The latest version of WordPress is here! WordPress 6.2 “Dolphy” is the first major WordPress release in 2023. It’s named in honor of Eric Allan Dolphy Jr., an innovative American jazz musician who played multiple woodwind instruments, including alto saxophone, bass clarinet, flute, and many more. In this article, you’ll learn what’s new in WordPress 6.2 “Dolphy.”
WordPress normally releases a major update a few times every year and minor updates in between. Major updates include new features and improvements to existing WordPress features, performance, and security in various areas.
When a major version becomes available, we check out the new features to see if they benefit WordPress end users, such as my Website Creation Workshop students. WordPress 6.2 introduced some very cool features, especially for WordPress block theme users. Read below to see if you can take advantage of these.
Updating to WordPress 6.2
I recommend waiting a few days before updating your website to WordPress 6.2. Big updates like this often require updates to plugins and themes to work properly. Even though most plugin and theme developers try to make those changes before the new WordPress version comes out, it’s still a good idea to hold off to avoid unexpected problems.
Version 6.2 is a major update (not a minor security update). Depending on the hosting company you use, you may need to log in to your WordPress admin panel and run an update manually. This step-by-step guide & video on “How to Update WordPress to the Latest Version” explains how.
Some web hosting services take care of these WordPress updates for you. Also, if you have an automatic update option within your WordPress, the update should run automatically as it gets released.
New Features of WordPress 6.2
There are a few features in WordPress 6.2 that you might find helpful. The majority of these features focus on the WordPress Block Editor, Gutenberg. The “Full Site Editing” function, originally introduced in WordPress 5.9, has undergone significant enhancements and is now out of Beta.
I do not cover the WordPress Block Editor in my Website Creation Workshop since it’s not as intuitive and functional as other visual editors, including Divi and Elementor, which I teach. Moreover, shifting to the Block Editor may be challenging if you’re used to the popular and reliable Classic Editor. However, WordPress is committed to making the Block Editor a great, no-cost tool for everybody. The day when the Block Editor becomes a favorite tool for many users might not be too far away.
New: Openverse Images Stock Library
This innovative, versatile collection of free and open-source images is available for anyone without legal restrictions, allowing for greater accessibility and flexibility in creative projects. And WordPress 6.2 brought Openverse images right into the WordPress Block Editor!
(If you are using the classic editor, then install this plugin to take advantage of Openverse: https://wordpress.org/plugins/instant-images/)
To search for an image in Openverse and use it, follow these steps:
- In the block editor, click the “+” at the top-left to display the Block Inserter.
- Click on the Media tab.
- Click on Openverse. From there, use the search box to find an image you’d like to use.
- Click on the image to be inserted into the page/post.
I think this can be a big timesaver for you.
Download the Image File Directly from the Media Library
Check out the Media Library. You’ll notice you can now download your media files by using the “Download file” link.
Site Editor: Now Out of Beta, with More Customization Features!
Since its introduction in WordPress 5.9, the Full Site Editor has been upgraded with each subsequent WordPress release. The Full Site Editor feature allows users to edit their entire website visually, including templates and theme design, using blocks and a drag-and-drop interface. That means users can do more editing of the website’s overall look without having to use codes.
This feature works only with “Block Themes.” As of this writing, about 263 block themes are available in the WordPress.org theme depository.
Not sure if you’re using one of those block themes? Just look at the admin bar while working on your site. If you see “Edit site” at the top, you use a block theme and can take advantage of the Full Site Editor features. Access the Full Site Editor by clicking on that or going to “Appearance” – “Editor.”
Once in the Full Site Editor, you can edit the Templates or Template Parts.
Then design the look of your site using the block editor.
Navigation Block is Now Very Easy to Customize
While you are in the Full Site Editor, check out the Navigation Block. Updating the content and look of the navigation used to be a multi-step task and required you to do some work in Appearance – Menus before bringing it into a template or a page. The improved Navigation Block eliminates those extra steps and lets you create navigation easily without thinking too much.
Style Book Makes it Easy to See Your Default Styles
Each theme contains a set of how each element looks. However, seeing how they look at a glance hasn’t been easy. WordPress 6.2 has solved this problem for the Full Site Editor users.
All you need to do is go into the template or template part you are working on and click the “Styles” button at the top. From there, you can see and change the default look of typography, images, buttons, widgets, navigation, and more!
Block Settings Sidebar
The block settings sidebar has a new look when working with the WordPress 6.2 Block Editor. It’s now organized under two tabs (settings and styles).
More Useful Block Patterns
WordPress 6.2 added more block patterns, making it easier for users to quickly create a website. The above image, for example, shows the variety of footer block patterns already designed for you. All you need to do is to pick one and customize it your way.
While WordPress now allows you to do more customizations without having to use CSS, you still might find you want to use CSS to make a website look exactly how you want. With WordPress 6.2, you can add custom CSS to EACH style element in the template instead of updating the CSS for the whole site.
Other Improvements in WordPress 6.2
There are many other improvements for both users and developers with WordPress 6.2. Learn more about WordPress 6.2 in the WordPress.org official blog post.