What’s New in WordPress 6.1

WordPress 6.1

WordPress 6.1 “Misha” has been released on November 1, 2022. The third major release of the year follows WordPress 6.0 Arturo, released on May 24, and WordPress 5.9 Josephine, released on January 25.

As it always happens, new WordPress releases bring new features, improvements, and bug fixes from the latest versions of the Gutenberg plugin into the core. And WordPress 6.1 is no exception, as 11 versions of the Gutenberg plugin have been merged into the core, from 13.1 to 14.1.

Fluid Typography and Spacing

WordPress 6.1 adds support for Fluid Typography via calc/clamp CSS functions.

The expression Fluid typography describes the capacity of text to adapt to the viewport width, smoothly scaling from a minimum to maximum width.

It’s something different from what you can achieve with media queries, as media queries allow themes to resize text depending on specific viewport sizes but do nothing between different values.

Some themes already support fluid typography. Twenty Twenty-Two, for example, uses the CSS clamp() function for several font sizes.

Similarly to Fluid Typography, WordPress 6.1 also introduces support for Fluid Spacing.

Before WordPress 6.1, it was only possible to set custom spacing values in the editor, and theme authors were not allowed to specify fixed values for padding, margin, and gap. So, it was not possible to transfer spacing settings from one theme to another or to maintain spacing values when copying and pasting content between different websites.

Content-Only Block Editing

WordPress 6.1 introduces content-only editing for blocks, patterns, and templates. With content-only editing enabled, users can only change the content of a block or pattern, preventing them from accidentally breaking the layout or changing the styles.

Currently, it is not possible to enable content-only editing from the Visual editor interface. To enable this feature, the templateLock attribute should be set to contentOnly and you can use the Code editor for that.

The following image provides a simple example.

When content-only editing is enabled on a block or pattern, the settings sidebar changes. You won’t see the usual settings controls but a list of blocks included in the group. You can select any of those blocks by clicking on the block in the editor canvas or on the corresponding list item in the sidebar.

Content-only editing
Content-only editing

You can disable content-only editing by clicking the Modify button in the group toolbar.

Disabling content-only editing
Disabling content-only editing

Once you are finished with your edits, you can re-enable content-only editing by clicking the Done button.

Content-only editing disabled
Content-only editing disabled

In addition, blocks that have no content are hidden from the list view and cannot receive focus in the block list.

Improved Block Types

With so many Gutenberg versions merged into the core, WordPress 6.1 is going to bring tons of changes and improvements to existing block types.

Added Border Support for the Columns block

The Columns block now leverages the new BorderBoxControl component that enables WordPress users to specify customized borders for columns, also setting completely different styles for each border.

A screenshot showing how to customize column borders in WordPress 6.1

Border Controls for Image Blocks

Gutenberg 13.8 introduced support for all border controls for the Image block. The change will be added to the core with WordPress 6.1, opening the door for new and great opportunities for web creatives.

Image border controls in WordPress 6.1
Image border controls in WordPress 6.1

Comments Block Improvements

WordPress 6.1 also brings us an improved Comments Block. Starting with the next version of WordPress, users will be able to use more advanced editing features on the Comments block.

In the image below, you can see the Comments block settings sidebar and the changes applied to the Comments Title.

The improved Comments block in WordPress 6.1
WordPress 6.1 brings an improved Comments block

Post Terms Block Variations for Custom Taxonomy Terms

The Post Terms block has been enhanced with a new custom taxonomy variation. You can now register a new custom taxonomy, say “Actors in a Movie” post type, and you’ll be able to add a list of taxonomy terms to the current post or custom post type.

An image showing custom taxonomy terms for a Post Terms block
Custom taxonomy terms for a Post Terms block

The image below shows a list of actors in a Movie post type.

Customizing the appearance of a Post Terms block with custom taxonomy terms
Customizing the appearance of a Post Terms block with custom taxonomy terms

A New Parents Filter for the Query Block

A new Parents filter is now available for the Query Block to display hierarchical posts and pages having the same parent.

Displaying posts with the same parent in a Query Loop block
A new Parents filter allows displaying posts with the same parent in a Query Loop block

Font Family Controls in the Heading Block

The Heading block now supports Font Family controls.

An image showing how to set a custom font family in a Heading block in WordPress 6.1
Setting a custom font family in a Heading block

Starting with WordPress 6.1, a new axial spacing control allows you to set different horizontal and vertical gaps for images in the Gallery block.

This change results in greater flexibility when creating the layout of image galleries.

New layout image galleries in WordPress 6.1
Customizing horizontal and vertical gaps in a Gallery block

Featured images still get a lot of attention, and in WordPress 6.1, the scope of their usage is further extended. Starting with 6.1, the featured image can be selected directly from the Cover block placeholder, as shown in the following images.

An image showing the ability to use a Featured Image in the Cover block placeholder
Use a Featured Image in the Cover block placeholder

This change should help to create a more consistent user experience making it clearer for the user what they are customizing.

Also, a Featured Image toggle has been added to media replace flow.

Use Featured Images in media replace flow in WordPress 6.1
Use Featured Images in media replace flow

Appearance Tools for Post Navigation Links

The appearanceTools setting property allows you to opt-in to several settings that are disabled by default.

Since WordPress 6.1, for themes supporting the appearanceTools setting property, you can customize link color and font family in Post Navigation Link.

Customizing link color in Post Navigation Links
Customizing link color in Post Navigation Links

Lock Inside Container Block With One Click

A new toggle now enables users to lock blocks in a container of blocks with a single click. This applies to GroupCover, and Column blocks.

Lock a group inside a column
Lock inside group block

Enhanced List block

The List block has been enhanced and now leverages inner blocks.

This change makes it easier to sort and indent list items and definitely leads to an improved user experience.

Sorting list items
Indent and outdent list items

Pseudo-elements Support in Block Themes

Now block themes can customize the appearance of elements and blocks depending on their state (active/focus/hover).

You can see the result in the following images.

A button’s hover state in WordPress 6.1 with Twenty Twenty-Three theme
A button’s active state in WordPress 6.1 with Twenty Twenty-Three theme

But you can also style elements at a block level. The only difference is that you have to define styles within a block.

Additional Features and Improvements to The Block Editor

Although it is a consolidation version, WordPress 6.1 will bring so many changes and improvements that it would be impossible to list them all in one article.

Here, we’ll dive into the following changes:

Template Part Variations in the Block Inserter

Template part variations are now available in the block inserter, making it easier to add template parts to your website.

Easily add template parts to your website
Header template part variations in WordPress 6.1

This change makes the editing process more straightforward and faster, allowing users to quickly view variations of a template part all at once with just a few clicks.

Visualize Margin and Padding

A small but useful improvement is the highlighting of the margins and padding while the user is adjusting them. This should make it much clearer how much space is being added inside or outside the elements.

Margin and padding highlight inside the new WordPress 6.1 release
Margin and padding highlight

Improvements to the Settings Sidebar

WordPress 6.1 will also showcase several interface improvements to the Settings sidebar.

The post settings sidebar has been slightly redesigned. Now the fields for post format, slug, template, and authors are aligned and have the same width. In addition, the post scheduler has been simplified to make the experience more understandable. The template section has also been moved into a popover to save space and clean up the interface.

A simplified settings sidebar that is easier to manage
WordPress 6.1 will showcase a simplified settings sidebar

In addition, the template panel has been replaced by a template link. When clicked, the template link displays Default template in a popover.

An image showing the Default template popover
The Template popover in WordPress 6.1

Publish Popover Design Updates

The datetime picker in the Publish popover has been redesigned and now uses “existing WordPress components and Emotion styling.”

The revamped datetime picker with additional styling options
WordPress 6.1 showcases a revamped datetime picker

More technical insights are available in Design updates to the Publish popover (DateTimePicker).

Time to Read in the Info Panel

The Information panel available in the top toolbar has been improved and now displays Time to read in addition to Words, Characters, Headings, Paragraphs, and Blocks.

In QWordPress 6.1, the The Info panel now displays Time to read
The Info panel now displays Time to read

The estimated reading time is calculated on an average of 189 words per minute.

Block Spacing Control Added to Styles UI

Now users can adjust vertical and horizontal spacing from the Styles UI for blocks supporting this feature.

Block Spacing controls for the Social Icons block

New and Improved Building Tools

WordPress 6.1 will also extend the functionality of the Site Builder. Block Patterns will be available in more places and a wider choice of template types will improve the editing experience in the template editor.

Creation Patterns for Post Types

WordPress 6.0 introduced Page Creation Patterns, which are a way to provide a selection of patterns each time a user creates a new page. This way, you don’t have to build the page from scratch but can pick a pattern from a modal and fill in the content, and you are ready to go.

To enable this feature, at least one block pattern should declare support for the core/post-content block types.

Now, starting with WordPress 6.1, this feature extends to all post types. All you need to do is include core/post-content in your pattern’s blockTypes and set the relevant postTypes.

Now let’s find out how to take advantage of this new feature with a practical example. Assume that you have a Movie post type.

You can go the easy way and use the implicit pattern registration (for simplicity in this example, we’ll use implicit pattern registration).

And that’s it. Now, each time you create a new Movie post type, a Choose a pattern modal appears on the screen.

A modal displays on the screen when the user creates a new post type
A modal displays on the screen when the user creates a new post type

More Template Types in the Site Editor

With WordPress 6.0, only a limited number of templates can be created in the Site Editor:

Adding a new template in WordPress 6.0
Add new template in WordPress 6.0

Starting with WordPress 6.1, it will be possible to create a different template for each individual post type.

And you can also add and edit templates for core and custom taxonomies, even for single categories or tags.

If you register custom post types or a custom taxonomy, they will be automatically listed in the template selection box of the Site Editor.

An image showing a list of templates types available in WordPress 6.1
A list of templates types available in WordPress 6.1

But not only that. Once selected the template post type, a modal prompts the user whether to create a template for all posts of that type or to create a new template for a specific post of the selected post type.

Adding a template for a custom post type in WordPress 6.1
Adding a template for a custom post type in WordPress 6.1

Then a new modal provides a list of the posts available for that post type.

Adding a new template in WordPress 6.1
Adding a new template in WordPress 6.1

Why Should I Use WordPress?

Building a website has never been easier, thanks to the modern Content Management System (CMS). Using the right platform, you’ll get access to functionality that can make the process much simpler. There are lots of CMSs to choose from, however, each with its pros and cons.

It’s no big secret that we’re huge fans of WordPress and for good reason. In fact, the majority of CMS users select it as their platform of choice, which makes WordPress the world’s most popular website platform.

1. It’s Open-Source Software

The term open-source software gets thrown around a lot in development circles, but it may not tell you much if you’re not a part of that world. For practical purposes, it means two things:

  1. The platform is free. Open-source software is free, which means you can use it for any type of project you want, be it commercial or otherwise.
  2. You can customize it any way you like. With WordPress, you can look under the hood of the CMS and change just about any aspect of it.

2. It’s the World’s Most Popular CMS

There are millions of websites out there, and WordPress powers more than 30% of them. Every day, over 500 new sites using WordPress go live, and those numbers are only getting larger.

With such a massive user base, you can be sure that WordPress’ developers aren’t going to stop developing it any time soon. That means choosing this CMS ensures you’ll always have access to updates that make your site more secure and add new features to it.

Plus, there’s a robust community of developers working within the WordPress ecosystem. For example, there are more than 55,000 plugins you can access for free at WordPress.org.

3. You Can Use WordPress for All Types of Projects

You might have heard that WordPress is a blogging platform. That’s not technically false, but the way the CMS is built also means you can use it for all sorts of projects.

For example, you can use WordPress to grow your business, build virtual classrooms, create forums, run social media platforms, or power pretty much any other type of project you can imagine. If you own a small business, you can even set up an online store with WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin.

4. Learning How to Use WordPress Is Simple

WordPress is pretty easy to pick up, even if you’ve never dealt with a CMS or built websites before. Beginners are welcome! To get started, all you have to do is select a theme, maybe install a plugin or two, and then jump right into creating pages and other content.

However, the great thing about WordPress is that there are always more ways you can customize the platform. Once you get the hang of it, you can start implementing more advanced functionality to gain full control over how your site looks.

Even for experienced web developers, WordPress has plenty to offer. It provides a foundation you can iterate on more quickly, which is far more efficient than trying to build a site from scratch.

5. There’s a Huge, Friendly WordPress Community

We already talked about just how popular WordPress is in numbers. However, it’s also worth mentioning that there’s a thriving community of people who use the platform (and not just developers).

To give you an idea of what’s out there, take a look at WordCamps. These are worldwide events where you can sign up to network with other WordPress enthusiasts, and listen to some of the most experienced people in the field.

6. WordPress Enables You to Scale Your Website

One of the most challenging aspects of running a website is scaling it. The more content you publish and the more traffic you get, the bigger the strain becomes on your CMS.

Choosing a quality web host is key to scaling your website and making sure it always feels fast. However, the CMS you use also plays a significant role. WordPress, for example, powers some of the most popular sites on the web, so you know in advance that scaling won’t be an issue.

Keep in mind, though — if you want to keep your website blazing fast, you’ll need more than the right web host and CMS. You’ll also have to do some maintenance work, but the results are well worth the effort.

7. Themes and Plugins Give You Full Control Over Your Website

If you’re new to WordPress, you may not be familiar with the concept of plugins and themes. Let’s break down what both of them are:

  1. Themes: These are templates you can use on your website to alter its basic design.
  2. Plugins: These add new features and functionality to your site.

As we mentioned before, there are thousands of plugins and themes (both free and premium) available for WordPress.

8. WordPress Websites Are Easy to Maintain

One thing you may not be aware of if you’ve never set up a website before is that they require a bit of maintenance work. With WordPress in particular, you have to stay on top of the following:

  • Updating the CMS as new versions come out
  • Updating your plugins and themes whenever you have the option to
  • Managing your site’s comments (if you choose to enable them)
  • Ensuring that your website is fully optimized and secure
  • Backing up your site often

In practice, none of those tasks should take up too much of your time individually. However, if you want to save time, you can always opt for a managed hosting service.

9. You Can Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about making sure your website gets the traffic it deserves from the likes of Google, Bing, etc.

There are a lot of things you can do to work on your site’s SEO. However, depending on which platform you use, optimizing your content for search engine results can either be simple or an uphill battle.

With WordPress, you get access to a lot of powerful SEO plugins, such as Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack, The SEO Framework, and more.

10. WordPress Takes Security Seriously

No CMS or website is 100% secure. New security threats are always popping up, so it’s essential to use a platform that takes online safety seriously.

If you want to run a tight ship, the single best thing you can do is make sure WordPress is always up to date. That includes the CMS itself, as well as any additional components you use (such as themes and plugins).

WordPress is always pushing out new updates and security patches, so by updating your version, you’ll be a step ahead of everyone else. If you want to secure your website even further, you can look into using a web host that takes security seriously.

There are a lot of additional steps you can take to secure your site as well, including enforcing strong passwords and implementing Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). However, all that effort might go to waste if you use a platform that’s not secure out of the box.

11. You Own Your Website and Its Content

WordPress is what’s called a “self-hosted” CMS. That means you can take the software and set it up on any server you want to use to power your website.

The advantage of this approach is that you’re not tied to a single hosting platform. With a hosted platform, the provider can always suspend your account for one reason or another.

With WordPress, on the other hand, you can switch hosts at any time. You can also make any changes you want to the CMS, and you have full ownership of all the content you create.

12. It’s the Industry’s Best Option for Blogging

So far, we’ve talked about all the uses for WordPress beyond blogging. However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t emphasize just how great an option WordPress is for blogs.

At its core, WordPress still has blogging at heart. That means it’s easy to publish new content, manage it, keep track of comments, format your text, and more.

Despite its “age,” WordPress continues to innovate. In 2019 its developers launched the new Block editor, which completely overhauls the blogging and editing experience. With the new editor, you get full control over your page and post layouts, which can make for visually stunning blogs.

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