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Do you have Gutenberg questions before updating?

Are you one who has yet to update to WordPress 5 and have Gutenberg questions? If not, is it because the Gutenberg editor is now your official default editor?

Gutenberg is now part of the recent release of WordPress 5. It’s supposed to be cutting-edge editor capability that replaces the older TinyMCE editor that you are so comfortable with. It uses the concept of blocks to let you build a page of content elements that you can move around. Basically, each element is its own block so that everything is almost independent of each other.

With competition from the likes of Squarespace and Wix apparently is the reason that WordPress moved in the direction of a block editor. The claim is that WordPress needs to stay ahead of the pack, but to do that it requires an aggressive change. Enter WordPress 5.0 and the Gutenberg editor.

I can go through a lot more about the editor, but this article is more about questions and answers. For more information, please read the official Gutenberg Handbook to learn more about the how and why of the new WordPress editor.

We also have another article about the arrival of this block editor.

Gutenberg Questions

People still have a lot of questions about Gutenberg, more than they do about WordPress 5. I know this because there are a lot of blog articles with answers to common Gutenberg questions. So on that note, let me delve into the “most” common questions people are asking.

Do I Have to Use Gutenberg?

The short answer to this question is no. However, in about two years, you will have to use it, and this is why…

WordPress knows about the backlash that people have about the new block editor and know many will want to keep using their Classic Editor. What they decided to do is offer the old classic editor as a plugin. Therefore, if you don’t want to use Gutenberg, you can install the classic editor plugin.

The problem is roughly around December 31, 2021, the classic editor will no longer be supported in WordPress. Heartbreaking, I know, but with the direction WordPress is going, many things will become obsolete.

Will My Plugins and Theme Work?

For the most part, yes. One way to find out if your plugins will work is to go to the wordpress.org website’s plugin directory and do a search for the plugin you are using. Type the name into the search field and when the results show up, look for the “Tested with…” line:

Woocommerce WordPress 5 compatibility

If it shows that this plugin is tested with 5.0.0 or higher, then you know you are 100% compatible. Anything less, we recommend contacting the plugin’s developer.

For themes, this is a bit different. The best way is to contact the theme developer directly and find out if your theme works in WordPress 5 and supports the Gutenberg editor.

Overall, WordPress 5.0 should work fine with any theme, but the developer may need to add in Gutenberg-specific features like block styling and full-width images. The same goes for page builders; there’s a chance that your custom work needs some fine-tuning. Probably not something you wanted to hear, but we recommend you test things out on a staging site location. Basically, this is a test site that you can check for problems before you go live with it.

Is Gutenberg a Page Builder?

This is a mixed bag of answers from many sources, but in my own opinion, yes, it is a page builder. Albeit, it’s not a full on page builder as the popular solutions like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Divi, and many others.

The fact is, Gutenberg is a page builder; just a minor version of one. However, wait a couple years and you will see it become a fully functional page builder. I say this because of where WordPress is heading.

In case you are wondering about additional Gutenberg questions relating to page builders and if the one you might be using can still be used? I have to say yes, although you should contact the page builder’s developer (website). In some cases, they are making updates that work and/or complement the new block editor.

What are Blocks?

Blocks are the foundation of how you build content with the new editor…which is why it’s called a block editor. The idea is to give you a core list of elements that you can add to your post or page. Such as shortcodes, images, videos, widgets, columns, quotes, and paragraphs, to name a few.

As we’ve said before, this new editor is a page builder because page builders use blocks. Choose the block you want, insert it into your content and then add your content to it. Each element you add into your page becomes a self-contained block of content.

One of the benefits of using blocks is that you can rearrange them in your page by dragging them or using the arrows that are found on the left side of the block.

As WordPress continues to transition over time, you will see more core blocks being added, but also more third-party block plugins being developed.

What will happen to my content?

The most asked Gutenberg questions often relate to “what will happen to my content” when updating to WordPress 5.

The good news is that your content will still be there and the assumption is that everything will probably be fine. Your existing posts and page content will still be in the classic editor format; this could change once you open the post or page up in the editor.

Of course, you can convert your existing content to blocks whenever you want, although some may have trouble converting to blocks. If you decide to convert your content to blocks, you may need to check every post to make sure it does it correctly.

When you make new content, then you can dive right into creating an official Gutenberg block based page of content.

What will happen to my shortcodes?

A lot of older websites that use(d) plugins or themes that have shortcodes should continue to work.

Shortcodes will exist in separate shortcode block, and you can keep using them as you did before. However, we recommend converting shortcodes into actual blocks for better compatibility. This way, your shortcode content becomes visual content, and you can see what happens when you add it to a post.

We should also mention that the new block editor does have a shortcode block. Insert it into your page content and then add your shortcode to it.

Shortcode Block

How do I Disable Gutenberg if I Update to WordPress 5?

Updating to WordPress 5 will have Gutenberg as your default editor. But what happens if you update to version 5 but don’t want the new editor? This is found to be part of the overall common Gutenberg questions you will see on Google.

You can install the Classic Editor plugin, activate it, then head over to the Settings >> Writing >> and make adjustments to the options. You have the choice to always use the classic editor and/or have the ability to choose which editor on a per-post-basis.

Once you have the classic editor active, your block editor is disabled, allowing you to take advantage of WordPress 5; just no Gutenberg.

In Summary

With Gutenberg questions always being asked, there are plenty more than what we’ve listed here. If you can think of one that we have not answered, let us know and we will be happy to add it to this post.

If you found this article helpful, please share it for others, in case they are asking the same questions.

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