Core Editor Improvement: Power in the Details

These “CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. Editor Improvement…” posts (labeled with the #core-editor-improvement tagtag A directory in Subversion. WordPress uses tags to store a single snapshot of a version (3.6, 3.6.1, etc.), the common convention of tags in version control systems. (Not to be confused with post tags.)) are a series dedicated to highlighting various new features, improvements, and more from Core Editor related projects. 

Numerous small gains are slated for WordPress 6.5 that you might have missed in the excitement around more prominent features, like the Font Library. While they garner less attention, the following improvements contribute to more flexibility and efficiency, making a big difference in your everyday WordPress experience. Take a moment to learn more about them—and explore how the power of details in 6.5 can transform your current workflows.

New List View shortcuts

6.5 will introduce new List View shortcuts for improved efficiency, saving you time when performing common actions with this tool:

  • Simplified access to a block’s setting menu: This update lets you open a 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.’s settings menu by right-clicking on a List View item, enabling swift changes as needed.
  • Quick block selection shortcut: Use CMD+A on Mac or CTRL+A on Windows to select all blocks within List View, facilitating faster batch actions.
  • Copy, paste, and cut blocks using the keyboard shortcuts you’re used to when selecting blocks in List View (CMD+C and CMD+X to copy and cut blocks, and CMD+V to paste blocks).
List View opened to a Group block that's been right clicked to reveal the block settings.

View your template when editing pages or posts

A lot of code-wise work has been done to unify the Site Editor and Post Editor experiences for block themes. Thanks to these efforts, you can now view your template when editing a page in the Post/Page Editor and enjoy the same experience regardless of where you’re working. This ability allows for convenient on/off toggling of the template preview, offering you even more flexibility. Similar to the Site Editor experience, selecting any part of the template triggers a snackbar notification and a quick pathway to edit the template directly.

Duplicate patterns to quickly change the sync status or make theme pattern your own

Patterns provided by a theme are currently locked. As a result, reusing them as a basis for creating your own patterns previously required several steps. WordPress 6.5 adds a new quick option to streamline this process and let you duplicate a theme pattern without the hassle. This also eases the experience of changing the sync setting.

Review a summary of styling changes and quickly view your site while saving

With so many styling options available, it’s important to know what’s changing when you hit save. Now you can, thanks to a short summary that matches the summary you’d see you’re browsing revisions, giving you the information you need when changing up the look and feel of your site. After saving, you can then select “View Site” in the updated snackbar notice to check out the front end of your site and marvel at how good it looks (or line up some additional changes).

Rename blocks for better organization

Building on the ability to rename Group blocks in List View introduced in WordPress 6.4, the next release will allow renaming nearly every block for better organization and personalization. This update makes it easy for users to see at a glance and understand how the content has been structured. On the other hand, it helps theme authors provide a more intuitive experience for those using and interacting with their themes and patterns.

List view showing Group blocks with different names, opened to a block named "Main Content" with the option to rename.

It’s worth noting that the following blocks cannot be renamed intentionally:

  • core/block
  • core/template-part
  • core/pattern
  • core/navigation

Enjoy drag-and-drop improvements 

Drag and drop is an essential aspect of building with blocks, providing an easy, simple way to add, combine, and rearrange content as desired. This release will introduce a diverse range of enhancements aimed at making both drag-and-drop functionality and actions more intuitive:

  • Allow dragging and dropping to the beginning or end of your content
  • Add a drag cursor when hovering over items that can be dragged in List View 
  • Improve dragging and dropping between adjacent container blocks, such as Group and Cover blocks
  • Enable dragging blocks into template parts for easier placement of elements, like a site logo next to a site title
  • Show a visual indication when a block isn’t allowed to be dropped, helping guide and communicate where one can and can’t drag and drop
  • Allow dragging and dropping to create rows and galleries; for example, placing an image next to another will automatically create a gallery
  • In List View, collapsed blocks expand when a block is dropped into them, ensuring visibility of the dropped block
  • In List View, items are displaced to help provide a more visual and tangible experience of dragging and dropping blocks
  • In List View, a drag cursor is shown for any draggable block

Taken together, anyone using the next version of WordPress will find dragging and dropping blocks more versatile and powerful to use.

Customize your experience with a new Preferences panel

WordPress 6.5 will bring a reorganized preference modal to personalize the editor interface to your liking, including new dedicated panels for Appearance and 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). ( settings. You will also notice improved clarity and consistency in text descriptions and a few more new settings.

Preferences panel open to Appearance tab showing four different options to choose from.

Create consistent designs with Cover block aspect ratios

In addition to minHeight support, the Cover block now offers aspect ratio support. This means you can easily set predefined aspect ratios to customize your visuals further and help maintain design consistency with less effort. For added convenience, you can control this feature globally for all Cover blocks or adjust it individually for each block.

Use the block toolbar in Distraction Free mode for quick changes

WordPress 6.5 makes it easier to make quick customizations while staying focused in Distraction Free mode. Simply moving your mouse to the top of the editor will smoothly reveal the block toolbar. Previously, accessing the block toolbar wasn’t an option in Distraction Free mode, requiring users to toggle it on and off for even minor adjustments.

Thank you to @rmartinezduque for collaborating on this post and all of the designers who helped make some of these visual assets!

#core-editor, #core-editor-improvement, #gutenberg, #site-editor