It’s not what you think. I bet.

First a disclaimer, I’m not a fan of the new WordPress 2.5 admin panel redesign but I am going to give it a chance.

I’ve been keeping up with the updates to the admin panel through SVN and was very excited this week to see the littlest biggest thing so far - the Visual Rich Editor has finally been updated to allow class input!

Visual Rich Editor WordPressWordPress 2.5 Visual Rich EditorThis is such a small fix but will mean so much more to those who actually use the Visual Rich Editor. I have never like the Visual Rich Editor and in fact, I have recommended to new WordPress users to turn the editor off as soon as they are up and running. One of the reasons I have recommended this in the past is because of the inability to easily assign a class to images.

Part of my hatred of problem with the VRE is the terminology used. Most new WordPress users think the term “Alignment” in the image panel of the VRE means much more than it really does. When you’re talking about image placement, “Alignment” is pretty much worthless. “Vertical space” and “Horizontal space” are even worse!

What most people really need to do is “float” an image left or right so that text wraps around the image nicely. You cannot wrap text around an image with “align”. The misconception about the VRE’s image “Alignment” leads to some of the ugliest, bloggish looking posts you’ve ever seen. And it just doesn’t have to be that way.

Virtually every self respecting theme designer adds image classes to the theme stylesheet that allow an image to be floated left or right with text wrapping around the image properly. We use “alignleft” and “alignright” in all of our designs and it would be fantastic if other developers used the same terminology. If we (designers) could all use the same terminology for image classes this would benefit the end user by keeping them from having to switch all of their image classes when they switch from theme to theme.

But back to the VRE and the new ability to add a class to images. Please take advantage of this new feature if you are using the Visual Rich Editor. It’s very easy to add a class to your image and make your site look tons better.

To add a class to your image, you first need to know what class you should be assigning. This depends on the theme you are using. If you’re not sure and can’t figure it out for yourself, contact the designer who developed your theme and ask them. If they don’t have a class to assign to images to wrap text… you’re probably using a pretty crappy theme. You can add a class yourself, but having proper images is pretty basic stuff and every theme developer should do it.

Once you have determined what class to assign (if you’re using Shifter, the proper classes are “alignleft” or “alignright” although “left” and “right” will work too because we have tried to make things as compatible with existing themes as possible) open the VRE image button dialog and simply type “alignleft” or “alignright” in the class input. That’s it. This one little change will make your blog look infinitely better and more professional and now, thankfully, you can do it with the VRE right out of the box.

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"WordPress 2.5 Admin Panel Changes: My Favorite Thing So Far" by Tommy was published on March 1st, 2008 and is listed in Wordpress.

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