WordPress 6.2 has been released on Newspack sites, and includes a number of block and visual changes for you to check out! This post covers the changes we think will have the most impact.
Updates to the Outline and List view
Before WordPress 6.2, the Outline and List View used to be split into two panels, accessed by separate “i” and list icons in the top left corner of the editor.
In WordPress 6.2, both are now combined in the same panel, which uses the list icon.
Reusable blocks are now highlighted in purple in the list view (as well as in the editor). This makes them easier to spot among the regular blocks.
New block settings and appearance tabs
The Block options in the Settings panel will be split into two tabs for some of the more complex blocks. The panel is divided into “Settings” and “Appearance” tabs.
Settings appear on the left, and appearance options are on the right.
This update affects some Core blocks, including Cover, Columns, and Media & Text blocks. We have yet to make this update to the Newspack blocks.
Settings icon updated
The Settings icon at upper right in the editor, next to the Update button, has been updated from a cog or gear to more of a sidebar icon. This helps better represent what the button does, opening and closing that panel. It also helps differentiate it from the new block-level settings tab, which uses the cog or gear icon.
Block inserter updates
A number of changes have been made to the block inserter, which can be opened by selecting the “+” icon in the upper left corner of the editor.
First, the Patterns selector panel has been updated so it no longer uses a drop-down menu to list the types of patterns. Instead, the full list is immediately visible.
A new Media tab has also been added, which acts as a shortcut to files in your Media Library (the Images, Videos, and Audio options). It also offers the option to use images from Openverse, a directory of media that’s part of the WordPress project and all has Creative Commons licenses.
Last, the Reusable Blocks tab has been updated from a text label to an icon label, the familiar double diamond icon, to create more space.
Copying styles from block to block
The toolbar menu option now lets you copy and paste styles from one block to another.
This update is handy, but comes with a couple caveats.
First, your browser will likely prompt you for permission to view what’s on your clipboard before it can paste the styles.
Second, this functionality only copies the styles set in the right sidebar — so things like text colors, background colors, and font sizes. It does not pick up styles that are set using the block’s formatting toolbar, such as Bold, Italics, or text alignment.
This has to do with how the styles are handled — most of the styles in the block formatting toolbar change the block’s HTML, which can’t be copied and pasted in the same way as styles.
You can work around this limitation by using the Typography Appearance options (under the “…” menu in the Typography panel) to change the text’s font weight and style in a way that can be copied.
Distraction-free writing experience
A new “Distraction free” writing experience is available under the Options menu, which hides everything from view except your blocks. Moving the cursor to the top of the browser window will make the top bar — and the Options menu — return to view.
Some new keyboard shortcuts have been added to the editor to make formatting a little easier.
You can now transform a Paragraph block into a Heading block by selecting the paragraph and typing
control + option + 1 to 6.
alt + [arrow key] can now be used to navigate between different blocks:
alt + up or
alt + left will move up through the blocks, and
alt + down or
alt + right will move down.
When the cursor is inside a Paragraph block,
alt + up will move the cursor to the start of the block. If you’re already at the start, it moves you to the previous block.
Similarly, if the cursor is in the middle of a Paragraph block,
alt + down will move it to the end of the block.
Improvements to selecting multiple blocks
Selecting multiple blocks has been made more visually consistent, and it’s a bit easier!
On top of the more general editor improvements, some blocks also have some new features as of 6.2.
When adding a Group block to the editor, you’ll now see a variation picker as a starting point, similar to how the Columns block functions. This lets you easily choose between a regular Group, Row, or Stacked block.
The option to Ungroup a Group block (to remove the outer Group block without removing its internal child blocks) has been renamed to Unwrap.
The Columns block now also has an Unwrap option in the block toolbar, which is a huge usability improvement for this block! Before WordPress 6.2, if you wanted to remove a Columns block but keep the blocks that were nested inside of it, you would need to drag and drop them out of the block before deleting it.
Block captions (Image, Gallery, Audio, and Video blocks)
Before WordPress 6.2, when you inserted an Image, Gallery, Audio, or Video block that didn’t have a caption set, it would display a caption placeholder when you selected the block. This could cause the editor contents to shift unexpectedly.
In WordPress 6.2, the caption placeholder for these blocks will be hidden under a toggle in the block formatting toolbar. If the image, audio, or video file you’re inserting doesn’t already have a caption in the Media Library, you will need to toggle on this option to add one.
If your image, audio, or video file already has a caption set in the Media Library, toggling this option off will hide it. However, toggling it back on will not return the original caption — you will be left with an empty caption for that block. The caption will still be safely stored in the Media Library, but if you would like to re-add it, you’ll need to copy it from there, or reinsert the media file.
Image blocks can now be dragged and dropped into empty Paragraph blocks to transform them into Image blocks.
You can now remove the first list item from a list block by putting the cursor at the start and typing delete or backspace — this will turn it into its own Paragraph block, separate from the List block.
Typography support has been added to each List item within the block, so you can change size, case, etc. of each individual item in a list, not just the whole block.
Similar to the List block, you can now remove the first paragraph in a Quote block by putting the cursor at the start of the paragraph and hitting backspace — this will turn it into its own Paragraph block, separate from the Quote block.
This is a small change, but the focal-point picker in the Cover block has had a small revamp, and is now much larger.
While we don’t use the Navigation block on many Newspack sites yet, it’s also getting some nice usability improvements in WordPress 6.2.
As part of the new Settings and Appearance block options tabs, the Navigation block gets a third List tab in the block options, so you can manage its menu items in the block sidebar.
You can now add Spacer blocks to the Navigation block, to help adjust how the menu items are spaced out.
As always, if you have questions about these changes, please open a new request in the
#newspack-help Slack channel.