Gutenberg AND the Classic Editor in WordPress: Changing Older Posts to Gutenberg Blocks

If you’ve fallen in love with Gutenberg, you may want to work on changing your old “classic” posts to the new “block” style. I know you are probably cringing at the idea of this. I know this may even be the one main issue stopping you from even trying Gutenberg.  I thought I was going to have problems, converting my old blog posts in the classic editor to Gutenberg. Turns out, it’s a snap.  Here’s how! 

How Blocks “Work”

Unlike the classic editor, every element of a post is put into it’s own block. The heading is a block. The paragraph is a block. A picture is a block. If you want to move the heading, paragraph AND picture in the classic editor, you just highlight them all, use the Delete Key Combination (Ctrl-X or Command-X)—and then the Move Key Combo (Ctrl-V or Command-V) to put all of these where you want to go.

Gutenberg only works in my established blog (this one) using the Black Editor.  In the new blog (Second Helpings), I don’t have to go there. It works VERY WELL, right from the “blue editor” –where it replaced the classic editor.   In my established blog, I ONLY HAVE ACCESS to the “classic” editor while in “blue mode.”  I have to go to the black editor and that is a  pain in the …er…neck.  I can only edit content in the blue classic editor. 

In Second Helpings, I could highlight, delete and move blogs EFFORTLESSLY while in the block (Gutenberg) editor — in the blue mode.   When I went to try this in the black editor on the established blog, the scroll bars didn’t even really scroll due to a version of SEO Yoast that wasn’t updated.  I couldn’t highlight blocks or move them. YOAST was not budging. 

 Turns out, I had an older version of the SEO Yoast Premium plug-in.   Don’t let this happen to you! 🙂

TIP: If you’re using the SEO Yoast plug-in, you may need to update it to get Gutenberg to work properly.  

This can also happen with the updated Yoast.  Keep scrolling down and the problem should resolve itself. 🙁

More Odd Quirks

If you have written something in the classic editor, and then you go back to try and edit it using the Gutenberg editor, you get some odd things.  The original content (in the classic editor) stays in a “classic editor block.”   You end up with a mixed editor Gugenberg block AND classic editor blog post!  

I started this piece using the classic editor in “blue mode”, figured out the problem I was having with Yoast, and switched to the black editor and edited with Gutenberg.  Rather than having a “half and half” post, I thought I’d try to transfer the text into appropriate blocks. It was time consuming and tedious. It was also pointless!  Gutenberg has made this EASY. 

When I tried to move multiple content which would have different block types,  Gutenberg moved them into a “classic editor” block, like so:

This is what text from  the “classic editor” block looked like in the Gutenberg editor.

The “classic editor” block acts like a miniature version of the classic editor. The three little dots provides you the option to CONVERT the material to BLOCKS!  I totally missed this.

The Three Little Option Dots on the Side allow this CONVERSION!

And further good news is that if you’ve edited using blocks, you can EASILY cut and paste all different kinds of blocks from one post to another post, or move them within a single post. Just select all the blocks at one go (Command X or Ctrl-X) and put them where you want them..


About the Blue and Black “Editors”

In a previous post, I discussed the “black editor” — it’s really just the “classic” editor in black pajamas. It’s the oldest interface, the place where you have your plug-ins and other special widgets and gizmos that make the blog run. If you are using SEO Yoast, a plug in to improve your writing and your attractiveness to the various crawlers that rate and rank your blog for search engines, then you’ll have to use the black editor to get access to those features.  

Frankly, I have a love-hate relationship with SEO Yoast. It updates frequently and I have experienced occasional difficulties when trying to update it on my site– I’ve spent many hours struggling with that thing. It has awful, terrible, very-bad tech support. It does provide good writing guidance and a few little tricks here and there. I suspected was it at the bottom of my problem with Gutenberg. And indeed it was!

So, yes, there is some pain with Gutenberg with SEO Yoast, but Gutenberg is still a big advancement.   I just want it to be the default editor in the BLUE editing mode! 

More soon ~ Lola.



Author: Lola

Recovering academic, real-life, honest to cornflakes anthropologist (Ph.D. and fieldwork and everything), tech-head and social media researcher.

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