IMPORTANT UPDATE: In mid-March 2021, WordPress.com rolled out unified navigation to combine both the newer “Calypso” dashboard and WP Admin. As a result, in order to continue accessing (for now) the Classic Editor in WP Admin, you must first enable “Show wp-admin pages if available” in your Account Settings.
For those of us who joined WordPress.com after November 2015, when the “MySite” editor was introduced and who would prefer to write in the “original Classic” editor now that the MySite editor is the Block editor by default, let me give you a quick tour of our earlier WP Admin dashboard. It is still there in the deep back end of every WordPress.com website and in daily use on sites running the WordPress open source software. Grab your day pack and let’s go!
On our tour we’ll cover:
- How do I get there?
- What will I see when I get there?
- What can I do when I get there?
- Are there areas I should avoid?
- What do the locals recommend?
How do I get there?
Head over to (live link, opens in new tab>) your site’s MySite dashboard and scroll down to the bottom until you see the link to WP Admin. (In case that link should go missing, you can add /wp-admin/ at the end of your WordPress.com website URL.)
Clicking that link will open your site’s WP Admin dashboard in a new tab. Here’s what the WP Admin dashboard looks like on my test site; your dashboard might be arranged a little differently than mine:
Each of the modules pictured above is described in more detail in this support guide. However, for the most part, the features you see here have moved to your MySite dashboard.
What we’re interested in is the left side of that screen, specifically the links to Posts and Pages that will allow us to write in the WP Classic editor.
What will I see when I get there?
What you see in the WP Admin Posts or Pages dashboards on your own WordPress.com site after clicking those links depends on which editor you had enabled at MySite before your site was switched to the Block editor. Either you’ll see an option to edit or create a new post with either the Block editor or the Classic editor, or only “Add New” and “Edit/Quick Edit.” Clicking any of these will open the editor. (Please note: If you created your account and site on WordPress.com after December 2019,
your WordPress.com site may not have access to the Classic editor even at WP Admin as of 5 October 2020 you will also see this option.)
Pro Tip: The Posts and Pages dashboards in WP Admin are very useful for Bulk Editing and Quick Editing. These are features that you will find only on the WP Admin Edit Pages Screen and Edit Posts Screen.
What can I do when I get there?
Once you’ve opened the Classic editor, you’ll see an editing interface looking much like the one below:
The right sidebar should already be familiar to you. The various modules can be moved around to suit your needs or hidden by clicking the Screen Options tab at the very top right of your browser window and unchecking the modules you want to remove from view.
If you previously used the MySite Classic editor, the WP Admin Classic editor toolbar icons and buttons should be familiar to you. If not, this support guide to the Visual editor will help. If you previously composed your posts or pages in HTML in the MySite Classic editor’s HTML tab, the Text tab is where you can do that now.
Now that we’re here, let’s take a breather and enjoy the view!
Are there areas I should avoid?
Clicking certain links on your site will open the MySite Block editor by default. If you prefer to write or edit in WP Admin’s Classic editor, you need to avoid clicking:
- The Edit link that appears to you when you’re logged in and viewing the public side of your posts and pages.
- The Edit button in your site’s Action Bar, again on the public-facing side of your site.
- The Write button in the WordPress.com Admin bar.
- The “Write blog post” and “Add a page” links in the Quick Links section of your MySite dashboard’s homepage.
- The Add New Post or Post or Page titles in the MySite Posts and Pages dashboards.
- Even the Add New link in the sidebar on WP Admin’s Posts and Pages dashboard, unless the Classic editor is the default there. You’ll want to use the drop down menu shown above to select Classic editor instead.
After the MySite editor was introduced in 2015, there was an uproar among WordPress.com users wanting to get back and write in the original WP Admin dashboard editor. At the time, a fellow WordPress.com user collected the various workarounds for detouring back to WP Admin when creating a new post. You can read more about those workarounds in his post. Please use that info at your own abilities and discretion.
As always, the information in this post is correct as of today’s date. Changes are inevitable.
What do the locals recommend?
Back in the middle of August this year, the WordPress.com blog published a follow-up post concerning the switch to the Block editor where there was no mention at all of editing in the WP Admin Classic editor interface, unlike in the first announcement last May.
On my own site, I mentioned in a comment reply to my “The Classic Editing Experience” that Staff’s attitude in assisting users to return to the WP Admin Classic editor was changing. That change is now even more pronounced in recent Staff replies in the community forums, as well as on the Support site itself with the removal of mentions of the WP Admin Classic editor as an option from the support documents. So, the push is on to have everyone writing in the MySite Block editor, whether be it in the Block editor’s full range of blocks or the Classic Block alone. (Stay tuned for my next post!)
As painful as this might be for WordPress.com’s long-time users, this makes sense from WordPress.com’s perspective because we’ve been advised that the Classic editor plugin (which is what we’re actually using in WP Admin right now) will be supported officially only through the end of 2021. That’s a little more than a year from now. Whether something will change between now and then, or an alternate method of posting will be developed and integrated, we just don’t know. Perhaps the writing is (in a block) on the wall.
I hope you enjoyed the tour. Like any good tour guide, I would be remiss in not sharing a slideshow of our journey.
Featured Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com