WordPress 6.3 (released August 8, 2023) includes some new features, controls and changes to the blocks and editor. We’ve highlighted the most impactful updates below.
Reusable blocks get renamed, and the ability to create custom block patterns added Core
In WordPress 6.3, it will now be possible to create your own block patterns without installing a plugin.
This is part of a bigger overhaul of reusable blocks:
- The new block patterns are called “Unsynced Patterns”, because you can use them and make changes to them without it affecting other instances of the pattern on the site.
- Reusable blocks will be renamed “Synced Patterns”. They will continue to work the same way – any changes made to one will be synced across all instances on the site.
The process for creating both Unsynced and Synced Patterns is the same as it was previously for Reusable Block: you can select one or more blocks in the editor, and from the block toolbar, select “Create pattern/reusable block”:
Next, you’ll see a prompt asking you to name your pattern, and to choose whether it’s Synced (default; the usual reusable block behavior), or unsynced:
The Unsynced Patterns you create will be available at the top of the Patterns tab in the Block Inserter, in the section ‘My patterns’:
And your Synced Patterns, or Reusable Blocks, will continue to be available under the tab with the Reusable Blocks icon (which looks like a double-diamond):
Improved usability for the color palettes
The text and background color palettes now display the names underneath the color swatch, to improve readability.
Improved drag-and-drop editor behavior
The drag and drop behavior in the List View has been improved, making it easier to position the blocks at the top or bottom of the list.
When blocks are dragged into a container, like a Group block, they are now added to the bottom of the container, instead of the top.
Improved link editing UI
The UI for adding and editing links to text content in the editor has been improved and given an accessibility overhaul.
Updated padding controls
The padding controls have been split to display a separate vertical and horizontal padding control by default, and allow you to cycle through and select the top, left, right or bottom padding to adjust separately, or all four by selecting ‘Custom’.
New inline language switching option
WordPress 6.3 includes an inline language control, which lets you change the `lang` attribute for a short bit of text in your content, and even change the text direction.
The `lang` attribute can be helpful to search engines, and to assist the browser in picking glyph variants the language might need, or quotation marks.
New Margin control
A number of blocks now have a Margin control under the Dimensions panel, to allow you to adjust the vertical spacing around these blocks. This option has been added to the Group block, Cover block, Code block, Button block, Columns block, and Separator block.
New Details block
The new Details block lets you create a simple accordion-like panel, which can have a title (or “summary”) and additional information (“details”). You can stack multiple instances of this block to create a full accordion panel-like effect.
New Footnote block
Footnotes can be added to the bottom of post content and linked back to other content in the post.
The Footnote block itself can be placed anywhere in the content that you’d like the footnotes to appear. The inline text menu in the block toolbar can then be used to insert the footnotes in your post’s content.
Once you insert a footnote, a linked number will be inserted in the content, and a corresponding footnote will be added to the Footnote Block, where you can also manually add a text label:
WordPress 6.3 includes a few enhancements for the existing Image block:
You can now set an aspect ratio (choosing from presets or defining your own custom ratio) to force images to render with a specific aspect ratio. Here’s a video demo.
You can also now drag and drop images into an existing Image block in the editor to replace its image source.
The Cover block now lets you set a text color for the contents of the entire block, instead of having to target each block individually.
In WordPress 6.3, the Spacer blocks switches to the more standard slider control to change the block’s height. It also now allows you to switch between fixed pixels and the more arbitrary “stepped” height control, which uses values that will adjust for different screen sizes.
Individual images in the Gallery block now have the new Aspect ratio control, similar to the Image block.
The Gallery Block also now has a Block Spacing control, to allow you to change the spacing between the different images.
The Search block now has an option to display only the search button, which opens to display the full search field on click.
As always, if you have questions about these changes, please open a new request in the #newspack-help Slack channel.