7 Simple WordPress Tricks That You Thought You Know

While WordPress is a powerful and easy to use blogging software, there are several useful features that are hidden or not visible to many and one have to dig deeper to uncover the gems. Many times, I have people asking me how to do this and how to do that in WordPress. I realize that what seems like a simple and easy task to me appears to be a complete alien to some others.

Here is a list of the most commonly asked ‘how-to’ that I have received.

In the home page of Make Tech Easier, you will find that only the first paragraph of each post is shown and you have to click on the ‘Continue Reading …‘ link to read the full post. This can be easily achieved with the ‘more‘ tag.

If you are using the rich-text editor, along the row of iconbar, you should be able to find an icon that shows two white rectangles with a dotted line in-between. That is the more tag icon.

insert-more-tag

Whenever you want to break the post with the ‘Continue Reading…’ link, just place the cursor at the end of the first paragraph and click on the icon to insert the more tag. You should see something like this:

after-insert-more tag

If you are using the HTML mode, simple insert

<!--more-->

at the appropriate paragraph to achieve the same effect.

If the splitting link shows ‘Read more…’ instead of ‘Continue Reading…‘ or you want to change to other phrase, you will have to change your theme template.

In your WordPress Admin area, go to Design -> Theme Editor. On the right hand side where you see a list of template files, select Main Index Template (index.php). On the left text area, search for the line

<?php the_content('Read more ...'); ?>

and replace the ‘Read more …’ with anything you want it to display.

If you find the above too troublesome for you, you can simply use the plugin Wp Limit Posts Automatically to automate the whole process.

Sometime your post might get too long and you wanted to split it to several pages. In WordPress, this can be done using the nextpage tag.

Unlike the more tag, there is no icon for the nextpage tag. You will have to manually insert the nextpage tag in the HTML mode.

insert-nextpage-tag

In some incidents where you have posted some out of date (or wrong) content, you might want to do an update by inserting a strikethrough line through the old content and update with the new one. This is done by pressing the strikethrough icon (the third icon from the left) on the icon bar.

  • Highlight the word, phrase, lines or paragraph that you wanted to cancel out
  • Click on the strikethrough icon to insert the strikethrough line.

insert-strikethrough

The image caption feature is made available since WordPress 2.5. Some of you like it and some of you don’t. I am one of those that don’t like it and find it annoying. If you are like me, here is a simple hack to disable the image caption altogether.

Go to Design -> Theme Editor. On the right side, click on the Theme Function (function.php). On the left, insert this line to appear at the end

add_filter('disable_captions', create_function('$a','return true;'));

Save it. (Code adopted from Katz Web Design)

While WordPress allows you to define your thumbnail and medium image size, you are not able to set the max size. When you insert an image as Full Size and expect it to show Full size, it doesn’t. Instead, WordPress automatically resize it to a width of 500 pixels (if the image is more than 500 pixels wide). While you can go into HTML mode and change it manually, it can become a very tedious and troublesome task if you have a lot of screenshots.

The solution to this is to hack into the internal WordPress code and change the default maximum width of the image.

Go to Design -> Theme Editor. On the right side, click on the Theme Function (function.php). On the left, insert this line to appear at the end

$GLOBALS['content_width'] = 800;

Change the 800 to the maximum width that you want to use.

Save it.

If you are using two consecutive dashes (--) in your post, WordPress will automatically convert it to one single line (–). It might not matter for most of you, but for blogs that use a lot of command line code (especially for Linux command line), a single dash and a double dash can make a lot of differences.

In order for WordPress to show double dash instead of a single line, you have to:

  • go to the HTML mode
  • highlight the --
  • on the icon bar, click on the code button

insert-code-tag

This will force WordPress to read the double dash as a code and display it as it is.

Occasionally, you might want to insert a video from Youtube into your post. There is no need to install a plugin just to do that. WordPress has a built in function that allows you to embed videos (and other flash content) into your post.

  • On the icon bar, click to show the second row of icons
  • Click on the embed-flash icon
  • Go to Youtube and search for the video that you want to insert. On the right where you see the Embed input field, scroll along the line until you see the <embed src=”http://www.youtube... Highlight and copy the source of the flash video.

youtube-code

  • Paste the code to the embedded media page and set the video dimension. Click Insert to embed the video into the post.

embed-youtube

That’s all for now. Hopefully the above mentioned tricks are sufficient to help you to overcome some of the issues you face when using WordPress. If I have left out anything or there is some part that you want me to cover in more detail, feel free to contact me.

(The above mentioned tricks are meant for WordPress 2.5 and 2.6. It has not been tested to work in WP2.7 yet.)

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