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Distraction-Free Writing

One of the current vogues is the concept of “Distraction-Free Writing”. The idea is that lots of icons, tool-bars, status-bars, side-bars, etc., are just annoying distractions that make the task of writing prose harder. Even worse are flashing “You’ve got mail” icons and the like. So the folks working on WordPress bought into this concept and turned the ”Full-Screen” tool into a “Distraction-Free Writing” tool.

Full-ScreenIf you click on the the tool-bar icon that looks like the one on the left, your browser window will be refreshed and you will see something dramatically different. A picture of what it looked like while I was writing this tutorial is shown below.

Full-Screen Mode

That looks nice and clean. Wait a minute! How do insert a bridge hand? How do I save or publish my post? How do I indent a paragraph? How do I get out of here?

If you simply want to write a few paragraphs about current bridge-playing demographics and can remember some basic keyboard shortcuts, this is probably quite nice. …and there’s not much in the way of distractions (I had to show you my browser stuff at the top, just to make it look real!). But still, we need something more. Hover the cursor above the post or page title (this is a page I’m working on) and low and behold (see the picture below)…

Full-Screen Revealed

Now you can see a minimal tool-bar with some basic tools. Also, a link (“Exit fullscreen”) at the left and another (“Save”) at the right.

The concept is nice. If you you like now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t interfaces (also known as “auto-hide”) this is actually very nice. Except we might like a few more tools up there! Unfortunately, there is another big drawback — the WordPress folks really have bought into DFW and have not provided a supported interface for us to add more tools to the new full-screen implementation. …and we do not want to hack the core code (it’s bad karma).

Some people liked an older version of full-screen mode, the way it used to be implemented in WordPress. We cannot bring that back for you, but we can tell you how to get approximation — a wider and longer edit pane. That is how we set it up for new bloggers. The next page describes this (and, of course, if you are not interested, just skip that page!)

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