weather this week for your walks.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. You can always use a Classic block for the paragraph you want to put the picture in. In fact, you can write your whole post in a Classic block just like before. I’m going to mention that in the next lesson.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Coincidentally I was just messing around with adding images using the block editor today – after several tries I realized you cannot drag and drop images from your desktop. Then, to add text to the right of an image, I had to intend the text. Will try doing it the proper way! Thanks!

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Dan.

    I learned a few new things here, such as announcing the post on Twitter via the Jetpack icon. I rarely use the Jetpack option, but I noticed it’s also where you can add sharing buttons and likes to any posts where those options have mysteriously gone missing. I’ve had a few in my time but kept forgetting where those boxes were. I’m off to fix one right now.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes, I’ve seen a lot more interest in the Block editor since WordPress rolled out the new navigation menu, Dan. And many of those who are new to trying it out are telling me that they are getting on fine with it. However, we must not forget that the Classic editor will always be there (via the Classic block) for those that want to stick with it. Unless, of course, WordPress decides to delete that block. I’d be surprised if they did that, though. But who knows?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I will try to mention the Classic block in the next installment. I think they have to keep that, to preserve the rendering of old posts.

          I’ve been using the Block editor since August. It does work fine, snd there are even some nice options, but it isn’t always intuitive. Also, Many of the blocks are in a very basic form, with very few options.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I know a few bloggers who were scared to try the Classic block because they had to access it via the Block editor. However, after telling them it’s a simple case of one click to write a post, it’s now the only block many of them use. Some have come over to using other blocks, but baby steps and all that…

            I only use 6 of the blocks regularly. I’ll explore some of the others as and when I think I need to. There are so many blocks available, but we don’t need to use them all.

            Thanks again, Dan.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. How did you find the URL for the text at the top to make a link to your gallery at the bottom of the page? And please tell me more about the Jetpack icon to share to Twitter. Love to learn new stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That URL is a page Anchor. You define the anchor in the text of your blog (any name but no spaces example: myAnchor ). Then, when you want to link to it, you add the link as #myAnchor.

      In the block editor, the option to create the anchor is in the Block Attributes pane, at the bottom but you have to open the advanced options.

      Before you can share on Twitter, you have to set up the Publicize options in your Admin settings. Then the option will appear. I’ll go over all those options in a later post.

      Like

        1. You can also link to the WP page anchors. On my Thursday Doors post, I give people the option to “jump to the comment form.” I use the anchor link that defines that form. I discovered that by exploring the page elements (F-12).

          Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG – why in the world did they change the program from Classic to Block in the first place? This is ridiculous. If I do decide to do another blog after Paratrooper, I doubt I’ll be using WP. I like learning new things, but not when it encompasses working for hours on what used to be a snap.
    Love the pictures, Dan. You always do a good job on them!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I had a good answer for you, GP. The best I can do is try to guide you once your on the beach. I can’t explain why we landed in this island. (I couldn’t resist a military reference)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I hate hate hate the block editor and switch to classic every time I post. It’s also the reason I post from my phone 99% of the time, the mobile app makes it much easier to switch back. Blogging should not be a laborious chore, when it becomes one I’m through. Wonderful squirrel pics today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. According to WP’s count, nothing. They like no more than 15 total. But, categories can be used to build a menu like the one I have. So, if you’re only interested in Saturday bar stories, you can click on that and the page will show only that category.

      When I write the next post, I will add Block Editor Lessons to the menu (somewhere) to make it easy to find these.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Tags are easier to use to spread via social media. Also, they’re more general. A #history tag appears on many of my posts, in a variety of categories. Think of “Big Barn” as a category. Now, think of #USMC as a tag.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow. The Block Editor is even more counterintuitive that I suspect. WordPress is determined to make me use it, but I am continuing to hold out. WordPress recently closed most of my previous way to access the Classic Editor by eliminating WP Admin from the menus, but I still have one back door that I am able to use. I have this feeling, though, that I will eventually have to come back to posts like this when I am forced to adapt. I love Arnold’s begging pose and am glad you showed the “normal” method that the other squirrels use.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mike. My understanding I’d that December of this year will be to end of the line. These posts will be grouped under a menu option, in case you need them.

      Arnold is the only squirrel around here that begs like that. Sometimes he stands pretty tall on his hind legs. Quite the bruiser 😏

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I just can’t get my head wrapped around the block editor. When I can no longer use the classic, I’ll be returning to this post for ‘Dan-101’. Arnold is adorable! No wonder he gets peanuts. I think the flag photo should go into your collection for Memorial Day. It’s good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jennie. I do like this flag photo. I hope I’m not boring people with them, but it’s never really the same look.

      Tomorrow, I will have a mini-lesson for folks in love with Classic.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, Dan. You are not boring people with flag photos because they are all quite different. Hopefully tomorrow’s lesson will be helpful for me. It’s not you, it’s me.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. omg.. scary.. I don’t do recipes.. I’m happy just doing what I do.. is this something of the future? omg omg omg.. hopefully this has all been a nightmare.
    Geesh Dan I don’t even know how to use the vacuum cleaner in any other than function, then push the red button,
    Have a great day.. now that you’ve scared the B geeshush out of me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have, Maggie. I have two that I use in almost every post (the divider, and when I indent a paragraph, which there’s no option for in the Block editor). The intro to Thursday Doors is a reusable block, as is the Jump ti the Comment block.

      I wrote a post about this, but it was more technical than most people like. I’m sure you would understand it, but I am going to do an easier to understand version. If you want to look at the old post. https://nofacilities.com/2020/10/05/block-editor-reflections/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the link, Dan. I remember reading both this post and the link to the bar you referenced. My question is this: Is it possible to create a reusable block that could be shared with other users who struggle with the block editor. When I used the Divi Theme (from Elegant Themes) if I recall you could save an entire screen or page if you will. I am thinking a page that has a centered head photo, a horizontal divider, a body and perhaps a horizontal break followed by another place for text? Is that possible within the new framework?

        Like

        1. I believe it is possible. When you follow the option to Manage Reusable Blocks, one of the options for each block is to Export as JSON. The Reusable block management page includes an option to Import JSON. If you like, I can try to send you my Thursday Doors intro block. It’s just a paragraph.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks, Dan! I thought at first you were writing this just for me, lol, until I saw all the other folks who were as frustrated with the new editor as me! I appreciate all the work you are putting in these posts! Hopefully, they will help us all figure this thing out. I had figured some of this out but learned a thing or two from this post. Can’t wait for the next lesson!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t know, Dan–I post a line or two and a photo. Ta da! Done. For that I just click on the ‘+Write’ button and it’s a snap. Is that going away? If so, I am toast.
    Arnold is adorable. I like your little pun, too. He’s gonna knock your block off….while you give Block Editor lessons. Very clever. Happy Monday to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is not going away, Lois. But, if you every want to expand on one of those beautiful photos you share, there are options. I just don’t want anyone of my favorite folks leaving the community because they can’t handle the Block Editor. I’m glad you caught the pun. Arnold is ready to help.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I always love your gallery! I was Brutally Forced to use That Editor this weekend and I was not amused. It took me the amount of time to post one blog that it normally takes me to post seven. Did I say I wasn’t impressed? It took me the rest of the day but I think I’ve got the Classic back. Not exactly the way it was but close enough. If I lose it again I may just stop blogging. Those Horrible Eunuchs, sorry, Happiness Engineers have caused me much discomfort.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wonderful tutorial, Dan. I still have classic due to a workaround. My biggest problem with the Block editor is not being able to load a bunch of pictures at once and then say things about each picture. The Block caption system is inadequate so what has to happen is each photo has to be loaded by itself and then a text block loaded after it. This is a nightmare for a Lucy and Twiggy or Views of the neighborhood post. I hope I can always find a workaround. If I was just losing one photo and then text it would not be a burden t go to Block but right now it certainly is. Thanks for taking the time to lay this out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right John. I’m using the admin panel workaround to let me load a batch of photos and set the captions. The new method is stupid and since I post 12-16 photos a day, I’m not interested the extra work.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m going to save this post to refer to when I lose the classic editor for good.  One thing I like about the block editor is being able to add a gif or giphy.  Thank you Dan!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Love the squirrel photos. I have trouble when I click on ‘preview’ desktop and I get oops sorry you can’t see this or something like that. Maybe I’m doing it in the wrong sequence? Thanks for the tips.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I love the begging squirrel photo! So cute!

    I’ve figured out the basics on WP, but still struggle with photo galleries. I’ve been sticking with single photos for sanity’s sake.

    Hope you are havig a great start to the week, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’ve been using the block editor for a while now and haven’t had too many problems. I think it’s easier for those of us who write our posts in Word, then copy and paste. I did learn a few things from your tutorial (keep em coming!) and also found out that I’m not the only one who thinks the “Immediately” scheduling button is stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right Janis, the Block editor might be easier for those of working in Word first. I rarely write a post in the editor. Thanks for you agreement on the “immediately” thing,

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Dan, this is a great, great post! I’ve been posting tips recently as I’ve been working through my own photos. There is always some mystery to solve when working with WordPress. :)

    I am doing an interview post of Natalie the Explorer on Friday. I decided to include quotes from some of her readers and I chose one of your supportive comments to quote. I will also include a link to this post linked to your name – if you don’t mind. If you do, please let me know.

    “I have not been to Morocco or any country in Africa, so I really appreciate seeing the pictures you have shared. It looks like a fascinating place to visit. The doors are huge and so meticulously detailed, I can’t imagine building them in the time in which they built. Thanks for linking to Thursday Doors, Natalie, this was an interesting, educational and fun post.”

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you, Dan. I did have to figure most of this stuff out on my own when I switched to Block Editor. It was not intuitive (at least for me). I didn’t know how to edit photos in the Block Editor. I usually edited them before I uploaded., Now I know!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Very useful, Dan. I noticed in the last few days that when you schedule the date, the whole thing no longer goes away and you can just schedule the time right away as well. So glad for that! I’m still missing those little grey circles showing the dates that have posts scheduled, but they don’t seem to care. :-( I want to figure out how to use the slider feature, but I never think of it. I agree with Janis and others that having “Immediately” instead of “Schedule” is more than a little weird. I sat for ages at first wondering how to schedule and not post it now because taking the chance and clicking on it. I’m going to go back and read more about putting in the photos if you don’t put them one at a time as I do now.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you find this helpful, Janet. The slider is the Image Compare block. It’s pretty easy to use.

      There are a lot of good things in the new editor, but I wish they had put more effort into the overall feel as well as the transition. My big complaint is the galleries which, IMO are a mess. What’s the point of having captions if you don’t show them?

      I’m not going to go on too long with this, but I will look at the photo options. It’s better than math on a Monday 😏

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Thank you, Dan. I find the block editor frustrating, to say the least. I thought the reusable block was a great idea until I realised that If I changed something in a reusable block it changed in all the other posts in which I’d used it. Even if I now retype it every time, WP still thinks it’s a reusable block. I’d love to know if the block editor has made anyone’s blogging life better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting question. I’d guess the answer is negative. I think some people have had less trouble adjusting to it but I don’t think it’s made life easier. I’ve been able to use new features, which I like but I’ve struggled to work around obstacles to the way I want my blog to appear.

      Reusable blocks are handy, but the implementation is a little dangerous. I’ve stopped using some because they are too easy to change by accident. I would like an option to treat them like “template” text – mostly written but easy to change for this instance. I don’t think they know how people use this platform.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Hi Dan – thank you … I’m glad I don’t have to get my head round ‘this’ … but I love the photos – sorry about your neighbour … but Maddie looks pretty happy in the warmth of the sun – while the peanuts will always satisfy your different brands of squirrel!! Cheers – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve seen ads pop on another’s blogger blog – maybe they can’t see them … I just like plain and simple and no fizzy bits and bobs – and WP seems to have got complicated … I’m just glad I held back. Well your thoughts here … I’ll keep an eye out … it’s plain difficult (impossible) to migrate … like you I’ve 12 years worth … so I’ll just hang on in my world!! Cheers Hilary

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Thanks for great details and excerpts from your posts to explain what we need to know. For the most part, I think I’m doing all right. But I still need help and instruction. I appreciate your details.
    I’m still fuzzy on the Jetpack — what it is and what it does and what it probably could do if I knew what to ask!

    Thanks again for good instruction!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was my pleasure. I think the new editor can be managed, but there are some aspects whose options and operations are hard to understand.

      Jetpack provides some additional utility (search and backups) but its features are different for hosted sites and self-hosted sites (where Jetpack is available as a plugin (if I recall correctly).

      Liked by 1 person

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