screenshot of video introducing WordPress 3.9

Announcing WordPress 3.9 – Jazzed Up Image Handling and More

Block 2 is WordPress itselfThe WordPress 3.9 update makes it easier than ever to add, edit and preview media.

Nicknamed “Smith,” after jazz musician Jimmy Smith, this latest version of WordPress lets you

  • Drag images directly into your edit window
  • Resize, crop, scale and rotate images on the fly
  • See your image gallery in the edit screen
  • Create an audio playlist

But the most important update, in my opinion, has nothing to do with images and audio.

For the first time, you can now cut and paste documents from your word processor directly into your WordPress editor without creating code problems.

Copy and Paste Directly from Word

Previously I gave you instructions on how to safely cut and paste from Word. With WordPress 3.9, you no longer need to worry about it. Just open your Word document, copy, and paste into WordPress.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a whole lot better than it used to be.

To test, I grabbed a template of a letter I send to clients when I’m putting the finishing touches on their websites.

screenshot of Word document

I copied the document, then pasted into a new post in WordPress, using the Visual Editor.

screenshot of the visual editor

There was some extra spacing. Where did that come from? When I looked at it in the Text Editor, I saw some unnecessary code that hadn’t been stripped out.

screenshot of text editor

In case you can’t see it in the image, the code is  screenshot of the faulty code

This tells your browser to add a space.

The fix is easy — just switch over to the Text Editor and delete those lines.

It’s looking much better, but now I spot another issue. Can you see it?

screenshot of post

Notice that the numbers aren’t indented from the left margin and there are extra line spaces. Here’s what a numbered list is supposed to look like.

screenshot of properly formatted numbered list

In this post, the numbers are indented, and there’s also a space between the number and the words that follow.

You can fix it easily.

  1. Highlight the entire list, then click the numbered list icon in the toolbar above.screenshot of visual editor toolbar
  2. You’ll notice you now see each number twice. Place your cursor in front of the second number and delete it, the period following it, and the space.

Instead of this

screenshot of list with duplicate numbers

You now have a properly numbered and formatted list.

screenshot of fixed numbered list

As I said, it’s not perfect — but at least it doesn’t add layers of code that can seriously mess up your website. For me, I think I’ll stick with the text editor a while longer.

Adding Images

Adding images, however, is truly easier with this new version of WordPress. You can still do it the way you’ve always added images before using the Add Media button. Or you can shortcut the process.

Just position your cursor where you want the image to show up, then drag it from your desktop or folder onto your editing screen. This works the same whether you’re using the Visual or the Text Editor.

WordPress takes you immediately to the Media Library where you can enter the details of your image the same way you’re used to doing it.

On the Attachment screen, make sure you scroll down to select the image size. When I first tried it, the default image size was set to thumbnail, so parts of the image didn’t show. After I manually changed it to full size, subsequent images defaulted to full size.

screenshot of attachment details

More New Features

You now have a Live Widget Preview right in the Theme Customizer. This means you can experiment with widgets and see how they look before you make them live on your site.

In the Vistual Editor you can preview a Gallery.

Add Audio and Video Playlists.

Here’s a quick video summary of the new features of WordPress 3.9, “Smith.” Update today!

Got questions about the new version of WordPress? Scroll down to ask. . .

2 thoughts on “Announcing WordPress 3.9 – Jazzed Up Image Handling and More”

  1. Unfortunately, they’ve ruined the Text Editor. You can’t drag TEXT into it now, duh. WordPress thinks anything dragged into the window is a media file and won’t let you insert text. This means WordPress is useless as a serious writing tool until they fix it. I’m recommending to everyone that they do NOT upgrade to 3.9.

    1. Not sure just what you’re referring to. You can still copy/paste text, so what’s the problem? If you’re using a Windows computer, highlight the text you want, use CTRL+C to copy and CTRL+V to paste. Easy peasy. It’s true that any file you drag into it shows up in the media library — but on the flip side, you can now add Word documents and other types of files to Media if you need to.

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