WordPress 8.1 Is Here with New and Improved Widgets

WordPress recently released the version 8.1 maintenance update.

As is usual for these small, incremental updates, there’s a lot of little stuff going on behind the scenes. This time, there are a couple of important changes to widgets that you should be aware of.

Our Friend the Text Widget

The text widget previously has been a little workhorse, but not easy to use unless you’re comfortable working with HTML. If you’re not, I described the workaround in this post.

The good news is, in WordPress 8.1, the text widget has now been upgraded to become the “rich text” widget.

The new text widget offers a choice between using the text or the visual editor — just like the options you have when adding or editing a post or page.

the new rich text widget in WordPress 8.1

And if you have an existing text widget that contains HTML, you’ll see this message when you open it.

this is how the old text widget with html now looks in WordPress 8.1

 

The new Custom HTML widget looks just like the old text widget used to.

new custom html widget in WordPress 8.1

When WordPress 8.0 was released, there were some problems with the new text widget. They’ve now been fixed (that’s why I’ve waited until now to talk about it). Additionally, if you’re using the Tiny MCE plugin, that now works seamlessly with the new text widget.

Bottom line: if you have a (formerly) text widget where the content is HTML, switch it out for the custom HTML widget. If you want to display formatted text, use the new text widget.

Managing Comments on Your Mobile Device

It’s a small, but nuisancy thing. Previously, if you were trying to moderate comments from your mobile device, there was an issue with displaying the Empty Spam and Empty Trash buttons. That is now fixed.

There are other fixes and upgrades, of course, but those are the biggies. If you haven’t updated (and most sites will update automatically anyway), go ahead and do it now.

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