Don’t like WordPress Gutenberg? Add TinyMCE Advanced

What are the alternatives to the Gutenberg post editor in WordPress?

The new Gutenberg editor in WordPress 5 has split users with some loving it and some hating it. Add the TinyMCE Advanced plugin and get the best of both the old and new post editors.

The new post editor is the most controversial of the updates introduced into version 5 of the website creator and blogging platform. It is not just different, it is completely new and at first sight it can be confusing and hard to use for some people.

Instead of creating new posts quickly and easily, some users struggle to find the features they need and it takes them much longer to create posts. Sometimes they abandon posts altogether.

What is the solution? There are several options available.

1 Install the Classic Editor

This is a free plugin that changes the post screen in WordPress 5 to the way it looked before. The whole Gutenberg editor is hidden and the resulting edit screen and editing features are familiar and easy to use.

The advantage of Classic Editor is that you can continue to create and edit posts just as you always have and because everything is familiar, it is quicker and easier than struggling with the new editor and edit screen.

The disadvantage is that Classic Editor might not be around forever. Eventually, maybe a year or two from now, it might be gone and the only way to use WordPress will be with Gutenberg.

2 Learn to use Gutenberg editor

You might be, probably will be, forced to use Gutenberg for creating posts in WordPress sooner or later, so you may as well get used to it. You can put it off for now by installing the Classic Editor plugin, but you will have to learn it eventually, so why not start now?

The more you use Gutenberg, the easier it gets. Many common features are easy to use, but some less common ones are hard to find. How do you make text subscript or superscript for example? You can create columns, but not a table, and the two are different. How do you select the font to use?

If you want to use more than simple plain text and images, using Gutenberg can be a challenge.

3 Use Classic blocks

Gutenberg uses blocks and simple examples are , headings, subheadings, paragraphs of text and images. Click on a blank line and start typing to create a simple paragraph block.

When a block is being typed or edited, a small toolbar appears above it with several buttons to allow simple formatting, like bold, italic, underline, left or centre aligned and so on. The features are basic and fonts, text size, super/subscript, and so on are not obvious.

Gutenberg block toolbar in the WordPress post editor

However, if instead of a standard paragraph block, you insert a Classic block, the old-style post editor toolbar is displayed.

WordPress block menu with Classic block
Insert a classic block in WordPress Gutenberg editor

This is the classic block, which enables you to create posts pretty much as you always did, except as a block. If you cannot find the features you need in the new Gutenberg editor, the classic block is the answer.

The Classic block editor in WordPress Gutenberg editor
A classic block in WordPress Gutenberg editor

Click the button at the right side of the toolbar to show the second row of buttons, just as you did before Gutenberg.

You can create a whole post in a single classic block. In fact, if you load old posts created in WordPress 4.x they load as a single classic block.

A classic block lets you use Gutenberg style blocks, but still have access to all the familiar features you are used to in the previous post editor. Unlike the Classic Editor plugin, the rest of the post editor page is not changed, so you get a mixture of old and new features.

4 Use TinyMCE Advanced

TinyMCE Advanced is a free plugin that replaces the classic block toolbar with a new one that is customisable. You can add the features you need and make creating and editing posts simpler and easier.

Go to Plugins in the WordPress sidebar and click the Add New button. Enter TinyMCE into the search box and install the plugin. Activate it afterwards.

TinyMCE Advanced plugin for WordPress
WordPress Gutenberg alternatives

When creating a new post, click the plus button in the top left corner of the page and insert a Classic block as before. The TinyMCE Advanced toolbar appears and it has a menu bar too. The Insert and Format menus are the most useful and they enable you to insert links, media, tables, lines, non-breaking spaces, date/time and more. The Format menu has the usual text formatting features, plus super and subscript and so on.

A TinyMCE block in the Gutenberg WordPress post editor
TinyMCE Advanced adds a new toolbar and menu to Classic blocks

A single paragraph or even a whole article can be written using this editor.

At first sight, the TinyMCE Advanced editor looks a lot like the standard classic block editor, but there are some significant differences. For example, the toolbar is customisable.

Go to Settings in the WordPress sidebar and click TinyMCE Advanced. There are two editors, the Classic Editor, which is used in some places in WordPress, and the Classic Blocks editor used in Gutenberg.

TinyMCE settings in the WordPress plugin
TinyMCE Advanced configuration settings

Go to the second editor, the Classic Blocks editor, and click and and drag buttons to the toolbar. Click and drag buttons left or right in the toolbar to rearrange them. This enables you to create a custom toolbar that contains the features you need.

Customise the toolbar and then save the changes. Create a new post and click the blocks + button and insert a Classic block. Click in the block and start typing to see the new custom toolbar.

Gutenberg options

You don’t have to use Gutenberg completely and you can either use the Classic Editor plugin or insert a Classic block to get back the editing toolbar and features you are used to.

If you want to go a step further and boost the Classic block editor with new features and customisation, install the TinyMCE Advanced plugin.


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