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How to keep using the classic editor as the default option in WordPress 5

January 20th, 2023

3 min read

WordPress Classic Editor

Written by

Ben Long


How-to Use TinyMCE

WordPress 5.0 was released in December, 2018, and brought with it a significant change: the default editing experience shifted away from the WordPress ‘classic’ editor based on TinyMCE, and replaced it with the Gutenberg block editor.

Despite Gutenberg providing the Classic Block, in which the TinyMCE experience is still available, many developers prefer to make a complete switch back to the WordPress classic editor.

In fact, the 2019 WordPress annual survey results showed that when asked “Which editor do you currently use?” 53% of respondents (professionals writers and content managers) said they’re currently using the Classic Editor

Results from the 2020 survey found that “just over half” of professional writers reported they still use the classic editing experience (51%):

A bar chart showing adoption of the new Wordpress editor

At a past WordCamp Brisbane, Australia, the signs of slow adoption were noted after the initial change:

  • For some, the reticence was due to the additional time and money needed to adjust themes and plugins they’d already configured.
  • Others wanted to continue using the premium plugins and advanced features they’d connected to their editor (from Tiny), like the PowerPaste plugin.
  • And some simply just prefer the classic editing experience.

Whatever your reasons, you can return to the classic rich text WYSIWYG interface with the Classic Editor WordPress plugin.

How to switch back with the WordPress Classic Editor plugin

To switch back to the WordPress classic editor, install the free Classic Editor WordPress plugin maintained by the WordPress team. (If you’re familiar with the TinyMCE Advanced WordPress plugin, it also provides an option to set the classic editor as the default.)

  1. Log in to your WordPress account
  2. Go to Plugins, and then Installed Plugins
  3. Located the WordPress Classic Editor plugin, and click Activate

Once activated, the plugin hides the Gutenberg block editor and restores the classic editing experience.

Why keep using the classic editor?

Continuity is the key reason to keep using the WordPress Classic Editor. It means you can continue to use any existing plugins that you installed to extend the editor,  as well as any other functionality that you’ve set up that depends on the WordPress Classic Editor. (Because not all plugins have a direct counterpart that works seamlessly with the new block-based editor.)

Note: Although this plugin is powered by Tiny, we are not responsible for providing technical support for it. Reach out to the plugin developers if required.

  1. How to install the WordPress Classic Editor plugin
  2. Once you’ve logged into your WordPress dashboard, click Plugins
  3. Search for the Classic Editor plugin. If the specific plugin doesn’t appear, you can download the plugin directly, and upload it to your WordPress account:
    1. Go to Plugins and then Add New
    2. Click Upload Plugin
    3. Choose the .zip format file for the classic editor
    4. Click Activate Plugin once the installation is complete

  4. If you find the Classic Plugin is already listed directly under the Featured tab, search for it, then click Install Now. Once the plugin is installed, click Activate.

After that’s done, you can go ahead and continue working with the classic WYSIWYG editor as before.

How to use the classic editor without a plugin

If you’re a community WordPress writer, you can activate a classic editor experience by selecting the ‘classic editor experience’ when creating a new post.

  1. Log in to your WordPress account, and click on the View option in the top right corner
  2. Select the “classic view” option
  3. Navigate to the Posts icon on the left column of the page
  4. Next to the Posts page heading, look for a drop down arrow next to the Add New button. 
  5. Click on the arrow, and select Classic Editor:Selecting the classic editor option in Wordpress
  6. When the new post loads, it appears in the Classic Editor appearance for community writers

    Note: You can also edit posts in the Classic Editor appearance by hovering your cursor over the post title, and selecting the “Classic Editor” option next to the  “Edit” option:

    Selecting the option to edit posts in the classic appearance

Content writing experiences with TinyMCE

Now that you’re customizing the editor like a pro, take your editing experience to the next level – check out how to use TinyMCE premium plugins in WordPress.

If you’re writing content in WordPress, you can rely on TinyMCE’s plugins to make sure your content is accessible, and to automatically catch spelling errors as you type.

Contact us to find out more about how TinyMCE can help out with your writing and content creation.

Your FREE TinyMCE API key is ready! Get yours today!

byBen Long

Computer scientist, storyteller, teacher, and an advocate of TinyMCE. Reminisces about programming on the MicroBee. Writes picture books for kids. Also the wearer of rad shoes. “Science isn’t finished until you share the story.”

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