Post Formats

Description Description

In this lesson you will learn what post formats are and how you can use them? This step-by-step walkthrough will give you an understanding of what is involved with post formats and how they are useful on your site.


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Create a post format using a default WordPress theme.


Prerequisite Skills


Top ↑

Assets Assets


Top ↑

Screening Questions Screening Questions

  • Are you familiar with installing and activating themes via the WordPress dashboard?
  • Will you have a locally or remotely hosted sandbox WordPress site to use during class?


Top ↑

Teacher Notes Teacher Notes

  • Performing a live demo while teaching the steps to make a child theme is crucial to having the material “click” for students.
  • It is easiest for students to work on a locally installed copy of WordPress. Set some time aside before class to assist students with installing WordPress locally if they need it. For more information on how to install WordPress locally, please visit Installing on a Local Server.
  • The preferred answers to the screening questions is “yes.” Participants who reply “no” to all questions may not be ready for this lesson.


Top ↑

Hands-on Walkthrough Hands-on Walkthrough

Introduction: What are Post Formats? Introduction: What are Post Formats?

Post formats have existed in WordPress since 3.1. However, few themes natively support it, and fewer users implement it.

A post format is a piece of meta information that can be used by a theme to customize its presentation of a post. The post formats feature provides a standardized list of formats that are available to all themes that support the feature. Themes are not required to support every format on the list, but new formats cannot be introduced by themes or even plugins. The standardization of this list provides both compatibility between numerous themes and an avenue for external blogging tools to access this feature in a consistent fashion.

In short, with a theme that supports post formats, a blogger can change how each post looks by choosing a post format from a radio-button list.

Types of post formats include:

Aside – Typically styled without a title. Similar to a Facebook note update.

Aside Post Format

Gallery – A gallery of images. The post will likely contain a gallery shortcode and will have image attachments.

Post Format Gallery

Link – A link to another site. Themes may use the first <a href=””> tag in the post content as the external link for that post. An alternative approach is if the post consists only of a URL, then that will be the URL and the title (post_title) will be the name attached to the anchor for it.

Link Post Formats

Image – A single image, with or without a caption. The first <img /> tag in the post will be considered the image. Alternatively, if the post consists only of a URL to an image’s location, that URL will specify the image source and the title of the post (post_title) will be the title attribute for the image.

Image Post Formats

Quote – A quotation. These posts probably will contain a blockquote holding the quote content. Alternatively, the quote may be just the content, with the source/author as the title.

Quote Post Formats

Status – A short status update, similar to a Twitter status update.

Post Format Status


Video – A single video or video playlist. The first <video /> tag or object/embed in the post content will be considered the video. Alternatively, if the post consists only of a URL, that will be the video URL. This post format may also contain the video as an attachment to the post, if video support is enabled on the website (via a plugin, for example).

Video Post Formats

Audio – An audio file or audio playlist. This post format could be used for podcasting.

Audio Post Formats

Chat – A chat transcript, like so:

Chat Post Formats

Top ↑

Why Use Post Formats? Why Use Post Formats?

Using post formats, your blog visitors will know exactly what type of content they are viewing.  Different styles for each post format will make your blog more visually interesting.

Previously, developers tried to accomplish these unique styles for content by modifying categories or by using custom post types.  These custom types were intended to be something other than blog content.

Using post formats will keep your content all within the blog portion of your site, and once configured, will require only that you check which format you are using. Post formats will show up in your RSS feed and will be editable within the “posts” part of your site.

Top ↑

How Post Formats Work How Post Formats Work

When you edit an individual post, you’ll see a set of “format” options:

post formats checkbox


Tip: If you do not see the format options, check that you have it enabled in your screen options. If you don’t see the format option there, then you are likely using a theme that does not use post formats.

Once you’ve assigned posts to a particular post format, you will see icons in the dashboard indicating which format each post is.  Go to Posts > All Posts:

Post Formats in Dashboard


Tip: Not all default WordPress themes support all post formats.  Twenty Thirteen and Twenty Fifteen include all options.

When viewing your blog, the content will have a unique look for each format.

Post Formats


Top ↑

Top ↑

Group Exercises Group Exercises

  • Using the Twenty Thirteen theme, create a post using each post format option.

Tip: The instructor may need to show how to embed a video with Youtube, or audio from SoundCloud.


Top ↑

Quiz Quiz

What are Post Formats?

  1. A new option beyond posts or pages
  2. A way to style your blog posts based upon the type of content
  3. Another name for custom post types

Answer: 2. A way to style your blog posts based upon the type of content

Which of these are Post Format options?

  1. Aside
  2. Audio
  3. Chat
  4. Gallery
  5. Image
  6. Link
  7. Quote
  8. Status
  9. Video
  10. All of the above

Answer: 10. All of the above

True or False: Post formats are the same as custom post types.

  1. True
  2. False

Answer: 2. False – Custom post types appear as another option on the admin dashboard near posts and pages and are used for content that appear on a site in different sections than on a blog.

What must you do when writing a post that should use a post format?

  1. Select which post format to use
  2. Select the appropriate category
  3. Select the appropriate tag

Answer: 1. Select which post format to use

Do all themes support post formats?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Answer: 2. No

Which default WordPress themes support all post formats options?

  1. Twenty Eleven
  2. Twenty Twelve
  3. Twenty Thirteen
  4. Twenty Fourteen
  5. Twenty Fifteen

Answer: 3. Twenty Thirteen and 5. Twenty Fifteen


Top ↑

Additional Resources Additional Resources

Post Formats @ Codex