Is there a true WYSIWYG Wordpress Editor?
March 30, 2013 7:24 PM   Subscribe

My wife has been forced to update and maintain her company blog. She is trying to create posts using the default online editor. I am watching her breakdown on a weekly basis while dealing with this. She hits backspace on a paragraph and the paragraph jumps to inside the caption box of the previous image. She creates a post, hits preview and nothing is even similar to what she was trying to create; text that was wrapping around an image is suddenly all messed up, weird breaks appear in paragraphs, Large blank spaces appear on the page. She has no experience with coding so getting her to actually code the post is tough. Is there an easy solution? I want to help her make her life easier.
posted by aburd to Technology (14 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I find that using online editors is a pain. For my own blog, I usually compose my articles using a ten year old copy of "Frontpage" (which Microsoft doesn't support anymore) and then copy over to the browser just before posting.

I don't have any names, but there are modern HTML-composition programs which could be used the same way. (But don't use Word; it produces godawful HTML you don't want anywhere near your website.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:32 PM on March 30, 2013

Is she pasting from Word? Because you really cannot do that in Wordpress.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:41 PM on March 30, 2013

Response by poster: She's doing all of her work in the editor.
posted by aburd at 7:46 PM on March 30, 2013

Best answer: Kompozer is free, cross-platform, and as decent a WYSIWYG editor as exists for HTML as far as I know. Here are some notes on using Kompozer with Wordpress.
posted by flabdablet at 7:48 PM on March 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Wordpress's editing behaviors are ridiculously and improbably bad for such a popular piece of software. Here's a list of common complaints and plugins that supposedly improve it.

However, I think it's not really the fault of the editor (TinyMCE) so much as the settings and filters Wordpress applies. Here's a plugin that supposedly resolves some of those issues. I'm sure there must be others like it.

On preview, I see the company site is at If she's the sole editor of the site, she could use an offline blog editor like MarsEdit, but someone re-editing her posts will probably encounter the same problems and mess up stuff she has posted.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 7:50 PM on March 30, 2013

Best answer: I was going to jump in an suggest using Kompozer too.

I manage about 15 WordPress blogs/sites, and if you don't feel like tweaking HTML by hand, it's pretty useful.

The issues with captions are pretty bad.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:59 PM on March 30, 2013

Best answer: Is there someone in that is supporting the website who can look into the actual files? I find that when buttons aren't working properly (for example Preview) it can be somewhere in the files set for your theme.

Notes for Wordpress.

Formatting a section of text as H1, H2, H3...etc (header formatting from the drop down in the visual text editor) generally will go to a new line below an image. For example if you have an image on the left and you want something to the right to be a header, it may jump below the image instead of next to it. This may be a cause for open/blank spaces.

If you click on the HTML editor tab and you see this code: & nbsp ; (no spaces) it may another reason why you are getting awkward spaces. (Read what that HTML code is here)

Note if you want to also get no double spacing between a paragraph you use Shift then Return (enter) to jump to the next line instead of a new paragraph.

In addition, is she using the media editor? That is when you hover over the photo and you get a red circle to delete, or the mountain image to edit. In that editor you can scale the image, which can help with text wrapping.

As others have said, paste your content into the paste function. It's in the section with all your text formatting. There is a copy paste for Word (the one with the W) and one for plain text (the box with the T). Use the box with the T to paste your text, then it will be plain text from the start - it removes formatting so you can start fresh.

I do TONS of work in Wordpress, and you just kind of have to learn it's little quirks. Basic HTML helps is some Googling may come up with easy solutions. That's how I learned.
posted by Crystalinne at 8:15 PM on March 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A recent issue that has come up and may have something to do with recent releases of WP "breaking" CSS is that photos have stopped being scalable within the image editor... dammit! I'm not sure if it is the dev or not (3rd party we collaborate with) but images often are difficult to format/align within the post on multiple blogs. So the default is left-aligned. Dammit!

So if I actually cared about how the stupid blog posts look (I'm responsible for high-quality writing optimized for SEO, and the devs are responsible for how it presents, so screw them) I would use Kompozer. But even so, there may be an issue with how the CSS is working with the site itself, and there may be nothing you can do easily.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:00 PM on March 30, 2013

Best answer: I have found Windows Live Writer to be really good. Beautiful and simple interface. Its free and comes with the Windows Live set of apps.
posted by theobserver at 11:17 PM on March 30, 2013

Best answer: The VISUAL mode in Wordpress is TERRIBLE. Anyone who uses it is cuckoo. I use Wordpress all day every day, but solely in "HTML" mode, so that exactly what I format is what appears.

Wordpress also interacts very nicely with Google Docs if you are doing it right. (Some people have professionalized this.)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:50 AM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A couple other ideas, just to put them out there:

- There's a Markdown plugin for Wordpress. More than one, in fact. Admittedly, your wife would need to learn Markdown, but that's a pretty low hurdle to clear. She'd need admin-level access to the blog to install it, or would need someone who does to do so.

- There are desktop Wordpress editors that she might find more congenial. Again, I think someone with admin access would need to enable XML-RPC publishing for the blog.
posted by adamrice at 7:24 AM on March 31, 2013

One thing to keep in mind is that true WYSIWYG editors for WordPress are challenging because, eventually, that HTML is going to live inside of a completely different set of CSS. If the CSS on the main page is setup well and correctly, this shouldn't cause too much trouble, but if she's having trouble that some of the up-thread solutions don't solve, that's a place to look for other issues.
posted by toomuchpete at 10:44 AM on March 31, 2013

Response by poster: You are all wonderful. We are going try out a few of these options. Her posts are fairly image heavy so that Kompozer with direct linked images sounds perfect!
posted by aburd at 12:02 PM on March 31, 2013

I just discovered Ultimate TinyMCE via Monsieur Caution's link. It's rather good, even with all the defaults set. Yay rollover images without delving into markup!
posted by scruss at 12:38 PM on March 31, 2013

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