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The Kitchen Sink — More Editing Tools

The very first picture in this tutorial was of the full set of editing tool-bars. Here it is again as a reminder.


In this part of the tutorial we will discuss the tools (buttons and menus) on the second of the tool-bars. Although I describe them as they appear, from left to right in the tool-bar, I’m going to make an exception for that last one on the far right. It is an important and useful one.

Help, I Don’t Know How To…

HelpClick on that last button, the question mark in the bullseye. This is the “Help” built into the WordPress editor. When you do so, a pop-up window will be displayed that has several tabs that can be selected.

Hotkeys HelpI selected the “Hotkeys” tab which displays what I found to be the most useful information in all of the help. You may remember that when you hover the cursor over a button, link or menu in the tool-bar, a hint is normally displayed and some of them show the keyboard shortcut that can be used instead of clicking on the tool. I mentioned that some of shortcuts that are displayed do not work. Well, the Hotkeys help does not appear to have that failing.

A reasonable number of these are the same shortcuts employed by a number of programs (applications) you may use on your computer. Whether you need to use the control key or the command key depends on your computer. I use Linux and the shortcuts are the same as on a Windows computer. With the exception of “Address” (which designates a paragraph as being an address rather than an ordinary paragraph), I use the ones shown in the image at the right constantly. I don’t even have to think about them. It is faster than having to mouse up to the tool-bar and click, especially if it is necessary to scroll the window to make the tool-bars visible.

If you are lazy, like me, click the X in the upper-right corner of the help pop-up to dismiss it; otherwise, scroll down to the bottom of the help information and click the ”Close” button.



Confusingly, the first tool is often referred to as the “Styles” menu. Of course, anything we do to change the appearance of text in our posts is a style, whether it be centering text horizontally, making text bold or colored and so on. If you click on the little triangle at the right of “Paragraph” a scrollable menu of choices will be displayed (see image at the left). Notice that the pop-up is labeled “Styles” at the bottom, but the heading over the choices says “Format” — your choice!

In any case, the difference between these styles and most of the others offered as tools, is these change the markup on whole paragraphs. For example, if you start a new paragraph and type in “Help I Don’t Know How To…” and, without selecting that text, click on the styles menu and then click on “Heading 3”, the whole paragraph will be turned into a level-3 heading — I did that above, but I pressed Control + 3 instead of mousing around.

There are a very limited number of these styles available, but they are useful. “Preformatted” changes the paragraph into one that will be displayed exactly as you have typed it in. It will not be “re-flowed” and strings of blanks (spaces) should not be replaced by a single blank.

Quick Hint: If you want to change the style of several consecutive paragraphs using this tool, just ensure at least some text in all of them is selected. You can position the insertion point anywhere in the first paragraph and, when you click, continue to hold the mouse button down as you move the cursor down through the set of paragraphs until it is in the last one you want, then release the mouse button. Not all the text in those paragraphs will have been selected, but it suffices to allow applying a style.


Microsoft Word and many other programs work with your computer, whether it be Windows, Linux or Mac OS X, to preserve the look of text when you copy-and-paste it from document to document. You might want to copy something from an e-mail message, a Libre Office or Word document, a web page or other source and paste it into your blog post. You may have already encountered the often annoying and sometimes terrible results of doing so. However…

PasteThe two buttons pictured at the left are designed to help you paste text and get the results you want. Position the insertion point where you want to insert the text you have copied. This is often best done in a new, blank paragraph. Then click on the appropriate button (see descriptions below). The one on the left with “T” in it is for pasting plain Text; the one on the right with “W” in it is for pasting text from Word or similar programs. I have illustrated the difference and the results by copying a table from a Libre Office document (one compatible with Microsoft Word) and using both tools.

Paste Text DialogPasted TextWhen you click on the “Paste as Plain Text” button (the “T” icon), a pop-up dialog like the one at the left will be displayed. I pasted what I had copied and that is what you can see in the dialog.

When I clicked the “Insert” button in the lower-right of the dialog, what was inserted looked like the picture at the right.

Then I went through the same exercise using the “Paste from Word” button (the “W” icon) and without having changed what I had copied (it was still on the “clipboard”), clicked the “Insert” button.

The resulting dialog can be seen below on the left and the results below on the right.

Paste Word DialogPasted Word

It is not bad. I used “Preview Changes” to take a look. The shading showed up fine, but none of the borders were shown. The layout was right.

Clearly, as they say on the ’net, “Your mileage may vary!”.

If you enjoy scrolling down as much as I do, you will probably be thinking it is time for a page-break…

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