Breaking Down the WordPress Text Editor


Now that you’re ready to start adding pages and posts to your WordPress site, let’s go over the basics of formatting text.

WordPress keeps their editing fairly straightforward. You’ve likely used Microsoft Word, or, at the very least, sent an email. It’s definitely not intimidating, but let’s go over some of the tools that can be a game-changer when it comes to the design elements of your text.

We will be taking you through each tool on the toolbar going left to right.

Highlighted top tool bar

Bold, Italics, Strikethrough

These are the first three items on your toolbar. You are likely familiar with these. If not, play around. You’ll have a ball.

Bulleted List, Numbered List

These are ways to:

  • highlight data
  • break up blocks of information
  • make lists

But be sure that you know when to use an unordered list (bullets) and an ordered list (numbers), namely when chronological order is relevant to the data. To know which is right for you, ask yourself:

  1. Do I need to make a sequence of events evident?
  2. Will I be cross referencing this data within the document?

If 1 or 2 is true, then a numbered list is for sure the way to go!

Block Quotes

Now we’re talking. This adds some pizzazz to any run of the mill text.

“Use this feature to draw attention to specific quotes in your text. Isn’t it pretty?”

Horizontal Line

This is a nice clean way to break up monotony if there is a lot of text. It can be used to separate sections. Like when you go from talking about one thing

to the next.


Western civilization really pushes the left alignment.

But you’re creative.

And don’t need no rules.


Ah links. The language of love on the Internet. Here’s how you link to other pages and posts of your website (Google loves that!) or to your friends and family out there on the web. Link away, but if you’re linking to another person’s site, we recommend that you check that box “Open link in a new window/tab.” That way you don’t lose your reader in the process.

Insert Read More Tag

You’re at a dinner party. The conversation turns to molecular biology. It turns out you know everything about molecular biology, and so does Bill, the guy sitting next to you. This is the part where you and Bill keep getting jazzed about molecules and everyone else at the table moves on.

That is… if you were a blog. The Read More tag is used to divide your post. Most themes will only show the first section on archive pages (those with many posts on them), with a Read More or Continue Reading button. This is especially useful for really long posts (like this one).

Toolbar Toggle, AKA Kitchen Sink

Click this baby, and you got a whole new menu which includes….

Paragraph Styles

This styling comes automatically with themes. Depending on the theme your site is using, these presets are determined by the theme designer. If we designed your website for you, we have chosen the fonts, colors and sizes to looks their best with your brand and site. Because H1 is typically reserved for page titles, we discourage you from using it when styling text on your pages. The rest are up for grabs, so feel free to check out the differences! Here are examples of how we styled them for…

H2 – Header 2

H3 – Header 3

H4 – Header 4

H5 – Header 5
H6 – Header 6



This is an underline. Since there is nothing to say about underlines, let me take this sweet opportunity to make a fun list of when italics vs. underline vs. quotation marks.

  • Books: Italics or Underline
  • Albums: Italics or Underline
  • Articles (Newspaper or Magazine): “Quotation Marks”
  • Chapter Titles (not chapter numbers): “Quotation Marks”
  • Magazines, Newspapers, Journals: Italics or Underline
  • Names of Ships, Trains, Airplanes, Spacecraft: Italics
  • Poems: “Quotation Marks”
  • Poems (Long): Italics or Underline
  • Plays: Italics
  • Short Stories: “Quotation Marks”
  • Song Titles: “Quotation Marks”
  • Special Phrases (“let them eat cake”), Words, or Sentences: “Quotation Marks”
  • Television Shows and Movies: Italics
  • Television and Radio Episode Titles: “Quotation Marks”


Justify is a little strange for the purposes of a post, and you may never actually use it. It aligns the text between each margin, thus varying the spacing between words. Like so

Text Color

Have all the fun you want with this tool. Just be sure to be kind to the eyes of your readers. 

We actually do not recommend that you change the colors of your text. The colors should be set by your theme and, if, down the line, you want to change the color scheme, it will be a pain in the butt to go back and fix all the text colors.

If you’re working with a web designer (like us!) and find that you want to use colors to emphasize or otherwise highlight text — let them know. They’ll give you a method that you can use to make parts of your content stand out in a way that will work in the long term.

Paste as Text

This useful tool needs a little explaining. If you copy and paste text from another source, a lot of the time the formatting will carry over. This will make your text look inconsistent, and should be avoided. By selecting this tool, you turn on “plain text mode” which will disable any formatting from being carried over.

Clear Formatting

This is along the same lines as the Paste as Text tool. Only this allows you to clear formatting on selected text. This is useful if you would like to keep some of the formatting on pasted text.

Special Character

We ♥ extra characters. They make us ƒèël ƒánçy.

Increase & Decrease Indent

This allows you to move text around within a post.

This way you can break up the formatting and draw attention to specific passages.


WordPress is awesome and gives you an undo button. Let this inspire you to get experimental and take chances, because you can always revert!

Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are enabled on a per-user setting, and can be turned on by visiting the Profile panel in Administration > Users > Your Profile. Check the Keyboard Shortcuts checkbox to enable keyboard shortcuts for comment moderation.

Please note, the keyboard shortcuts are designed to use both hands, simultaneously, on a QWERTY style keyboard layout.

Where does this text bar come in handy? Check out our tutorials on:

Got any questions? Let us know in the comments. We love to chat!

About the Author:

Leader of the Artsy Geek team and creator of Camp Artsy Geek, Jen comes from a long line of get-rich-quick-schemers. A serial entrepreneur, she launched her first business at the age of 12: a crocheted goods pop-up. A lover of good design and effective marketing, Jen believes that life -- and business -- should be fun and enjoyable. Life is short! Follow your dreams and train your brain to support your success. We're in this together. Rock on!

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