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06. Customize UI

Learn how to change the appearance of the editor.

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By now it should be clear that TinyMCE is incredibly powerful and at the same time extremely flexible. This is also true for user interface customizations. In this section we look at skinning the editor UI, adding a useful toolbar button not included in the default theme and hiding the status bar.


TinyMCE comes with a beautiful, lightweight theme out of the box called "modern". This theme is enabled by default, and you can easily customize the menubar or toolbar without having to edit the theme.

Although any developer can create their themes, it does require a more in-depth knowledge of TinyMCE's API and is beyond the scope of this Get Started guide.

However, TinyMCE skins are much easier to make thanks to the TinyMCE Skin Creator.


Unlike TinyMCE themes, which affect much more than just the editor's user interface, skins only change the editor's appearance.

If you would like to create your skins the best (and easiest) place to start is the TinyMCE Skin Creator.

Once you've created your skin, download it, unzip the file, and place it in the js/skinsfolder of your TinyMCE install. Then activate it using code similar to this:

  selector: 'textarea'  // change this value according to your HTML
  skin: 'lightgray'  // use the name of your skin, not lightgray

If you are going to roll your skins, the name of the skin should match the name of the folder within the skins directory (typically tinymce/js/skins). If the specified skin is not found, TinyMCE does not load.

Pro tip. Many developers confuse the difference between TinyMCE themes and skins. You'll often see the term "theme" used by developers when they mean "skin".

Changing editor height and width

One of the most common UI customizations is changing the height and width of the editable area. Let's quickly look at how you can do this with some code snippets.

We have included links to the source documentation if you want to get into the specific details of these customization options.

Set the editable area height

Reminder, the "editable area" is the box users type in. The editable area is different from the "editor".

  selector: 'textarea',  // change this value according to your HTML
  height : 300

See the height option for customization details.

Set the editable area width

Note that the editable area width is (almost) effectively the width of the editor itself. This is not the case for height.

  selector: 'textarea',  // change this value according to your HTML
  width : 300

See the width option for customization details.

Set maximum and minimum heights and widths

By now you're fast becoming a TinyMCE pro, so we're going to include several options in this snippet to set the maximum and minimum values for heights and widths of the editable area. See if you can work out what's going on.

  selector: 'textarea',  // change this value according to your HTML
  max_height: 500,
  max_width: 500,
  min_height: 100,
  min_width: 400

To learn more about these customization options please see the max_height, max_width, min_height, min_width documentation pages.

This is not the end of your options when it comes to customizing TinyMCE's height and width behavior. You can also automatically resize the editable area as the user types into the iframe with the Autoresize Plugin, and you can enable the user to resize the editor on horizontal and vertical axis by dragging the status bar handle with the resize configuration option.

Customizing the editable area with content_css

It is usually desirable that TinyMCE's editable area has the same styling as the surrounding content. This can be achieved with the content_css customization option.

The css file used in this setting should be the same css file that controls the look/style of all your pages. Let's say you include a file myLayout.css in all your pages to control your site's global appearance; then this file must be set as your content_css value. Doing this ensures the content in the editable area also has your site's style.

Example using an absolute path
// File: http://domain.mine/mysite/index.html

  selector: 'textarea',  // change this value according to your HTML
  content_css : '/mycontent.css'  // resolved to http://domain.mine/mycontent.css

Refer to the content_css customization page if you want to learn more about the use of absolute and relative paths and multiple stylesheets.

Hiding the status bar

In this step, we're going to remove a UI element entirely, and for this example, we say hello and goodbye to the status bar.

The status bar is a gray bar stuck to the bottom of the editor's editable area containing the path information and the resize handle. Sometimes we don't want users to be able to change the size of the editable area (by dragging the resize handle*) and so removing the status bar achieves this objective.

  selector: 'textarea',  // change this value according to your HTML
  statusbar: false

We all need code

If you're struggling with menus, menu items and toolbars from the previous sections, we'll quickly revisit this for you with another example.

There is one popular toolbar button not loaded with the default theme "modern" and that's the code button. Clicking it presents the user with a dialog box containing the raw HTML hidden by TinyMCE's interface.

It's also a good example for this guide because it reminds us that some functionality requires the inclusion of a plugin.

  selector: 'textarea',  // change this value according to your HTML
  plugins: 'code',
  toolbar: 'code'

If you tried this snippet, you would have noticed that although you added the code button to the toolbar and created a new menu called Tools with the menu item Source code, everything else on the toolbar disappeared. (See this page if you need a basic HTML code block.)

If you wanted the default toolbar plus the code functionality you'd need this:

  selector: 'textarea',
  toolbar: 'undo redo styleselect bold italic alignleft aligncenter alignright bullist numlist outdent indent code',
  plugins: 'code'

We realize we covered toolbars in an earlier step but they're such an integral part of the experience your users have with the TinyMCE editor that the more practice, the better.

* There are ways to restrict whether the resize handle can be dragged, which you'll discover when deep diving into plugins and advanced configuration options.

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Except as otherwise noted, the content of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 License, and code samples are licensed under the Apache 2.0 License.