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Make yourself at home with WordPress

Click to enlarge - WordPress screenshot

WordPress is a flexible and friendly content management system but some of the simple things might not be obvious at first.

This ‘hidden in plain sight’ scenario is most likely due to the curse of users not knowing what they don’t know.

If you don’t think a web content system could or should do something, there is every chance you won’t go looking for it or see it for looking.

I think the three customising tips I want to share with you today fall into the category of ‘oh, I didn’t even think to ask if this could be done’.

Stretch out and make yourself at home

The first tip I want to share with you is the full screen mode for composing pages and blog posts.

When you log in to your WordPress site and open the edit screen for a Page or Post, look for a little icon in the toolbar that looks like this (see the image above).

This allows you to open the editing window to use most of your computer screen instead of just a small portion.

When you are in this mode you will notice that the toolbar disappears.

Just hover your mouse towards the top of the screen and it will appear again.

While you might not want or need to use this mode every time you compose in WordPress, it is particularly helpful when writing longer pieces.

To return to the main editing environment again, just click the ‘exit full screen’ link in the top left of the screen.

I can’t find that button

Every now and then, depending upon who set up your WordPress site, particular functions might be visible or hidden within the editing screen.

If you look to the top right of the editing screen you will see a link called ‘screen options’ (see image above).

When this opens, you will see an array of tick boxes next to things like discussion, comments, format, etc.

Ticking these boxes make the options box for the particular function appear in your editing area or disappear if it is unticked.

I rarely use the ‘featured image’ option in WordPress, preferring instead to position my images in a free flowing manner. Therefore, one of the boxes I untick is Featured Image.

One of the functions I love having on but is typically off by default is Comments. This is where comments for each article are listed in the editing area of the Post (or Page). By turning this on I can easily

read and comment on feedback from readers in the context of the content that prompted the discussion.

This simple action cleans up my editing space, removing unwanted items and adding functions that suit my working style.

I wish you were here

The last tip I want to share is the ease with which you can physically rearrange elements in the editing area.

For example, I often find, especially when you are new to WordPress, that it is helpful to move the Discussion box to a more prominent position than below the editing screen. As you can see in the image above, I like it sitting below the Publish box.

I find this is helpful because I don’t like comments on Pages, only on Posts. By having this box in a prominent position it is a helpful prompt for reminding me to untick Allow Comments when creating a new page. Yes, this can be done in other ways, en masse and at template level, but in simple installations of WordPress this simple housekeeping technique ‘just works’.

In many ways, these tips above equate to tips for setting up your workspace. Just like you take time to get your physical desk well appointed to meet your working needs, so to tailoring your virtual workspace can lead to comfort and efficiency.

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