Administrativia for Contributors — How to use the WordPress Editor

Once you have registered to login and have been granted the privileges of Contributor, Author, or Editor, you will be able to access the adminstrative section (which WordPress calls the Dashboard) where you can explore the editor and practice composing posts, previewing them as they will appear “online” and, if you have author or editor status, publish them.  Editors can also create and modify web pages as well as blog posts.  The editor is a simplified word processor that is web-aware.  At the top of the edit box you will see some familiar icons that allow you to format text as bold, italic, bulleted or numbered lists, centered, etc.  An interesting one is the “Distraction-Free Editing Mode,” which gives you a full-screen page with no menu bars that looks like your article will appear on the web. Hovering the mouse pointer near the top of the screen will bring up a toolbar to get back to the “dashboard” editor display. “Show/Hide ‘Kitchen Sink'” will display more editing tools, including a “Paste from Word” so you can compose in your favorite word processor and select and paste into the blog editor later, preserving your formatting.

If you want special web effects (tables or additional HTML formatting, like changing type size or font), you can switch from Visual mode to Text mode through tabs at the top of the edit window and type text with HTML tags.  Or, you can save as draft and ask me to “fix” it for you.  If you copy from an email or other document and the result looks strange, you can use the “remove formatting” tool and reformat the content yourself. You can use the “Add Media” button to upload pictures or documents or insert existing media library objects. It may be easier to to insert these into text than to add them as you go, as the cursor won’t go past a picture if it is the last thing in a file (though there is a way to get around this feature, by going into ‘text’ mode, typing some characters after the picture block, then switching back to Visual). When finished, you can preview, save draft, or publish.  If you are just practicing, you can simply click away from the editor page and everything you have written will evaporate.

It is a good idea to “Save Draft” (button on upper right) often in case you lose your Internet connection or you inadvertently click away from the edit page (you can click to a different tab in your browser without losing the page, but don’t forget to come back and save before closing the browser).  Don’t forget to select Format and Categories on the right sidebar before publishing,  While you can update the post after publishing, remember that the original published version is the one that will be emailed to WordPress email subscribers.

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About Larye

New weaver and amateur loom mechanic. 50-year career in information technology, now self-employed and semi-retired: specialize in Unix systems administration, web site development, and bioinformatics applications programming. Other interests include bicycle touring, aircraft construction, and quilting. Married to weaver/spinner/quilter/cyclist Judy.