WordPress 5.6: Core Editor Overview

With WordPress 5.6 around the corner, this post is your “one-stop shop” for all of the new coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. editor related features and changes coming to your sites. While this release won’t bring changes to the widgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. or navigation interfaces, plenty of exciting features and improvements are coming to the blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. editing experience!

To make it easy to skim through to your favorite parts, we have grouped features into a few relevant sections.

Content creation

Creating the perfect content gets easier as editor tools continue to improve.

Setting a sharp gradient background.
Colors in the list block, and setting a sharp gradient.
  • Create richer backgrounds with the new cover block video position controls. #22531
  • Background images in the cover block can now be repeated to form patterns. #26001
  • Add some color to your lists. #21387
  • Create a sharp gradient #24967
  • Define your content image sizes with the new media and text blocks. #24795
  • Columns block has a new one-column option, opening up more potential for layouts. #24055
  • Select several blocks and transform them into a Columns block with one click! #16504
  • Video subtitles functionality was added, enabling creators to upload subtitles and allowing more people to access video content. #7673
  • Get ahead of time zone snafus when scheduling a post with the timezone hints. #23400
Timezone in post publish settings.

Adapting the experience

One size doesn’t fit all! Check out these new options, continuing improvements, and adaptations to the content creating experience.

  • Display buttons as text-only instead of icon-only: this gives options for how you experience the toolbar; an important improvement for accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility). #10524
  • Find a reorganized and user-friendly Options modal, now named “Preferences.”   #25837, #26198
  • Get full search results with post author and parent page selectors autocomplete component. (Post author selector: #23237 and parent page selector: #25267)
  • Need a focused writing experience? Check out these writing enhancements: #22494
  • The drag handle is back in the block toolbar! Along with a bunch of enhancements for a smoother drag and drop experience. #24852
  • Search blocks and patterns easily across all inserters. #25105
  • Display site icon (if one is set) in full-screen mode: bringing your site branding to the editing experience. #22952
  • Need to reach that word minimum? Character count now shows in the info panel. #24832
New settings in the preferences modal.

Under the hood

  • Block supports is a new APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways. that allows block authors to add customization options (such as font size, text color, or gradient) by simply declaring support for them in the block attributes. Find out all the details in this post.
  • Column and Group blocks now allow template lock to be set as an attribute. This allows template authors to define whether or not to lock their columns and groups. #26128
  • Block API version 2 advances the cause of bringing the editor DOM tree closer to the saved content, by allowing blocks to render their own wrapper element. Block authors can find more info on how to use it in this post.


This release introduced the default theme Twenty Twenty One. This led to a few iterations in the editor, improving theming for everyone and even allowing block patterns to be styled more easily.

  • Separator block now has more alignment options opening up more ability to go with the content you are creating. #25080
  • Add wide and full width support to headings: allowing headers to adapt with your content. #25655 
  • Dark mode now extends to your placeholders  #26483
  • Columns now support fixed widths for more layout options. #24711


Over 100 bugs were fixed, across multiple areas of the editing experience.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this release!

This post was written and edited in collaboration with @karmatosed, @annezazu, @kellychoffman, @matveb, @cbringmann and @andreamiddleton.

#5-6, #core-editor