Don’t Get Freaked Out By The Disappearance Of WordPress Classic Editor

Twitter has been awash with complaints and groans in the past few weeks from book bloggers who’ve discovered their beloved Classic Editor has disappeared and they’re forced into using the Gutenburg Block Editor.

If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of bloggers feeling similarly bereft, I have both bad news and good news for you.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. I know this isn’t what you want to hear but the fact is there is very little you can do to get the full Classic Editor experience back.

As I explained last year, WordPress announced mid summer that their strategy to move over to the Gutenburg platform would see the retirement of the Classic Editor. The timing kept changing: it was originally going to happen in June 2020, then that got moved to August 2020 but then seemed to have drifted still further. Hence why some of you have been able to hang on to Classic Editor for the last few months.

But on March 9, 2021 WordPress released some upgrades to Gutenburg. This is the first major release of 2021 and one of four releases planned for this year. It looks like they’ve used the release of WordPress 5.7 to switch Classic Editor off for bloggers who use the free version of WordPress.

If it hasn’t disappeared from your version of WordPress, then you’re lucky. But it’s only a matter of time before it’s gone for good. Gutenburg is the future as far as WordPress is concerned. And that means Block Editor.

Can You Hang On To Classic Editor?

What if you’ve decided you’ll have to be dragged kicking and screaming to Block Editor, do you have any options? The good news is that you do, though these are very limited.

The first thing you’ll want to try is to access Classic Editor via your WordPress desktop” then select wpadmin. When you create a new post, the drop down menu gives you an option to use either Block Editor or Classic Editor. I’m not 100% sure this is still available but it’s worth giving it a go.

If that fails, then you can install a ClassicEditor plug in. This will work only if you have paid for the WordPress Business plan – the basic free version and the Premium plan don’t unfortunately include the ability to add plug ins.

To install the plug in go to your WordPress dashboard. Choose Plugins.

The next screen will show you which Plugins are available according to your theme. Click on Add New (this is shown on the top of the screen). If you don’t see Classic Editor, just use the search box at the top of your screen. Click Install and then Activate.

I don’t want you to get too excited about this however. Even if you get this plug in installed, it’s going to be only a temporary solution because WordPress has already indicated it will be discontinuing the Classic plugin by the end of 2022.

So What’s The Answer?

You really have only three options:

  • Accept that Block Editor is here to stay and begin to use it for your new content. It will feel strange initially you will get frustrated that it doesn’t work exactly the same as the old editor. But over time it will become easier. There is, by the way, a Classic Block which will help ease you into the new editing system
  • Buy a WordPress business plan and use it to install the Classic plug in. As I said, this plug in has an expiry date of end 2022
  • Find an alternative blogging platform that has an editing programme that you’ll feel more comfortable using. This isn’t an easy decision to take, especially if you’ve been using WordPress for many years and have built a strong following since you’ll likely lose some of those readers in the process. But if you don’t want to pay for a blogging service on feel on principle that WordPress is going in a direction that you’re not happy about, then you do have that option.

Don’t forget, that if you get into difficulties using Block Editor, there is no need for you to struggle alone. I don’t claim to have all the answers but I can probably help with most questions. So feel free to ask.

Book Blogging tips from A to Z

BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

54 thoughts on “Don’t Get Freaked Out By The Disappearance Of WordPress Classic Editor

  • April 15, 2021 at 9:59 pm
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    I’m using block editor ever since it was appearing in WP and it’s not that bad. I like some of new features. I have moved to WP Org, I can get plugin but I like block editor and honestly it’s not that hard, there are tons of tutorials for it. Great post!

    Reply
    • April 17, 2021 at 5:54 pm
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      I wouldn’t change back to classic now I’ve had the block editor experience. I noticed there are some refinements of the block editor that came out this week but I don’t think they’ll be of much benefit to me.They seem more orientated to people who have a site which looks more like a website than a blog

      Reply
  • April 4, 2021 at 1:55 am
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    Karen, I have a question related to the new editor, though on stats:
    with the latest update on #wordpress (NOT self-hosted), how can I see my total views and average PER YEAR? is it completely gone??

    Reply
    • April 4, 2021 at 8:53 am
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      WordPress just did an update to the dashboard so the order of items in your sidebar menu might have changed. Send me a screen grab of what you see when yiu look at your stats. Yiu can send via Twitter direct message of easiest for you.

      Reply
  • March 26, 2021 at 12:25 am
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    I kind of want to buy everyone complaining a cup of tea and put my hand on their shoulder and promise them IT’S GOING TO BE OKAY. Gutenberg is so much more intuitive and works so much better than the classic editor once you’ve fiddled around with it for a minute or two.

    Reply
    • March 27, 2021 at 7:10 pm
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      I know change can be hard and stressful but usually the new way of doing something proves not to be anywhere as horrid at the anticipation. Do we need a support therapy group for people who hate Block Editor do you think?

      Reply
    • March 27, 2021 at 7:12 pm
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      Good for you. WordPress isn’t going to re-think its approach so block editor is here to stay

      Reply
  • March 20, 2021 at 7:40 pm
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    It’s so kind of you to offer to help people who are struggling with the new editor! I was very annoyed by it at first but now I’ve gotten used to it. I do not prefer this interface, but I can live with it and make my posts look the way I want them to — I’ve never tried to do anything very complicated. I wish the post editor was still contained within the “frame” of the WordPress dashboard though. i don’t like being taken away from that every time I want to construct a post.

    Reply
    • March 21, 2021 at 5:24 pm
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      I see they have a ‘quick draft’ box within the dashboard frame but that wouldn’t be much use I don’t think.

      Reply
  • March 20, 2021 at 4:37 pm
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    It’s absolutely unacceptable that they’re forcing this change to an interface that is worse than useless. So far (and I just checked), I still have access to the Classic Editor through WP Admin (I figured that out months ago). At work, we use a modified WordPress template and I asked my Support guru if there were any plans to change to Blocks. He said that they’d made sure we could continue using Classic and added “If I had to troubleshoot Blocks, I’d quit.” This pretty much says it all. Change for the sake of change is stupid. Unfortunately, I don’t like Blogger any better and am not sure I can afford the Business plan.

    Reply
    • March 20, 2021 at 7:13 pm
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      Appreciate your view Teresa – I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on the merits of block editors.

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    • March 20, 2021 at 7:15 pm
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      have you tried the fix where you go in via wpadmin? From other people who have commented here it seems that is still working

      Reply
      • March 21, 2021 at 3:20 pm
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        Actually using a copy of a previous post helped somewhat as someone suggested, though images are still tricky, I have to use my very rusty and limited coding skills to get them right.
        I know I need to just bite the bullet, update my template and learn blocks.

        Reply
        • March 21, 2021 at 5:19 pm
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          I know it sounds daunting but you do get used to blocks fairly quickly

        • March 23, 2021 at 5:17 pm
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          why are images tricky – they should be pretty easy to align left, right, centre and to line them up with text

        • March 24, 2021 at 3:31 am
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          Actually it’s the sizing that is the issue. There doesn’t seem to be a way to resize them after inserting them in a post other than to edit the code, also there is no longer options for directional spacing

        • March 27, 2021 at 7:16 pm
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          Do you not have the block editing panel on the right of your screen which gives you the option to change the size?

        • March 28, 2021 at 8:10 pm
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          Shelley Rae. Click on your image. If you don’t have a window of edit options on the right, then click on the cog wheel icon near the upper right, this will bring it up The window changes depending whether you choose Post or Block, but defaults to Block. Down near the bottom of the Block options, and you may have to scroll down, you will see the height and width of your image. Now you can use your mouse to push or pull the arrows which resize the image to your desired size.

          Positioning an image is done with a different icon in the top bar, one which looks like 3 parallel bars.

          When you are done, use the Post options in the side window. They are similar to the Classic options in the same place.

          Good luck! (Hope you don’t mind me butting in, I’m in an earlier time zone than Karen)

        • March 29, 2021 at 3:57 am
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          Thanks Rowena, the image edit menu comes up by selecting the cog – yay- but the height & width doesn’t show & .the only image size options available are thumbnail, small, medium and large

        • March 29, 2021 at 9:46 am
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          Are you using the free version of WordPress? That seems to have fewer options than the paid one.

        • March 29, 2021 at 9:43 am
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          Thank you for stepping in Bill. I had a chuckle over the fact that less than a year ago you were struggling with block editor and now here you are passing on your expertise. It just reinforces what I say to a lot of bloggers – block editor isn’t as difficult as you might think.

        • March 29, 2021 at 9:57 am
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          It’s possible you have to select ‘large’ to be able to size your blocks. I had a quick look at one of my drafts and the height and width were just below the ‘large’ etc menu. As Karen says, it gets easier (I have a cousin Rowena who might prefer if you called me Bill).

    • March 20, 2021 at 7:15 pm
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      It does indeed get easier the more you use it just like anything really

      Reply
  • March 20, 2021 at 1:02 pm
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    I love Block Editor now and I remember complaining about it with you last year! There are some wee issues but all in all, now that I’m used to it, I much prefer it.

    Reply
    • March 20, 2021 at 2:34 pm
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      Hooray!! Delighted to hear this Cathy. I too didn’t like Block Editor at all when I first used it and in fact gave up on it entirely. But second attempt was much more positive and I now love it.

      Reply
  • March 20, 2021 at 9:27 am
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    Nope. I have made templates of almost all my different types of posts that used the classic editor, and now I just copy them to make new posts. The block editor can kiss my a**!!!

    Reply
    • March 20, 2021 at 2:42 pm
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      So if that option is removed does that mean you’ll abandon WordPress eventually?

      Reply
      • March 21, 2021 at 5:20 am
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        No, I’ll probably upgrade to the plan where I can get the plugin so I can still use the classic editor. In the meanwhile, these “templates” I made from old posts that used the classic editor are working quite well.

        Reply
        • March 21, 2021 at 5:20 pm
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          That plug in will only be available until end of next year though so even with an upgraded plan it’s unfortunately not a long term solution

  • March 20, 2021 at 3:41 am
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    Maybe it’s just me but I always compose my posts via wpadmin and I can choose to do in block or classic. It’s been like this for years.

    Reply
    • March 20, 2021 at 2:35 pm
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      Interesting to hear this Kim. How long it remains the case is the question of course….

      Reply
  • March 20, 2021 at 2:09 am
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    Good advice Karen, as always. My changeover to Block went ok. I only invoke the classic block now to get a line across the page and to get the special characters from the ‘Omega’ menu.
    Referring to Lisa, I actually include more photos than I used to and the process she wants is Download/Size/Align Right – in which case the block(s) following fill up the space to the left.
    Otherwise I have the same problems as everyone else – the block menu that sits over whatever you particularly want to look at next; single spacing, for which I use HTML and br in diamond brackets; and copying, especially into quote blocks,

    Reply
    • March 20, 2021 at 2:40 pm
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      You can change the settings so the block menu is always at the top of the screen.

      Reply
  • March 19, 2021 at 11:43 pm
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    Yeah, well, I thought I’d give it a try, and gave up as soon as I tried adding an image. My house style is a medium sized image of the book cover, it’s always on the RHS of the text in the first paragraph. Not only could I *not* put it there, I couldn’t get rid of the block for the image afterwards.
    The Help page at WordPress is worse than useless…

    Reply
    • March 20, 2021 at 2:36 pm
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      I can send you screen shots of how to do both these things if you like

      Reply
        • March 21, 2021 at 5:22 pm
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          yes I still have it Lisa – look out for the email from my yahoo account. it might end up in your spam.

  • March 19, 2021 at 10:58 pm
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    Thank you, great advice and I appreciate your guidance. At the moment I seem to have a hybrid mixture which overlaps and some juggling is needed to get layouts right. I am used to a smooth flow so blocks are frustrating at times and I seem to be clicking a whole lot more.

    Reply
    • March 20, 2021 at 2:39 pm
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      Not sure how you have a hybrid but it would probably be less of a headache if you tried to solve that.

      Reply
      • March 22, 2021 at 12:14 am
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        Like several others, I often can’t get rid of an unnecessary block but I am working on it!

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        • March 23, 2021 at 5:13 pm
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          to delete a block you click on the block to make it active.
          Go to your toolbar and click on the 3 vertical dots that will be on the far right . n the drop down menu, look right down at the bottom to find ‘delete block’.
          You can use this sequence to delete any block, not just the image one. All you have to remember is that the block has to be selected (ie, made active) first.

        • March 27, 2021 at 12:55 am
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          Thank you! Also, I appear to have been fully converted 🙂 so far so good.

        • March 27, 2021 at 9:59 am
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          That’s good news. I shall keep fingers and toes crossed for yiuyou

  • March 19, 2021 at 10:48 pm
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    Oh…Also I haven’t had difficulty using classic because I have a few classic templates I copy to create new posts rather that starting from scratch.

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  • March 19, 2021 at 10:45 pm
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    Ugh! I’ve been using the Classic Editor within the block editor. It works great so far! You just have to be careful not to trigger the default block editor. I haven’t tried block in a while so I need to check out the updates. I can use block if I have to, I just don’t want to. Thanks for keeping us up to date!

    Reply
    • March 20, 2021 at 2:38 pm
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      That will reassure lots of other bloggers I’m sure

      Reply

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