Site Editor

The Site editor allows you to design the entire site including the header, footer, and everything in between, with blocks. It gives you greater control over how your site looks. 

The Site Editor is only available when you install and activate a Block theme on your site.

How to access the Site editor

To work with the Site editor, you need to use a block theme on your site. A block theme is a theme that uses blocks for all parts of a site, including navigation menus, header, content, and site footer. 

All blocks that are available in the WordPress Block editor can be used in the Site editor. A set of blocks called Theme blocks are specifically built for the Site editor.

To find block themes, from the WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes and click Add New. In the Add Themes page, select Block Themes to find the growing list of Block themes in the WordPress theme directory.

How to find a block theme
How to find a block theme

Once you install and activate a Block theme on your site, go to Appearance > Editor (beta) to open the Site Editor.

Appearance Menu once you activate a block theme
Appearance menu after activating a block theme

The Site Editor workspace

The Site editor loads the home page of your site (based on what you have set in the Reading Settings) to start editing.

The top menu in the Site editor includes the following options:

Site Editor top menu
Site editor top menu
  1. The site icon (or the W icon, if no site icon is set for the site): Return to the dashboard or switch to editing templates or template parts. If you choose to return to the dashboard, it will prompt you to save the changes or leave the Site editor without saving the changes.
  1. The + Block inserter button: Add a new block, block pattern, or reusable block (if the site has reusable blocks) to the Site editor.
Block inserter panel
Block inserter panel
  1. Tools: Switch between editing a block and selecting a block. Choose the Select tool (or press the Escape key on your keyboard) to select individual blocks. Once a block is selected, press the Enter key on your keyboard to return to editing.
Edit/select buttons in the WordPress block editor workspace
Edit/Select buttons
  1. UndoUndo the most recent action taken.
  2. RedoRedo an action you reversed using the Undo button.
  3. List View: See a list of all of the blocks that are on the page and easily navigate between the blocks on your page. This is useful for seeing the page’s structure and editing, moving, and removing blocks.
  4. Templates: The name of the template you are editing.
    • Click the down arrow, next to the name of the template to open a drop-down menu.
    • Under Areas, you can find all the template parts in the current template.
    • Click the three-dot icon next to the template part and click Edit to edit that selected template part.
    • You can click Browse all templates to view all your site’s templates.
    • You can click Clear customizations to restore the template to the default state (you will lose all the changes you made to that template).
  1. View: You can view the site homepage in a new tab and see what your site looks like with the changes applied. You can also view the site in a Desktop, Tablet, or Mobile View.
View drop down options
View options
  1. SaveSave the changes you made in the Site editor.
    • When you click the Save button, you will get a list of all the templates and template parts where you have made changes.
    • You can choose to save all or just some of them.
    • Note that some changes (like changes to the Header and Footer templates) will apply to all pages of your site that use those templates, and not just the page you were working on.
  1. Settings: Show or hide the Template and Block Settings sidebar menu.
  1. StylesBrowse style variations available for the theme you have, set the typography, color palettes, and layout for the entire site, or customize the appearance of specific blocks for the whole site.
  2. More Options: Click the three vertical dots icon to open additional settings and tools.
More options
More options

View: Top toolbar-Display or hide the top toolbar in the editor. When you enable this option, block toolbars are pinned to the top of the WordPress block editor (right under the top toolbar) instead of appearing directly above the block.

Top toolbar enabled
Top toolbar enabled

Spotlight mode: All blocks are greyed out except for the one you’re working on so that you can focus on a single block at a time.

Spotlight mode
Spotlight mode

Editor: By default, you will be in the Visual editor. Switch to the Code editor to view the entire page in HTML code editor.

Plugins: Here, you can switch between Settings and Styles in the Site editor Sidebar.

Tools: Here, you can download your theme with the updated templates and styles (Export), learn keyboard shortcuts, visit the Site Editor welcome guide, copy all blocks, or view additional support articles.

Preferences: Use the Preferences menu to customize the editing experience and change how you interact with blocks.

How to use the Site Editor

To edit the site’s styles

You can use the Site Editor to customize the styles for the entire website and for the blocks. Styles settings are available regardless of what template or template part you are editing. 

  • Go to Appearance > Editor (beta).
  • Click the Styles icon next to the block settings sidebar.
Styles panel

In the Styles section, you can browse the style variations available for the theme you have, change the color palettes and typography, and layout across the entire site and also change the appearance of blocks which are also applicable across the whole site.

To reset the changes you made, click the three-dot menu icon in the right corner and select Reset to defaults.

Learn more about Styles in this support article: Styles overview.

To customize the site’s layout

You can use the Site Editor to build the structure and layout of your entire site, using blocks. Eg: areas like headers, footers, and the structural appearance of your site’s posts and pages.

All blocks that are available in the WordPress Block Editor can be used in the Site Editor. A set of blocks called Theme blocks are specifically built for the Site Editor.

Examples: the Query Loop Block allows you to customize the look and feel of your post layout, the Navigation Block lets you customize the site’s navigation menu, the Site Title Block helps to customize the Site Title and more.

Check out the full list of Theme blocks.

To browse the templates and template parts

From the Site editor, you can easily browse the templates and templates parts available for your site.

  • Go to Appearance > Editor (beta) to open the Site editor.
  • Click on the WordPress icon (or Site icon if you have set one) to open the Site editor left navigation.
  • Click on Templates to view the list of templates available for your site.
  • Click on Template Parts to view the list of template parts.

To manage the site’s templates

WordPress uses templates to create the layout and structure for specific page types on your site. The Site Editor displays the template choices that you can add to your site and lets you create custom templates using the Template Editor.

From the Appearance > Editor (beta), click the WordPress icon (or Site icon if you have set one) to open the Site Editor left navigation. Click Templates to view the list of templates available including those that came bundled with your block theme and the custom ones you created from the Template Editor.

Accessing Templates in the Site Editor
Accessing Templates in the Site Editor

Learn more about Templates in this support article: Template Editor.

To manage the template parts

A Template part is a block for managing the repeating global areas of the site such as a Header, Footer, Sidebar, etc. They are primarily meant to define the site structure and can be reused. You can also create custom Template Parts that can be reused through the templates.

From the Appearance > Editor (beta), click the WordPress icon (or Site icon if you have set one) to open the Site Editor left navigation. Click Template Parts to view the list of template parts created for your theme.

Accessing the Template Parts
Accessing the Template Parts

Learn more about Template Parts in this support article: Template Part.

How to return to the Dashboard

To go back to your dashboard, click the WordPress icon (or Site icon if you have set one) to open the Site Editor left navigation. Select Dashboard to take you back to your WordPress dashboard. You will be prompted to save the changes you have made in the Site Editor before leaving.

How to export templates and styles

You can export your theme with the changes you made in the Site Editor including the templates, template parts, and style settings, similar to the Tools > Export option.

  • Open the Site Editor by going to Appearance > Editor (beta).
  • Select the three vertical dots icon next to your Styles settings option.
  • Under Tools, select Export. This will begin the export process and you will receive a downloaded zip file of your theme with the templates and template parts included.
Export your templates and styles

Useful tools when using the Site Editor

The following tools are helpful when using the Site Editor.

List View

List View helps you navigate complex block layouts and nested block structures. You can select exactly which block you need, and get a quick overview of the block layout on the page you are working on. You can easily select multiple blocks and edit, move or group them.

Learn more about List View in this support article:  List View.

Block Patterns

Block Patterns are a collection of predefined blocks that you can insert into posts and pages. You can then customize them further. WordPress comes with a set of standard Block Patterns. You can also find Block Patterns bundled with the block themes.

Learn more about Block Patterns in this support article: Block Pattern..

Changelog

  • Updated 2022-10-17
    • Updated content and screenshots/video for 6.1
  • Updated 2022-05-17
    • Reworking the content & updating videos/screenshots for 6.0
  • Created 2022-01-05

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