Support » Requests and Feedback » Can I modify the distraction free writing full screen mode?

  • Resolved hilaryh


    I have been trying to use the “distraction free writing” full-screen editor for days now and I simply cannot. It is a disability issue. The full screen mode from WP 3.1 was great – the embedded editor was way too cluttered but I could drop into flow and just work away in the old full screen mode. Upgraded to 3.2 and had this nightmare thrust upon me, have not been able to get anything out since.

    Is there a way to force it to give me back the full set of buttons and force it to leave them on the screen? Otherwise I guess I will have to find one of the offline editors, although I have resisted going that direction. Does anyone have a recommendation for one? Or is there a plugin that would give me a full screen editor like the old one? I don’t want to not upgrade because of this issue.

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)


    Lead Plugin Wrangler

    Is there a way to force it to give me back the full set of buttons and force it to leave them on the screen?

    The fading in and out is the problem? I just want to make sure I understand it.

    I appreciate the quick response, Ipstenu. And thanks for your question.

    The fading in and out makes it so impossible to use that I am not entirely sure what else is wrong. I have attempted to determine whether I can get a full set of buttons so as to be able to drop into true flow and it appears not. Much, though not all, of my writing is rich media, and not the commercial glow and rotate type. I specialize in visualization, creating original illustrations and graphics to explain complex ideas. I most certainly do not write linearly, but rather move around within a piece constructing it. I am in flow state while doing so. Different minds work differently. One size does not fit all.

    In the new editor, the post is framed in an odd way on the screen that bears no resemblance to how it will look on my blog, which is very, well, distracting. (As is the fade in and out each time I aim for the menu. It is highly reminiscent of math teachers insisting that there is only one way to solve math problems and look where that got us.)

    Writing the previous post helped clarify the situation in my head and I installed ScribeFire as a stop-gap. I will be exploring the range of offline blog editors at this point, and will not return to WP’s native composing environment until I am confident that a far more profound understanding of diversity is woven through the fabric of the WP decision-making culture.

    I put something out many times a day and had been making steady progress in my current project: integrating all of that onto my new WP site. Fundamentally altering the look-and-feel of tool that is fundamental to a substantial portion of someone’s communicatings is a huge cognitive insult. “I write, therefore I think.” “Writing the previous post helped clarify the situation ….” It would have been one thing had WP offered the two editors as alternatives, but to nonconsensually radically change a tool I use to think?

    I continue to believe in WordPress, continue to be very impressed by the platform and the community. This setback was a real shock, but no one is perfect and alternatives such as ScribeFire exist by design.

    The biggest problem by far is not allowing both editors when making such a fundamental shift. All others pale by comparison.

    Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)


    Lead Plugin Wrangler

    There are plugins already that MAY help you, but I’m going to toss this over to the Usability folks and they may have a better idea.

    I’m sure shortly there will be plugins to restore the old Full Screen editor, though.

    Thanks for the link. It provided desperately needed context. The Artsy Editor Plugin looks great, too bad that what ended up in WP 3.2 left out key design elements 🙁 I guess I’ll limp along with ScribeFire in the interim. I find that I am not comfortable paying for Artsy under the current circumstances.



    Community Organizer

    @hilaryh: It sounds like the issue is that you would like something different from what the new feature is intended to be. It’s not meant to be a full-screen version of the visual editor (like it used to be) or a representation of how something will look on your site/in your theme (like the front-end posting plugins), it’s meant to be a blank page upon which to write. Not having all the Visual Editor icons there is by intention. Definitely won’t suit everyone — specifically people who like to do a lot of formatting as they go along (Sadly, I’m one of them, too!). I would expect plugins to fill that gap quickly.

    I would like to ask about your use of the word “disability.” Your description of the problem seems to mostly be the fact that distraction-free mode doesn’t provide the same formatting options as the regular editor, not that there are issues of contrast, readability, keyboard access, click targets, etc. Can you just confirm that your complaint was with the non-inclusion of the rest of the editing buttons, and not an accessibility/Section 508 issue? Thanks.

    In the meantime, in the regular, non-full-screen visual editor, you can make the typing box as tall as your screen by dragging the lower right corner down. You could also use Screen Options to make the right column go away (the boxes would become full-width in the middle below the post box). You can also minimize the left-hand navigation by clicking on “Collapse Menu” below the menu. It won’t be completely blank like the dfw mode, but it will have a big post box with all the formatting tools you are used to.

    If an external editor works better for you, then please do use one. My only recommendation is to stick to one that knows how to talk to WordPress and won’t wind up putting weird formatting code into your posts.

    Hi Jane,

    I don’t do a lot of “formatting” as I go, I construct my communicatings as much as I write them. For larger pieces, for example, I generally start with the illustrations, as I am very visual. I move from illustrations to rich captions (a la Scientific American) to scaffolding together quotes and thoughts to topic sentences to pulling the whole thing together and rewrite. I have worn through so many versions of Williams on Style I wish I could buy stock in the man 🙂

    I take it as a compliment that folks have a hard time hearing me these days when I say disability, because I do mean it in the formal ADA sense. Formal, diagnosed, paper trail that could choke a horse. I would be willing to explore that further with you but not on this forum.

    This interaction really brings into relief the issues surrounding universal design. On the one hand, it can be a powerful positive force in that it helps designers avoid getting drawn (or even pushed) into a model of that is overly focused on delivering a canonical set of accomodations rather than on ways to facilitate users with disabilities. On the other hand, many members of the temporarily able bodied world do seem to have an extremely strong desire to believe in a single common solution for all users (vi! no, emacs! perl! python! php!) Flexibility is the key.

    I found the offline editors unsatisfactory. Writing close to the media, as it were, is very important to me. I ended up back in emacs briefly (the one true editor!) composing the post that will go out later tonight about this experience, along with several other pieces I have written in the past few days that are impatiently waiting to their turn as well. That was when I hit upon the solution you have suggested (great minds think alike?), although it did not work for me quite as you describe. I had to click on one column in the screen options to get full width editing.

    I appreciate the responsiveness of the WP team to my concerns. I should say that the post that is going out about this experience is quite pro Gershwin (my developer and designer sides are delighted! I am something of a testing freak, you see…) and very pro WP. I do recognize that thinking of the disability community in terms of true diversity is not the dominant model and that the entire area is quite treacherous.

    I came to this thread searching about the full screen editor, but I must say I am SHOCKED at the inability of the wordpress people to understand this person’s simple request:


    I hope that helps clarify the question, but oh so dense me figured it out in less than 1 sec.

    Jane is definitely out of line with her way over the top paternalistic (even if she is a woman) comments. This person is your customer and obviously the “team” screwed up royally on this. Admit your mistake and correct it.



    Community Organizer

    @scrollpost: Given that the original poster was happy with our responsiveness, I’m not sure what you hope to achieve by posting a flame on a 10-month-old thread. Dissenting opinions are fine, but this thread was already resolved.

    Sorry, but exactly how was he happy with what responsiveness?

    While apparently you responded quickly to his post, when you did it was in a very paternalistic manner. He was certainly polite in his response, but definitely not satisfied with your answers.

    And obviously by approaching him in that way, you missed the point.

    Fullscreen is a worthy abstraction for the editor, but the definition of that abstraction should be modifiable by the user. I suppose eventually we will see something but from a quick search progress is slow so far.

    If you take away a feature you must actively construct a trail for those users to help themselves. You can’t be all things to all people. And you can’t expect all people to agree with every decision. But by the grace of an excellent architecture you should leverage it.



    Community Organizer

    @scrollpost: I believe the original poster was a woman, not a man as your pronouns suggest. It’s unfortunate that you are dissatisfied with our work here, but after re-reading the thread I still think the discussion we had here 10 months ago was appropriate. As you said, we can’t be all things to all people.

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
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