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Backstage at the Blog: O is for Options

April 17, 2014

O © A Scenic RouteAt first glance, backstage at a WordPress blog can look pretty intimidating.

Blue and grey buttons are everywhere. A big black bar hangs ominously overhead. A sidebar with little grey icons climbing up its length nudges at the words on the screen.

How is a writer supposed to think with all this junk on the desktop?

Fortunately, you have options!

There are a multitude of ways the dashboard can be configured when composing posts to eliminate the clutter and give a clearer view of the words and pictures.

Distraction Free WritingThe first of these is the Distraction Free Writing mode accessed by clicking this button with four arrows on the toolbar.

Suddenly, whoosh!Distraction Free Screen

The screen becomes a nice white field and your words can march across it like ants through a marshmallow factory. When you’re done composing your post, hovering at the top of the screen reveals a toolbar. Just click Exit fullscreen and the magic portal will take you back to the regular dashboard.

Toolbar ToggleAnother feature that I only recently discovered is the toolbar toggle button. Clicking on it hides or reveals what used to be called the kitchen sink, where you’ll find functions like the undo, text color and special character features.

For those of you who like to show off your html skillz, WordPress has an option just for you. Merely click the ‘text’ tab, and instead of the WYSIWYG interface, you’ll be presented with something that looks like this:Screen shot 2014-03-29 at 1.29.21 PM


That’s just a few of the screen options I’ve encountered in my WordPress adventures. How about you? What kind of options do you use in your blogging endeavors?

(Here’s your link back to the A to Z Challenge Sign Up list.)

  1. April 17, 2014 6:51 am

    Ants through a marshmallow factory. Those are happy ants!

    • April 17, 2014 9:41 pm

      And those are happy words on my screen! 🙂

  2. April 17, 2014 6:53 am

    I’ve learned something new today. Thank you! I didn’t know about that whoosh! Option 🙂

    • April 17, 2014 9:58 pm

      Hi Rebecca,
      Since I’ve been composing the A to Z posts on WordPress, I’ve found the full screen to be a much more relaxing way to write. I only wish other distractions were as easy to whoosh away! 😉

  3. April 17, 2014 8:14 am

    Thanks for the tips! I do find all the clutter distracting, so I do my composing in a word doc and then cut and paste into the new post field. The formatting usually translates without a hitch, and when it doesn’t, I can just go back in and edit.

    (“The screen becomes a nice white field and your words can march across it like ants through a marshmallow factory” has got to be one of the most appropriate similes I’ve ever seen. Awesome.)

    • April 17, 2014 10:00 pm

      The ants didn’t appear until the final revision of this post … but I was happy when they did. 🙂
      I usually paste my longer posts in as well, but it’s nice to have the clear screen for the intense revisions or when I choose to compose here.

  4. susan permalink
    April 17, 2014 10:13 am

    this is a great theme and I wish I had seen it three years ago when I started WordPress. I still go through hell when they change something, which is often, but I’m pretty good with the site now. Well not true – I still have issues if want pics and words next to them but … it’s ok

    • April 17, 2014 10:02 pm

      I love this theme too, Susan, but as you’ll see when I feature the letter ‘T’, my love story has a sad ending …
      Finding a good theme is important though, I agree.

  5. April 17, 2014 11:30 am

    I like that distraction-free writing mode. I never really explore all my options when it comes to most programs. I really should, though!

    • April 17, 2014 10:03 pm

      I’m not that much of a computer person really, but I do love to play with different features. Distraction-free mode was a nice discovery for me. 🙂

  6. lonitownsend permalink
    April 17, 2014 2:02 pm

    “For those of you who like to show off your html skillz” – Ha! I’ll admit I’m one of those people, and pretty much always write my posts in the text editor.

    Good tips! I’m self-hosted, but still use the WordPress framework.

    • April 17, 2014 10:06 pm

      One of the reasons I went with WordPress is that I’ve been told I can port all this over to a self-hosted site eventually. I would hate to be learning the wrong software.
      People like you who work in html amaze me!

  7. April 17, 2014 2:46 pm

    Lol loved this!

    I definitely try to keep my blog simple and clean. I sort of get this weird headache when I think of technology, especially computer technology. Though I definitely learned something from you – I had no idea about the toolbar toggle. So, thank you. 🙂

    • April 17, 2014 10:08 pm

      Thanks, Sara!
      I’m not a fan of learning a lot technology either, but when my Muse has a vision, I have to buckle down and get us there. I’m happy to share what I’ve picked up on the way. 🙂

  8. April 17, 2014 6:55 pm

    I don’t use my WordPress account for blogging yet (still hanging onto BlogSpot although I have an account set up for later) but will definitely refer back here when I do. Thank you.
    Gail visiting for AtoZ

    • April 17, 2014 10:10 pm

      Hi Gail,
      I hopped over to your WP account the first time I wanted to visit, and it looks great over there!
      I’ll probably put all these posts on a separate page for future reference once the A to Z is over. Quite a few people have mentioned an interest in referring to them. 🙂

  9. April 17, 2014 11:29 pm

    Great theme this year! I feel like I can get to know my own blog a little better.

    • April 18, 2014 7:11 am

      I’m glad you like it! Sharing a little of my experience so others can learn something while having fun is exactly what I’m going for. 🙂

  10. April 18, 2014 8:31 am

    I don’t use Word press I use blogger; , but your post is still inspired me to check out the capabilities in different options under different tools. Thank you so much.

    • April 18, 2014 3:39 pm

      You’re welcome, Debi!
      I’ll bet there are all kinds of cool options on blogger as well. 🙂

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