Article Note: This article was first published on 11th December 2014. We have last updated this article on 15th June 2018 with fresh information.
I’ve got nothing but praise for WordPress’s powerful TinyMCE WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. Its simplicity and a high degree of functionality create a pleasant user experience.
As we all know, however, web design applications are constantly evolving and improvements and upgrades can mean the difference between great and extraordinary. Let’s investigate four free plugins that can supercharge the built-in WordPress WYSIWYG editor.
1. TinyMCE VisualBlocks
An easy-to-use plugin, the TinyMCE has been developed for more than 10 years. It is one of the most stable WYSIWYG Editors available in the market. It is open source software that offers robust cross-browser performance. VisualBlocks also provides a set of professional features to premium members. The plugin speaks more than 40 languages.
Why you’ll love it: The pixel perfect UI is beautiful to look at! It offers a refined user experience. You can customize the available skins or create a new skin. It makes sure the content is readable and makes it easy to spot typos. Ensure no more broken links are there in the content. You can match copy paste content to styles of your preference.
Possible downfalls: There is a gap between content and widget title. It requires WordPress 3.1 or higher. There are no extra composer controls available. Some developers have also faced issues with the load time of TinyMCE. You may have to write a custom placeholder or variable plugin and it may be very difficult to style and customize.
Zedity gives users lots of freedom and an added degree of simplicity. You can drag and drop, and it offers compatibility with more than 20 different visual and audio services. This plugin was definitely created with optimal minimalism in mind – it strives to give users without much experience free rein and flexibility.
Why you’ll love it: It saves time and it’s easy for new web designers to use. It offers lots of support and plenty of tutorials, which any new user can appreciate. If you’re a DIYer or new to the world of web design, this plugin is one to at least consider. Simply click the Z icon and start creating content.
Possible downfalls: It’s a bit too basic for advanced web designers, as it’s more geared for simplicity and offering lots of tutorials, possibly rendering it useless for some designers. It’s still a relatively newer plugin, which means it’s likely still working out some kinks.
A visual editor to adjust the margins and borders of any image, the Advanced Image Styles is a good plugin for image styles on a regular basis. It allows the user to control the space around an image or put a box around the image. Earlier the WordPress Media Manager controlled these settings but this feature was removed since WordPress 3.5.
Why you’ll love it: The Advanced Image Styles is the easiest and most reliable way to create different styles of galleries on your WordPress site. The galleries are responsive and work well. It has not only restored the advanced settings of WordPress Media Manager but expanded upon them. It is possible to apply padding in all four directions instead of two sides. With this plugin, you can also apply the color border.
Possible downfalls: The plug-in is still not merged with WordPress.com database. So, members of WordPress.com still cannot enjoy the features of this plug-in. In case a user switches to a new theme that is not compatible with the color of image border, each image needs to be handled individually. It locks the user to specific themes.
This favorite plugin offers features galore and nice stability between authority and ease of use. The standard of WordPress, TinyMCE Editor is known as a classic.
Why you’ll love it: TinyMCE offers users a customizable toolbar, a table function, and an advanced list feature. You can add buttons to insert the date and time with a single click, use custom font families instead of one theme and insert emoticons. Furthermore, it has extendable plugins, support for themes and is AJAX compatible. Did I mention there’s a search-and-replace function built right into the editor? Impressive.
Possible downfalls: This plugin leaves out features that may confuse novice users, but at least there’s always the option to add things in the plain text HTML editor. I have found that this plugin does not always play nice with other plugins, so if you are having issues this should be the first thing you deactivate.
The Advanced TinyMCE Configuration is intended for advanced users of WordPress who would like to make a change to default TinyMCE settings. This plugin allows you to make changes to all TinyMCE settings from one place. You can change default editor settings or add more options to it. Thus, you can fully customize the layout of WordPress Editor.
Why you’ll love it: The plugin makes it easy to change, add or remove all TinyMCE settings. By customizing the editor, the editor menu allows you to access features that are not used frequently. You can also configure up to four rows of buttons. It includes around 15 plug-ins that are automatically enabled or disabled.
Possible downfalls: If you are not a developer, using The Advanced TinyMCE Configuration can be complex. You need to have proper knowledge of WordPress editors before making changes to the TinyMCE configurations settings. It is not easy to limit the editor from converting special characters.
Regardless of your needs as a web designer, we all can appreciate WordPress and its many plugin options. There’s something for everyone and something for every project. WordPress is always working to improve the platform and offer more useful options.
What plugin do you use to accentuate your experience with WordPress WYSIWYG editor? Share your favorite plugins in the comments below.
This article is written by Adrienne Erin. She is a freelance designer and avid blogger who writes about graphic design and WordPress at Design Roast. Follow her on Twitter at @adrienneerin to see more of her work or to get in touch!
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