WordPress tweaks for writers

pencils for tweaking wordpress

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I’ve been writing various blogs for nearly ten years, and have used WordPress for most of them. Why? It fit well with the writer me. I could tweak copy and images without having to tinker with code.

This past year, WP was kind enough to make changes so using the platform would be “easier” for me. I sure wish someone would have asked WP users. Every time developers make one of these helpful changes the forums light up with “What happened to ….?” Here’s a couple of tweaks I have found to help work through the helpful changes.(Disclaimer: I’m not a WP expert. I’m only telling you what now works for me.)

Pasting from Word

Do you remember the little clipboard icon with the “W” in it? It was to paste copy from a Word document and remove Microsoft’s extra coding. Worked great. Loved it. I like to write my posts in Word because often the post become a larger magazine article or a chapter in a book. One of the problems with the new system is, if you use two carriage returns (that’s hitting “enter” twice for those who don’t remember a typewriter), extra line spaces between paragraphs. You then have to go through and delete the extra lines. There are two options:

  1. Use Word’s “paragraph spacing” option. You will find it in the format ribbon or the menu item Format –> Paragraph drop-down menu. I find a setting of 6 pt after the paragraph just about right.
  2. Don’t hit “enter” more than once after a paragraph. Your document will look strange without the space between paragraphs, but it will paste into the WP editor window just fine.

Editing Graphics

I’ve always liked a little space around my images. The new WP has removed the option to add horizontal/vertical space and or border around your image. Gone. I couldn’t even add the space in the HTML code. Hours of frustration before I found out that the new editor automatically adds the space and positions the image. Why did I tinker around for so long?screen shot of image Because this is what it looks like in the editor:

The problem is that I thought it would look that way in my post. After reading support pages and other blogs, I took a look at the preview. Low and behold the space was there. (You can see how this image looks in the final post here.) Still no way to add a border, though.

Since most writers aren’t programmers, tinkering around in the source code is generally not an option. A number of developers have created plug-ins to enhance the image editor to allow the WP users to make the space and border changes. I’ve tried a few and none work properly with the newest version of WP (4.0.1). (Update 10/27/2016: In later updates, WordPress has listened and vastly improved the graphics. The option to insert horizontal and vertical spaces is back.)

I don’t want to spend hours with my blog posts, so I’ve accepted the situation as it is now. I continue looking for an option to have more control over the look of my blog. In the meantime, I adjust.

Check out these suggestions:

How to Add Padding and Borders to Images in WordPress

Over 150 WordPress Tips


Do you have a handy-dandy way to work around the current WordPress version? Do you know of a great plug-in?

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Comments (2)

  1. Susan K. Stewart

    Connie, I know some writers who don’t update WordPress for several months after the release. They wait to see how the changes will affect their work.

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