Working in the Classic Editor c. 2022

This post is coming to you via the WordPress Classic Editor in the WP Admin dashboard. In case you’re wondering whether it is still there and functional, it is.

You might remember that when the Block Editor was introduced to the world in WordPress 5.0 in 2018, we WordPress.com users kept hearing that the Classic Editor would soon be going away. Then, as late as last year, an announcement came of a reprieve to the WordPress Classic Editor end of life. Well, here we are closing in on the “through 2022” mentioned in that post and the official plugin used here to bring us the Classic Editor in the WP Admin dashboard was last updated a year ago and tested to be compatible through WordPress version 5.9 (updated yet again. See below*).  The current WordPress version is 6.0.2, as of this post’s date, and WordPress.com is continuously updated to the latest version (and beyond).

So, it looks like (again) the writing may be on the wall, although I hope for the many people still using the Classic Editor in WP Admin, there will be a further extension. Otherwise, it’s certainly time to get on board with the Classic block or transitioning to the full Block Editor. If you need help with that, check out my posts:

Keep in mind that the Block Editor of today is vastly improved since its introduction in 2018! And also keep in mind this is not full-site editing (unless you want to go there).

*Edited to add: According to a thread on the Classic Editor plugin’s support page, the plugin’s current version is now 1.7 and is compatible up to WP version 5.9. It’s available for download on github but, for whatever reason, is not mentioned on the plugin download page. Now the question is, what version is installed for us here on WordPress.com and that I don’t know. I’m going to say 1.7 just because that’s how we roll here.

And also adding manually, because there’s no access to Reusable Blocks here: As always, the information in this post is correct as of publication date. Changes are inevitable.

Let us know in the comments in which Editor you’re writing your new posts in 2022. I would have added a poll, but apparently that’s no longer an option in the full Classic Editor.

Published by JenT

WordPress.com forum volunteer and former moderator (2016-2021) assisting WordPress.com site owners since 2006, one answer at a time. Find me at wpcommaven.com.

17 thoughts on “Working in the Classic Editor c. 2022

  1. I’m strictly a block editor user now because I had issues with the Classic Editor and FireFox. It might be fixed, but for a while it was frustrating.

    I occasionally use the Classic Block, usually when posting fiction (otherwise, I end up with a gazillion blocks). It’s much easier dealing with the Classic Block, although it too occasionally gives me issues.

    I agree the blocks are better than they used to be, but far from perfect. There’s stuff I would like (for instance, the ability to set defaults for how blocks behave), but I work around most of the problems.

    Still, not as fast or as easy as the Classic Editor to either compose or edit. Additionally, I noticed when I go back to edit posts, sometimes things get modified from how I set them up.

    So, overall, I’ve adapted . . . but not especially fine with how things are. I manage by having templates for various posts, minimizing the creation of individual blocks (it’s easier editing existing blocks). However, lately, I’m running into issues with editing existing blocks, so I know developers are on to me and doing their best to mess with my process.

    We’ll see what the future brings.

    1. Thinking back to your earlier posts on your site and your comments here on mine when the Block Editor was first released, you absolutely put a smile on my face with this reply, even if blocks are far from perfect.

      However, I do have to agree with you that existing posts tend to shift around with new WP releases (here on WPcom we’re on continuous rollout), but that was always the case even back in the day. During my “hiatus” I went back and converted my 100+ existing posts from the Classic to Blocks for the sake of future-proofing them. All those older posts were in a Classic Block because I opened them in the Block Editor and not the Classic Editor. Now I wonder if that was strictly necessary. I know that’s not practical for your 3000+ posts.

      Frankly, I’m steeling myself against the day when the Classic Editor is finally retired, or broken, which is the same thing, really.

  2. I’m hanging on to the classic editor and am quite afraid of the day it’ll go away.
    I’ve tried the block editor on my test blog but we don’t seem to be able to become friends.
    One issue for me is a picture gallery; I do a monthly pic roundup using the classic editor’s square tiles view. The block editor unfortunately screwed it all up and didn’t show it as it should, so I’m quite thankful the classic editor hasn’t gone away (yet).

    1. Hi Kiki-I need to figure out why your comments keep getting caught for moderation. You’ve commented here often enough!

      I understand you. Ease of use is a big consideration for many folks and it’s hard to change when you have an established way of working. When my Canon S100 died on me (in the Duomo in Florence, no less) after taking over 14K photos with it, I ended up buying a Fujifilm X-T20 and I still struggle with it. It is not as intuitive as the S100 and I’d like to say it’s becoming easier, but, 4 years in, not yet. At the same time, that’s on me, not on the camera.

      If you find you are encountering issues with the Block Editor, pester the support folks. They might not be able (or willing) to help with the Classic Editor, but the Block Editor, and/or the Classic Block in the Block Editor, they should. Point them to the posts where those monthly roundups appear. If you can master a DSLR, you got this!

  3. When the Block editor was introduced, I wouldn’t say I liked it. Then somebody asked me if I’d watched and read the WordPress tutorials on how to use it, and it was not long before I fell in love with the Block editor.

    Now I’d never go back to the Classic editor and have far more pleasure reading posts created via the Block editor. Sure, it has its faults, but doesn’t everything?

    What shocked me most were the bloggers who refused point-blank to try using the Block editor and who got up and left WordPress; some gave blogging up. And even though I pointed out that they could still use the Classic editor via the Classic Block, they weren’t having anything to do with it. To sacrifice your love of blogging over using a specific editor seems such a harsh thing to do.

    So, is this really the end of the Classic editor via WP-Admin? If so, I know of a few more bloggers who will leave.

    1. Lots of WP users are nodding in agreement with your first sentence, Hugh. I certainly did. 🙂

      IMO the biggest challenge to working in the Block Editor is overcoming one’s mindset and people generally are averse to change. The Block Editor was certainly tectonic, and, like you, I wouldn’t go back, but understand that some folks just couldn’t cope with it (again, mindset).

      As far as this being the end of the Classic Editor in WP Admin? I don’t have any special insight, but looking at the current state of that plugin’s maintenance, it’s headed in that direction. I’m keeping an eye on that page for changes (and now updated to reflect tested to version 5.8.5 and then updated again to reflect version 5.9).

      1. We discussed this a few times, and in defense of some bloggers (maybe even my defense), it’s not always — or just — a mindset.

        Some of it goes to the content, and some of it goes to the purpose of blogging.

        Many (most) bloggers publish relatively short posts (one or two photos and a few words), and for that, the Block Editor may be fine (although I still say it’s not any better, just different). But, even then, if someone is a casual blogger and faced with investing time in learning the tool and experiencing frustration as it’s being debugged, they might decide to pursue other interests or switch platforms.

        Some people say ‘life is too short for this exhaust material!’ and that’s a legitimate response.

        In my case, doing a narrative and adding anywhere from 30 to 100 photos, it’s a pain in the exhaust system, and I now rarely invest the effort because it takes too much time.

        I’m currently letting lots of photos ‘slide’, and I’m reluctant to start documenting the photos from cruises and other trips because I know it will be an exercise in frustration and an investment in more time than I’d like to spend on it.

        And then, when I still encounter issues with short posts, it kind of takes the fun out of it.

        So, quitting . . . would I really be sacrificing my love of blogging because of an editor choice . . . or is the editor taking away my fun of blogging?

        I mean, if it’s just throwing up posts, I could do a photo a day, dump a few words, point to a few links, and be done. Many people — especially people doing it for profit or to sell something — do exactly that … and it works; in today’s attention-deficit world, that goes over well.

        Heck, I could spend a few hours at the beginning of each month and schedule all the posts for that month . . . but the point isn’t to just slap something up there (I’m not selling anything or monetizing what I do); it’s for me to have fun doing it, and maybe entertain the 4-5 people who read the blog, the former being the primary objective.

        More and more, finding myself delaying a project and resorting to smaller posts about inconsequential stuff, I have to seriously ask myself, “What am I doing?”

        Then, I ask myself ‘why’ I’m doing that . . . oh, yeah . . . the Block Editor.

      2. Here’s the thing. Creating a post with dozens of images wasn’t easy in the old editor either (pre-Calypso or even in Calypso). This was/is especially true if those images are embedded from external sources, as I know you do. Either way that’s going to be a slog. But do you feel that the Block Editor is worse in that regard than previous editors? If so, why? (Not that I can do anything about it.)

        When the old editors were retired the community forums were flooded with users who wanted to know where “their” editor went, and, no, they had no intention of using that block thing because it was a hindrance to the way they wrote. To me that spoke of mindset. No matter how many times I suggested opening the Editor, adding a title, then putting the cursor in the Editor workspace and just start typing, hit “enter” when they want a new paragraph, it was pretty much pooh-poohed, with maybe one exception. And, yes, it can be that simple.

        For myself, look at any of the three Classic, Classic Block and Full Editor posts/tutorials I’ve linked to in this post and I can tell you I never could have written them as easily using the previous editors. Just the layout of those posts would have had me tossing in the towel early on. But was it “fun” or “enjoyable” while I was writing them? Maybe, maybe not, but I was really happy with the results.

        And a further update regarding the current version of the Classic Editor plugin which I’ll add to the post. According to a thread on the plugin’s support page, the current version is now 1.7 and is compatible up to WP version 5.9. It’s available for download on github. Now the question is, what version is installed for us here on WordPress.com and that I don’t know. I’m going to say 1.7 just because that’s how we roll here. Regardless, we are already at WP version 6.0.2 (which apparently broke the Editor for a while yesterday).

      3. The process of embedding images in the Classic Editor is no more involved than the Block Editor’s (I’d have to check, but it has approximately the same clicks). It’s more of an issue with the Classic Block . . . because it’s a block. True, as they kept screwing around with the editor, it sometimes glitched, but that’s also true of the Block Editor as well. And why do they keep screwing around with it? Because they adapt to different hardware platforms, and, apparently, they can’t do that without messing up the PC experience.

        But, embedding is a different and a side issue, one driven by WP’s antiquated storage rules (arbitrary rules).

        So let’s talk about the way I used to create posts like THIS (78 photos) and you can tell me if it’s a mindset or not.

        One thing to note about that post from 2014 when comparing it to my latest post . . . the format is the same. Very little fancy lettering (none), no drop caps, no special graphics. It’s text, photo, text photo, etc. Meaning, that whatever formatting advantage the Block Editor offers, is lost on me.

        *Side note: this is where I repeat that when I write about these things, I write for me and users like me who spend little time ‘fancying’ posts. Even now that I’m using the Block Editor, 99% of the time, the blocks I use are the Paragraph Block and the Image Block. Two blocks, that’s it. I used to use the Gallery block, but — because I’m embedding the images — I no longer do galleries. My gripes, such as they are, are based on how I use the platform and not about capabilities I don’t use.*

        The old editor had the option to drag and drop images at the cursor position. Not only that, once you set the preferences for one image, the editor would remember the options for subsequent images. Meaning, I could be typing, and when I felt it was a good place to insert an image, drop in the appropriate image (it would automatically be added to the Library). After that first image, the editor remembered the setting like Centered, linked to the media file, and full size.

        No extra clicks needed, and I could drag the image around without extra clicks (I can move block images around as well, but it won’t split an existing paragraph block).

        I’ve spoken of clicks before, and it’s a lost cause because programmers don’t think in terms of clicks. They think in terms of options. And no one considers a few extra clicks a problem because few people do posts with a narrative involving 70 images (they just drop in a gallery), but the extra clicks are an issue for me.

        For every image I insert, I have to choose the alignment, pick the origin, set the size, and link it to the media file. I can copy an image block, and it saves me a few clicks, but I have to double-check all the images to make sure I didn’t forget to link to the media (if I don’t, it opens to the original file). I’m fairly good about it, but when inserting 70 photos, there’s bound to be one or two where I forget or mis-hit. So, I now have an extra step where I preview the post and click on each image to make sure it opens to the correct image or opens at all (if I forgot to set the media link).

        And, it’s not just Images, but also Paragraphs. I have to set the font color for each paragraph. I can copy the previous one, but then it’s currently having issues with editing existing content. In contrast, once I set the font color in the Classic Editor, it remembered it. Changing the color of portions of text inside a paragraph block is a problem because it often glitches (plus, multiple clicks), but not so with the Classic Editor. I used to have ‘dialogues’ in posts where I asked and answered questions (Bob would ask the questions, and I would answer), and after I wrote everything out, I could set the different font color and quickly go through to change all the pertinent dialogue.

        I could, I’m told, change all my text via CSS (which I did when they had the background color issue), but that messes with other stuff since it overrides local settings (and it also caused issues with highlighting).

        So, again, this isn’t mindset for me (and apparently others). These are changes that result in extra clicks and more time spent doing stuff I used to do with less effort. I’ve tried finding solutions to some of these things, like creating templates, but editing existing blocks comes with its own set of issues, and it’s not saving me any time.

        Bottom line, where I could knock out long posts in a few hours, it now takes considerably longer, and I’m hence less prone to authoring them. Some of the people I used to follow that also did narrative/photos posts no longer do so, and some have stopped blogging. Maybe it’s for personal reasons (things change), but I’m willing to bet some of it is because of the Block Editor.

        In that regard, I may be different. I adapted (somewhat) and made the effort to use the Block Editor, so, yes, I can use it . . . but, it’s like word editors and image editors, and various interfaces . . . they are seldom changed to make them more efficient and/or easier to use.

        My gripe is that in catering to a certain group of content creators, they tax others. I’d be a bit more charitable if they would at least acknowledge it, but it grates on me when I am told, “no, no, this is better!”

        It isn’t better. It’s different, and it addresses wants I don’t have while sacrificing wants I have.

        Do I lose sleep over it? Am I upset? Is it altering my behavior? . . . yes for one of those, but not the others.

      4. Presentation has always been a big part of the web. Even if I write my posts only for myself, I’d still want them to be visually engaging, enjoyable to read, entertaining, or whatever. Personally, I don’t feel that WP goes far enough with that now and I’ve talked about some of my pet peeves in my more recent posts on Themes.

        You mentioned adding colors to multiple paragraph blocks. That is possible for consecutive paragraphs following an update. As far as saving image alignment, etc. for subsequently added images, I’d certainly head to the forums or ping support to suggest that as a Feature Request. The change to the block system is still far from perfect and perhaps even broke things along the way, but if it doesn’t get reported, it doesn’t get attention. Support folks are always grateful for specific feedback and, yes, we’ve previously discussed your feelings on providing feedback. 🙂

        Just to clarify, when I said “mindset”, I was referring to those folks who gave up on the block system even before making an attempt to try it. If and when the Classic Editor is finally retired and people will have to use the Block Editor, whether the Classic Block or the full Editor, the Editor they will be using is already light years ahead of the version that was released in 2018 (and it’s still a work-in-progress). Of course, there are those who will, as both you and Hugh pointed out, turn off the lights and lock the door on their way out rather than make the attempt. And that is a shame. Especially so now, as there is a ton of free help out there, tutorials, webinars, etc. Why not take advantage of it? (Rhetorical question.)

      5. I make suggestions when reporting issues … but, just like in real life, none are ever followed.

        It’s great that the editor can do more, but why does it have to complicate things for them who don’t want/need other stuff beyond the basics? The answer (IMO) is laziness and a lack of regard for efficiency.

        Because, here’s the thing … I’ve made and am making the effort to use what they offer, but I don’t see them meeting me half way. Rather, now that they have me using it, the feeling I get is “hey, let’s throw in more stuff and a kitchen sink!”

        Obviously, many would like and appreciate a kitchen sink.

        But, let me ask you a question … What could I do – specific to the use of blocks – to improve my posts and make them more engaging, entertaining, and enjoyable to read?

      6. Your content is always engaging and enjoyable to read. 🙂 However, visually you’re limited in what you can do since you are embedding images from an external source, unless something changed on WordPress.com’s end. AFAIK insert from URL uploads the image to your Media Library (which defeats your purpose with embeds). With embedded images, I’m not sure it’s possible to change the image width or whether it defaults to the content column width. I have a niggling memory that it’s the latter. The point being, having smaller images, linked to their embed source, aligned left or right with text flowing alongside, helps reduce that very long scroll if you want to. At least on site. In the Reader and on mobile, however…

        Hive, being an older, retired theme released prior to the Block Editor, is also limited as far as blocks go. Being retired, I can’t enable it or see what options it offered natively, but the demo site is still up at https://hivedemo.wordpress.com/ and you can get an idea from there what is possible. 🙂

        With the Block Editor, if you want just the basics, you can have just the basics. As previously said, just write and you can ignore (or hide) all the other blocks.

  4. Just one quick comment . . . unless they hide the images from me, using the “insert from URL” option in the Image Block and entering a SmugMug link doesn’t add the images to the Media Library.

    I can’t speak to how other links are treated.

    1. Fantastic! Thanks for checking and letting me know. Are you able to resize and align those images as you wish?

      (I don’t know what SmugMug’s ToS are, but flickr used to require that such images link back to them.)

      1. They work the same way as regular images (I can choose the size and alignment). However, I usually have them set at least 1280pixels or larger because I link to the media file (in my case, SmugMug).

        For all my recent posts, if you click on an image, it will open a tab or window with the image, and the URL for that tab or window is an image at SmugMug.

        If your window is smaller than the image, you can click to zoom in, but only to the specified size (typically, 1280 or 1600 pixels), whereas with the slideshow at the end, it’s actually linking to the gallery, and if you pause the slideshow, you can zoom in to the full-size resolution.

        There are two ways to control the displayed size in the post. I can either embed a small image, or, still embed a large image, but then choose how large I want it displayed. Since I’m showcasing images, I typically don’t flow text around images because that requires them to be small. And, yes, I could choose a theme that utilizes a single column, but I’m stubborn in what I like.

        As for the endless scrolling . . . well, that can’t be helped if one wants to write thousands of words and multiple tens of pictures.

        . . . which one does . . .

  5. I haven’t used the classic editor for a very long time when creating posts. Have enjoyed the block editor a bit.

    The classic editor is very useful when creating posts in the form of poems and the like.

    1. Hi there. Thanks for chiming in. If you write poetry and have moved on to using the Block Editor, then you’ll want to look at the Verse Block.

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