Most text blocks whether in the standard WordPress style or as a text block in Visual Composer will have a familiar toolbar above the box where you type the text. Depending on your theme and the plugins that are installed there could be some variation as to what extra buttons there are but the following screen capture guides will cover the fundamentals.

The first icon that you will want to click on is the ‘kitchen sink’ which adds the extra row of formatting buttons. Fortunately once you have pressed it WordPress remembers that you have opened the kitchen sink and any new text editing areas you open will have it visible by default.


Bold Text

Good for section sub-heads and highlighting important words or phrases. Bold text is very good for steering the eyes of a reader when they are skim reading a page.

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Italics Text

A good way to add emphasis or draw attention to a phrase and may work well as a way to indicate that a chunk of text is a quote.

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Strikethrough Text

A strikethrough draws a line through your text like you were crossing it out. This can be helpful when you want to note a change but still have the text visible or in a humorous way to show an alternative but incorrect word.

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Underline Text

This button lets you underline text. Don’t use this too much though. Bold and italics is the preferred way to create emphasis and catch the readers eye. Underline (particularly when coupled with bright blue text) has always been a default way of indicating a text link so if you do use underline try to make sure it is only on the plain coloured text of your website.

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Bullet List

Also known as an unordered list. This is a good way to make your content easy to scan. It’s also a good way to break up large chunks of text and make your post more readable.

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Numbered List

Also known as an ordered list. This will automatically number each entry in your list, making it easy to go back and add items or rearrange them without having to re- number them.

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Quotes

A special way to pull out and highlight text, usually a longer quote. How this appears on your site will depend on the style in your theme.

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Align Text Left, Right and Center

Use these buttons to align a paragraph of text left, right or center.

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Linking and Unlinking

With the linking button you make text or image links to your own pages or to pages on other websites. The unlink icon is handy for removing links.

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Read More

This will add a divider in your post so that a reader will need to click a ‘read more’ link to read anything after the divider. The theme you are using may not make use of this feature though.

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Spell Checker

This was hidden from the editor with the update of WordPress to version 3.8. Modern web browsers have built in spell checking which happens automatically so it was largely redundant. It would be possible to use the TinyMCE Advanced plugin to add the spell checker and many of the other editor buttons that are not shown in a default WordPress installation if you wished to.

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Distraction Free Writing Mode

If you want to write your pages and posts with fewer distractions, this is the option handy. It drops off most of the standard WordPress navigation elements and just lets you focus on writing your text.

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Show Hide the Kitchen Sink

This option will reveal all the extra formatting choices—the ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ options. The formatting bar doubles in height with a whole new row of formatting options .

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Paragraph and Heading Size

‘Paragraph’ is the default option and this is for all your standard paragraph text. There are several other options including address, pre-formatted and six different sizes of headers. The relative size and style change that you get from each heading will depend on the font and size set in the theme.

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Justified Text

Justified text is a bit like newspaper column alignment, the words are padded across each line so that the left and right edge of a column.

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Text Colour

You can change your text colour by using the dropdown to choose a new colour.

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Paste Text

These are two options for pasting text into WordPress. Paste as Plain Text will strip out the extra characters and invisible junk that’s often copied when you copy and paste text. Microsoft Word adds a lot of extra coding when you just copy and paste the text, so using Paste from Word is intended to strip out all the unnecessary coding from Word. It’s generally best to be copying and pasting from a text file, or typing directly into the editor window, rather than copying and pasting from Word.

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Remove Formatting

If you have added style to text like bold, italics, colouring you can use this button to remove the formatting and make it revert to the plain text of your page.

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Custom Character Insert

You can insert all kinds of special characters that don’t appear on your keyboard using this option, including dashes, copyright symbols, fractions of a half and a quarter and other useful symbols.

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Indenting Text

Indent a paragraph of text or remove the indent with these buttons. Don’t use this too much or double indent or you may end up with unusual text arrangements.

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Undo and Redo

These provide a basic undo facility but it isn’t perfect and best not to try and step back more than a few changes.

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Help Button

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