14 WordPress Post Editor Plugins to Give Your Posts Style

The plugins in this list unlock the TinyMCE power buttons that WordPress hides, they add new custom features to TinyMCE to make your posts visually stunning and they make it easier to write posts without churning back-and-forth between plugin help pages.

These plugins are all free and are listed in no particular order. I’ve used all these plugins so have included some pros and cons of my experiences with them.

TinyMCE Advanced

The default WordPress TinyMCE editor is pretty pathetic compared to the full product. This plugin takes bolt cutters to its chains and unleashes the full power of TinyMCE.

Configured in Settings > TinyMCE Advanced. Use the plugin’s drag’n’drop button editor to reposition, add and remove core TinyMCE buttons.

Shortcode Menu Dropdown

No more hunting for the shortcodes added by plugins that neglect to put buttons into the visual editor. This plugin lists plugin shortcodes in a dropdown box above the WP post editor buttons.

Shortcode Menu Dropdown automatically adds closing shortcode tags whether needed or not so you’ll need to decide whether to remove closing tags.

April’s Super Functions Pack

This adds loads of shortcodes to WordPress that aim to make it easier to better layout post content. Think dropcaps, excerpts, pull-quotes, text columns and tabs plus much, much more. It’s a swiss army knife of post layout tools.

It is shortcode driven. There are no visual editor buttons to make it easy to use the tons of features it brings to WP and the elements added require additional CSS styling to make them pretty but there is documentation for the plugin’s features. It can take a bit of time to learn to use the shortcodes properly.

Per Post Scripts and Styles

If you add custom scripts and CSS to WordPress to add stunning effects to specific posts then you should be aware that each custom script and additional CSS file loads with every page that’s viewed not just the page that needs the extra code.

Per Post Scripts and Styles lets you add extra code to (and load additional files within) specific pages so that the code only loads when the page that needs it is served. Very handy for adding CSS and Javascript to a post or page without slowing down the rest of your site. The additional code/markup can be configured to load whenever the post is displayed whether it’s the home page, an archive page or widget.

All this is done within the post editor screen but you might need to scroll to the very bottom of the editor to see the post widget.

Shortcode Exec PHP

Not just for PHP. Create your own shortcodes for use within posts, pages and widgets.

This plugin lets administrators use a code editor to create reusable PHP scripts, HTML components and text blocks that can be called within posts, pages and widgets by using shortcodes that can be selected with the button the plugin adds to the visual editor.

This is ideal for placing ads within posts. Just copy the code into a code block in the plugin’s settings page, label it then use the shortcode in posts.

Make sure your PHP scripts sanitize input and observe other security protocols or you could inadvertently create a route for hackers to get into your site.

Fonts

Use any of 1000+ fonts in your posts.

This makes any of the fonts hosted at fontsforweb.com usable in your posts through an “F” button in your visual editor menu. Clicking the button prompts an organized menu of available fonts to show at the screen side.

The fonts are remotely hosted at fontsforweb.com so if that site goes out of commission so too will your fonts. Thankfully the plugin uses an HTML span class around text to change the tagged text’s font so if fontsforweb does vanish you will be able to drop in replacements.

Registration with fontsforweb.com is not required for this plugin to be used.

Simple Pull Quotes

Make snippets of text stand out by quoting them at the edge of your posts with fancy curly-quotes around them. It  makes adding pull quotes as simple as select text in the post editor then clicking the pull-quote button to add the shortcodes.

This plugin is not needed if you use April’s Super Functions Pack.

Viper’s Video QuickTags

Adds buttons to the editor that let you quickly add self-hosted videos in mp3, QuickTtime, Flash and other formats as-well-as embed video content from 12 different video hosts such as YouTube, Google Video, Daily Motion and VideoPress.

The inbuilt WordPress video embedder works fine in most circumstances but I find horizontally centering videos causes WP to display the URL and not the video. Videos embedded using Viper’s Video QuickTags can be aligned left, right or centrally without issue.

TinyMCE Templates

Ever find yourself using the same page layout time and time again? Or do you use plugins like s2member and get annoyed that you need to continually rebuild nested shortcode tags within posts?

Install TinyMCE Templates and never again worry about recreating post formats. Just activate it, navigate to the Templates menu toward the bottom of your admin area sidebar then create a new post template using the provided visual editor. With a template created, when you next create a post, use the template dropdown box in the TinyMCE menu to select a post layout.

Templates are exportable with the WordPress exporter tool.

WP SyntaxHighlighter

WP SyntaxHighlighter uses a Javascript library to highlight code within posts.

The plugin puts two buttons into the post editor. One for adding <pre> tags and another for adding <code> tags. Clicking the code button prompts a popup where you can select the script language of your code snippet before entering the code to be highlighted and inserted into the post.

TinyMCE Span

Quite simply the best plugin there is! But then I would say that because I wrote it and stuck it on my other site of wpservicemasters.com.

When I write posts I use CSS to control text styles. In my early days as a blogger I highlighted text by styling it directly within every post. This worked great until I redesigned my sites and needed to trawl posts to find text styling that needed to be updated. I soon realized it was much easier to use CSS classes that can be quickly updated whenever I skin a site.

TinyMCE Span provides a single CSS class for the span element. This class can be quickly edited  from the plugin’s settings panel and quickly applied to text through a button in the visual editor.

WP UI

“Easily add tabs, accordion, dialogs and collapsibles to your posts. With 14 fresh & Unique CSS3 styles and 24 multiple jQuery UI custom themes”

Like April’s Super Function Pack, WP UI lets you jazz up posts and pages with in-content tabs, collapsibles and other graphical components. WP UI uses CSS3 and JQuery to add attractive aesthetics to the components it adds.

Be aware that CSS3 works in modern standards compliant browsers only. A lot of surfers still use IE6, IE7 and IE8. these browsers are not able to render CSS3. There are workarounds for this, for example, you can use a Javascript library to imitate CSS3 effects in standards non-compliant browsers. Look here and here for such scripts. A few plugins have been developed by Ramoonus to auto-insert compatibility scripts into WordPress. Click here to find them in the WordPress plugin repository.  Here’s a plugin that adds the Modernizr script to WordPress sites.

Table of Content Plus

In the bad old day I would spend ages adding link anchors to headlines then referencing those anchors in an ugly table at the top of a post. Now I use Table of Content Plus.

TOC+ Automagically scans posts and pages for H1 to H6 headline tags then references them in a table of content at the page top. The table is added to posts with a toc shortcode or the plugin can be configured to auto insert a table in all posts and/or pages.

The table looks neat and can be styled with CSS if you dislike the default array of styles. However, if you install TOC+ on a site with lots of preexisting content you will need to be careful about opting to auto-insert content tables otherwise you might discover images and other media at the top of pages are displaced by the table. On the plus side, is there a better excuse to review old content.

Front-End Editor

When was the last time spotted a minor mistake in a post but thought “f#ck it! I can’t be bothered to edit it”?

Front-End Editor gives admins a visual editor to use to edit posts from the front-end. The editor can be used to change text, add images and other media and make lists etc… It’s like using TinyMCE but with the ease of seeing exactly how posts look when viewed by surfers.

Over To You

Think you know better? Do you have favorite post and page editor plugins that make these look useless in comparison? Well, stop reading and start writing. Tell us in the comments below.

Comments

    • says

      Josh, thank you for taking the time to keep us informed.

      I tested Ultimate TinyMCE a short time ago. I do like it but at the time it lacked a way to rearrange and pick’n’choose components of the editor. As soon as it can do that I will add Ultimate TinyMCE to the list.

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