Have you heard the term “Gutenberg” and wondered to yourself: “What is Gutenberg?”

Well first let me tell you what it is.

Then I’ll tell you why I am not using it…just yet.

“Gutenberg” is the new visual WordPress editor that will be coming in the next big release of WordPress (5.0) Although is it not officially out yet, there is a lot of buzz about it, because  it is going to revolutionize how you use WordPress. It is named after Johannes Gutenberg who introduced printing to Europe with the printing press, and it will give you a whole new WordPress experience. The WordPress developers have been working hard to make this new editor look more visual (close to what it looks like on a live website). And they are now ready to have people test it out first as a plugin, for anyone who wants to be an early adopter of this new way of writing. 

(if you are a non techie type, I recommend skipping this whole thing now and just waiting.)

NOTE: I do NOT recommend installing the Gutenberg Plugin just yet. WordPress is still working out the kinks before the release of WordPress 5.0, and it’s possible Gutenberg might not work well yet with your theme, plugins, etc. It would be safer to wait it out a bit longer. 🙂 And even when it officially does come out, you can always install the classic editor plugin and continue working the way you always have.

That being said, I still want to share what Gutenberg is looking like right now. If you like to test new software before it’s officially released, read on and find out what I’m talking about…

Watch video previewing the Gutenberg Editor:

Just click the image below to watch:

When Will Gutenberg Become Available?

Gutenberg will become the default editor with the next WordPress release 5.0. That could be months from now. In the meantime, with the latest WordPress release 4.9.8, they have started allowing the WordPress users to try out Gutenberg as a plugin.

What It Will be Like to Use Gutenberg

After updating to WordPress 4.9.8, you will be greeted with the “Try Gutenberg” callout in the WordPress Dashboard:

screenshot of Gutenberg announcement inside of WordPress

Once you install and activate the Gutenberg plugin from the callout shown above, you will be greeted with a demo post where you can quickly view and try out the new features, which I think is a brilliant way to introduce people to the Gutenberg.

Let me show you some things you’ll see in the Gutenberg demo post. Here is the screen that gets displayed immediately after installing/activating the Gutenberg plugin:

screenshot of the gutenberg editor welcome screen

You can also experience it here without installing the plugin on your site.

Gutenberg Components are called “Blocks”:

You’ll see all components are shown as “blocks.” By clicking inside any part of the post, you will see what type of “block” is being used. The type of blocks currently available include Paragraph, Image, Heading, Gallery, List, Quote, Audio, Video, and many more.

screenshot of how to edit a paragraph with gutenberg

Under the “Document” tab in the sidebar, you’ll see the familiar settings we currently see in the sidebar in a more compact way.

screenshot of a document editing area with gutenberg

The “Block” tab in the sidebar lets you control various settings for the selected block. Here is an example of what you would see for a Paragraph block:

screenshot of the block tab with gutenberg

Each block also has a few places to let you do various things. By clicking on the settings button on top-right, you can quickly make some top-level changes for the block:

screenshot of the editing tab with gutenberg

And the formatting bar makes it easy and fast to format the paragraph:

screenshot of the formatting bar in the gutenberg editor

Moving each block up and down can be done easily with the arrows on the left.

screenshot of how to move paragraphs around with the gutenberg editor


Switching Between the Gutenberg Visual Editor and the Code Editor:

The gear on the top right lets you switch between the Gutenberg Visual Editor and the Code Editor. The editor you’ll use depends on what you need to do in the block.

screenshot of how to move between the visual editor and the code editor

screenshot of the code editor with gutenberg

How Does Gutenberg Work with My Theme’s Visual Editor

Many themes are already offering similar features with blocks and more, and you may be wondering how Gutenberg will affect how you’ll be working with your theme. For example, I know quite a few people in my community love Elegant Theme’s Divi theme (my affiliate link for them is https://www.ChristinasResources.com/divi) , which already offers the features that Gutenberg has.

Many theme companies are making their themes work smoothly with Gutenberg, but it’s a good idea to check with your theme company on that. For example,

Here is how the Divi Theme is Preparing for Gutenberg:

I love that Elegant themes, the makers of Divi and Divi/Extra (my aff link) are on top of it!  So since I use Divi as my theme, I am going to wait for the signal from them on when to use it (or not).  But again, no need to worry, just check with your theme company.

Why I am NOT using Gutenberg Just Yet

The reason why I am not using Gutenberg just yet, is because I like to focus on features that are available now for my students.  Gutenberg is going to be amazing, but I’d rather let the developers and coders make all of their updates and changes FIRST, before I teach it to my community.  It will be less frustrating for the non techie WordPress user if you wait. But if you DO decide to install/activate it to test it out, do so on a test site, not on your actual live site, and know that you can always deactivate the plugin at any time. If you decide to test out the Gutenberg plugin, do let me know what you think of it.

And again, as excited as I am about Gutenberg, my advice is to wait it out a bit and let the dust settle.


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