Text bubble with recommendation to use the Visual Editor for text formatting.The WordPress Visual Editor provides many options for formatting content without the need for HTML or CSS. This allows you to add content similar to how you would in a WordProcessor. However, the default toolbars leave several popular formatting features unavailable. Enter, TinyMCE Advanced. This plugin allows you to further extend the Visual Editor making it easy to format content to your liking.

Use the Visual Editor to Format Text, Not Paragraph Designations

Note that it is very important to use proper formatting for text using either the Visual Editor or manual HTML and CSS.

DO NOT use the Paragraph designations for formatting. These are specific, structural pieces of your blog posts and website pages. Paragraph types include H1, H2, and H3 which should be used for headings. Think of a term paper in high school. When you created your outline, you created headings based on topics and level of importance.

The WordPress toolbar selection for paragraph type should not be used for formatting.

Since headings tend to be formatted to stand out, sometimes people mistake these as the best way to format text within WordPress. Only use headings when they are needed for structure. Use text formatting options like the Font Size and Font Type buttons that are provided with the TinyMCE Advanced plugin to change plain paragraph text.

Default WordPress Visual Editor Toolbars

By Default, the WordPress Visual Editor provides the following formatting toolbars.

WordPress Visual Editor Toolbar


If you are not seeing both toolbars, as shown above, click on the Toggle Toolbar button to expand the section – see below.

WordPress Visual Editor toolbar with toggle closed.

Using the TinyMCE Advanced Plugin to Extend the Visual Editor

TinyMCE Advanced allows you to add several buttons to your toolbar and also provides a menu of dropdown formatting options to further extend the WordPress visual editor.

To add TinyMCE Advanced and configure additional options:

  1. Add this as you would any other plugin from the WordPress repository. From the Dashboard, select Plugins > Add New.
  2. Search for TinyMCE Advanced.
  3. Select Install.
  4. Once installed, Activate the plugin.

Configure TinyMCE Advanced

  1. On the Dashboard menu under Settings, you will now see an option for TinyMCE Advanced. Select this.
    Select an Unused Button that you would like to place on your menu.
  2. Drag it and drop it on the menu.
  3. You may select to display, or not display, a menu above the toolbars that includes most of the formatting options for you.
  4. Make sure to save your changes, and you’re ready to experience enhanced visual editing in WordPress.

Installing and Configuring TinyMCE Advanced – Video Excerpt from our upcoming course Introduction to WordPress

Signup at http://websiteanswerwoman.com for more information on the course.

Note that the plugin only affects the Visual Editor. If you are placing information in text format, by selecting the Text tab over the editor instead of Visual, you will not see this menu.

Using Black Studio TinyMCE to Extend the Visual Editor in Widgets

While the TinyMCE Advanced plugin extends the visual editor for Posts and Pages, the Text widget is still plain text or HTML, only.

By default, when the WordPress Widgets area features a Text widget. If you drag this into a widget area, you’ll note that it opens with no visual editor. You may enter plain text here or HTML.

Image of an expanded WordPress text widget

Once you install the Black Studio TinyMCE WordPress plugin, a new widget named Visual Editor will appear in your widgets list.

Drag this widget into a widget area, and you’ll notice that you now have a visual editor available to format text in widgets.

An expanded view of Black Studio TinyMCE widget displays a visual editor.

By extending the capabilities of the WordPress Visual Editor, you have more options to create the text formatting and layouts that you want without learning to program HTML and CSS.