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The WordPress system is based on three primary areas of content management, Posts, Pages, and Widgets. The Posts and Pages are edited from their prospective editor windows in the administrative section of the website. The Widget content is controlled from the Widgets area in the Administrative area. Most WordPress websites have the easily identified sidebars on either right, left or both sides of the main content window of the website that widgets can be place in. Most WordPress themes also have widget areas on the top and bottom of the main content window.
Widgets come in many forms, everything from simple text boxes to complete WYSIWYG content editors. Widgets are very specific types of additional content that you can place into the designated areas of your website. Your basic WordPress setup will come with a few basic widgets pre-installed. You can install additional widgets into your WordPress website by adding Plugins.
Plugins give your website additional functionality. For example the right sidebar of this website has several widgets in it. The first widget is a simple text widget that contains code for the social share buttons. Text widgets are pre-installed with WordPress. The next widget is a Search Widget that returns related content for any given keyword. The next widget comes from the JetPack plugin and it manages a subscription service that will automatically send an email to the subscriber when a new post is generated.
For this lesson that is all we will cover on plugins and widgets and we will concentrate on Posts and Pages. The first thing you will want to do is to learn the location of elements on the administrative panel. When you log into the WordPress administrative planned you will be taken to the Dashboard by default. There are two main areas of any page in the admin panel, the menu bar on the left and the content window on the right.
The menu bar will expand and contract on demand. If you click on the arrow down on the gray menu item it will expand the sub menu beneath that and keep it open until you click on the arrow down again. If you click on the menu item its self you can also expose the sub menu but when you go to another menu item the sub menu will automatically close again.
You will need to organize your work space so you can best find everything you need. In the main content area of every page is the Screen Options button. Click on the Screen Options and a pull down menu will come out. You can select the items in the main content window you want to display so you can remove parts of the window you do not use. For example on my Page edit window I hide Custom Fields, Discussion, Slug, Author, and Revisions because I never use them. You can also drag the elements on that page to new locations with the exception of the content editor. You can also expand most content boxes by clicking on the bottom right of the box, holding down the mouse button while you drag the mouse and box down. Release the mouse when you have opened the box to the desirable size.
The main content editor of both Posts and Pages have two basic modes. Visual and Text and the buttons are on the top right of the main consent editor. We will stick to using the visual editor in this lesson. The top menu bar for the main content editor contains your formatting tools. They work very similar to the way Microsoft Word works. If you run your mouse over the buttons they will drop down a box with what that button does. For example the B button will make a section of text bold. You will notice that 3 of the buttons will not be active. The Link and Unlink buttons will only activate when you highlight a section of text to link.
Rich Editing Basics
- Rich editing, also called WYSIWYG for What You See Is What You Get, means your text is formatted as you type. The rich editor creates HTML code behind the scenes while you concentrate on writing. Font styles, links and images all appear approximately as they will on the internet.
- WordPress includes a rich HTML editor that works well in all major web browsers used today. However editing HTML is not the same as typing text. Each web page has two major components: the structure, which is the actual HTML code and is produced by the editor as you type, and the display, that is applied to it by the currently selected WordPress theme and is defined in style.css. WordPress is producing valid XHTML 1.0 which means that inserting multiple line breaks (BR tags) after a paragraph would not produce white space on the web page. The BR tags will be removed as invalid by the internal HTML correcting functions.
- While using the editor, most basic keyboard shortcuts work like in any other text editor. For example: Shift+Enter inserts line break, Ctrl+C = copy, Ctrl+X = cut, Ctrl+Z = undo, Ctrl+Y = redo, Ctrl+A = select all, etc. (on Mac use the Command key instead of Ctrl). See the Hotkeys tab for all available keyboard shortcuts.