Photo: Tore Sætre / Wikimedia
The latest version of WordPress 6.1 “Misha” has just arrived! This is considered a major WordPress release. It’s named in honor of Mikhail “Misha” Alperin, a Soviet-Norwegian jazz pianist, who introduced the work of jazz ensembles in the USSR and globally.
WordPress releases a major update a few times every year with minor updates in between. These major updates include new features as well as improvements in existing WordPress features, performance, and security in various areas.
With each major version update, we check out the new features and see how useful they are to WordPress users. WordPress 6.1 highlights some significant changes and improvements for both users and developers. Read on to learn about some of the new features that you may want to check out.
Updating to WordPress 6.1
I recommend waiting at least several days before updating your website to WordPress 6.1, if possible. Major updates like this one often require some plugins and themes to be updated to catch up and maintain compatibility. Most plugin/theme developers do their best to make necessary updates prior to the new WordPress release, it’s still a good idea to wait a bit to avoid risks of encountering unexpected problems.
Version 6.1 is a major update (not a minor security update). You may need to log in to your WordPress website and run an update manually. To learn how to do this, refer to this step-by-step guide & video on “How to Update WordPress to the Latest Version”.
Some web hosting services perform these WordPress updates for you. Also, you might have an automatic update option turned on within your WordPress, in which case, the update should run automatically as it gets released.
New Features of WordPress 6.1
Here are some of the new WordPress 6.1 features that you may find useful. Just like the few major releases over the past few years, most of these are around the WordPress Block Editor, Gutenberg. You’ll see some big improvements in the “Full Site Editing” introduced with WordPress 5.9.
I don’t teach the WordPress Block Editor in my Website Creation Workshop; it’s still not as user-friendly and feature-rich as other visual editors that I teach, such as Divi and Elementor. Plus, if you are used to the Classic Editor (a tried and true favorite), using the Block Editor could be quite frustrating. I understand the benefits of using the Block Editor and see how it’s improving with every WordPress release, and I’m looking forward to seeing when it truly becomes a wonderful tool especially for non-techies.
A New Default Theme “Twenty Twenty-Three”
Lovingly nicknamed as “TT3,” Twenty Twenty-Three is the brand-new default theme that comes with WordPress 6.1.
At a first glance, it looks like a very plain, minimalist theme, but it comes with a 10 pre-built ‘styles’ you can choose from, each with a different color scheme and font sets. With a click of a button, you can switch between these styles.
Twenty Twenty-Three is also an Accessibility-ready theme. That means this theme meets all the required accessibility requirements.
Easier Control Over the Look of Blocks
You now have much better design control over blocks like the Image Block.
Adding different colored borders or controlling the radius for the border of an image, for example, can be achieved very easily.
You’ll find adding margins or padding to a block can be easily done in the block settings under Dimensions as well.
Grab the Featured Image in the Cover Block
This can be a handy feature, depending on the post/page layout you have. When you use the Cover block, you now have an option of using the featured image you’ve already set.
Inner Blocks for Quotes and Lists
WordPress 6.1 lets you nest inner blocks for the Quotes block and Lists block, giving you more control over the look. For example, you can now have headings, lists, etc. within a Quote block.
Page Summary Area
You’ll notice the right column of the Block editor screen now look a little differently. You’ll see some items now grouped under “Summary.”
And the publish scheduler looks more visual and intuitive.
Quick Numbers on Your Article
This is a handy features for bloggers out there. Click on the new “i” icon at the top of the Block editor to get quick stats on the article as you write.
Improvements on the Full Site Editor
WordPress 6.1 also came with some big improvements on the Full Site Editor, originally introduced with WordPress 5.9. The biggest of them all, perhaps, is the addition of variety of template options.
See the “Tag” template? That, for example, allows you have a template design specific to a certain tag that looks differently from other pages and posts.
Other Improvements in WordPress 6.1
There are many more additions and improvements with WordPress 6.1! Read more about WordPress 6.1 in the WordPress.org official blog post. You can also watch this video for an overview.