WordPress Distraction Free Writing Mode

WordPress Distraction Free Writing Mode

Even with WordPress 3.8’s new admin design, the post writing & editing screen still contains a lot of distractions. If your theme has a lot of options, or you have several plugins installed that allow you to customize each post, there are many things that get in the way of writing your content.

Writers like to start with a blank slate. And we don’t like to be bothered when we’re trying to write great content.

Distraction Free Writing Mode (DFWM) is a built-in feature of WordPress that allows you to eliminate all the clutter on your post editing screen… and just write.

Enable Distraction Free Writing Mode

  1. Navigate to the edit screen of a single post or page on your site
  2. In the writing toolbar, click on the Button - Distraction Free Writing Mode icon (or use the keyboard shortcut alt + shift + w)  [more WordPress shortcuts]

The keyboard shortcut will only work if your cursor is active inside of the main editor box. Click anywhere in the main content area first, then you can use the shortcut.

Using Distraction Free Writing Mode

You can still write content in much the same way as you do on the default writing screen, but there are some things you need to know:

  • The top toolbar will automatically disappear. To bring it back into view, move your cursor/mouse around the screen.
  • The top toolbar does not contain all the same buttons that the default writing screen does (but you can customize that)
  • To exit fullscreen mode, you can click “Exit fullscreen” in the top toolbar, or use the keyboard shortcut alt + shift + w
  • You can still toggle between “Visual” and “Text” mode using the buttons in the toolbar
WordPress Distraction Free Writing Mode Example
The default view of distraction free writing mode

Customize Distraction Free Writing Mode Toolbar

You might fully embrace fullscreen writing, and not even use the buttons in the toolbar (or just use keyboard shortcuts). But if you’d prefer to have a few more options, and customize your WordPress writing experience further, you should check out the Just Writing plugin.

Just Writing Plugin Features

  • Stores preferences on a per-user basis, so each person can custom their own distraction free writing mode experience
  • Adds a “Preview” button, as well as turns the “Exit fullscreen” link into an “Exit” button
  • Adds, and allows each user to customize, which TinyMCE buttons are visible in fullscreen mode
  • Adds a link on the “All Posts” & “All Pages” screens that allows you to open up DFWM automatically, as well as create new posts in DFWM

Once you’ve installed the plugin:

  1. Navigate to “Users” > “Your Profile”
  2. Scroll down below the Password fields until you see “Just Writing”
  3. Customize your options & preferences for Distraction Free Writing Mode
WordPress Plugin - Just Writing Preferences
Just Writing plugin settings. These are unique for each user of your WordPress site.

Add Styles to Distraction Free Writing Mode

First we showed you how to add more buttons & features to DFWM, and now we’re showing you how to customize the look? Aren’t these adding more distractions? Not necessarily. They’re customizing your writing experience, but it all depends on what you find distracting.

If you use Distraction Free Writing Mode to help you gain inspiration, than a subtle background image or texture might just give you the push you need. There are also discussions about eye strain, as well as energy consumption, due to white-on-black and black-on-white color schemes. You might just want to increase the font-size and/or style when writing in DFWM.

DFWM Themes Plugin

You can download the Distraction Free Writing Mode Themes plugin to try out different styles.

  • Pre-packaged with 8 new themes
  • Ability to add your own custom CSS
  • Admin can set a default theme for all users (“Settings” > “DFWM Themes”)
  • Users can use the default set by admin, or choose their own theme (“Users” > “Your Profiile”)
DFWM Themes - User Profile
User settings on “Your Profile”. Each user can select her own theme.

DFWM Themes Gallery

Do you prefer to write using Distraction Free Editing Mode, or are you old fashioned & stick with the default WordPress writing experience? Please let us know in the comments.

What Are Your Thoughts?

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