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How to Add a User Interface for Post Formats in WordPress 3.5

Last updated on by
Elegant Themes
How to Add a User Interface for Post Formats in WordPress 3.5

Post formats were introduced in WordPress 3.1 to offer micro-blogging functionality in WordPress. Despite it being there, most beginners have no clue on how to use it. Reason: Because it is not as prominent as it is in on Tumblr. WordPress has a user interface to publish a post in different format however the tiny radio button meta box can use improvement. Alex King, a well-known WordPress Developer and plugin author, along with his team at CrowdFavorite, has worked on providing a solution to this. He developed a user interface for post formats to include in his own projects and was kind enough to release that code to the community. In this article, we will show you how to add UI for Post Formats in WordPress 3.5 using the Post Formats UI tool.

What is Post Formats?

Post format offer a method of styling a specific post differently. By using this feature, you can specify the display “format” of a specific post. This feature expands the micro-blogging aspect of WordPress by adding formats like videos, links, images, audios, quotes, statuses, etc (very similar to Tumblr).

Post formats are dependent on your theme, so you may or may not see these in your WordPress dashboard. The default user interface provided by WordPress to select a post format while writing a post looks like this:

Post Formats Radio Button User Interface

Installing Post Formats UI

Go to Post Formats UI project on GitHub. Click on the zip button to download the files in the repository.

Download Post Formats UI plugin from GitHub

Go to Plugins » Add New » Upload in WordPress admin area. Press the Choose file button and select the zip file you have downloaded. Press the Install Now button. Once the plugin is uploaded successfully, click on Activate Plugin link.

How Post Formats UI Works

Once it is activated, the plugin modifies your post edit area by adding the available post formats as tabs on top. Now if can switch between writing a post, quote, aside or gallery. Clicking on the tab for a different post format adjusts rest of the post edit area for that particular post format. For example, clicking on Status will hide the Post Title field or clicking on Gallery will show an Upload Images button on top.

User Interface for Post Format Quote

User Interface for Post Format Link

We feel that post formats are usually ignored by the beginner level users mainly because it is out of their sight. A box with radio button doesn’t really encourage them to use post formats. Adding a nice user interface will encourage users to ask for better support of post formats in their themes. Developers will also feel more inclined and motivated towards building themes that support a variety of formats. This is why the core team is planning on including this in WordPress 3.6. Do you think that adding the post format user-interface is a good idea? Let us know in the comments below.


Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress lovers led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  • Jonas Lundman

    We been using post formats since it arrived. A post with only a single link and some text doesnt need a excerpt when view the category. But other posts in the same category needs the excerpt at not to show the whole content. We Dont need to create a new post-type for layout reason.

    At the same point, a neebe would think a post-template (like page-tamplate) would be a obvious context for this function UI.

    - And we agree.

  • Elliott richmond

    I’m hoping that the next upgrade will have better support for post formats without having to use a plugin but, this plugin does look very useful for a better UX!

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      Yes it will. WordPress 3.6 will come with built-in post formats UI :)

  • zimbrul

    I’ve enabled this plugin on few of my websites and none of them show the post formats!

  • Dwaynne Villiers

    As cool as this is, can we see real worl applications? Or at least some sample scripts to point us into how this seemingly powerful feature can be deployed? For example, if I have a post, and all it is is a link or a video, how can I style it accordingly? How can I have an archive/category page with different styles applied to each post format? Example, if post format=video then use style x else if post format = link then use style y.

    Looking forward to more hidden gems form the WP Beginner team. Thanks!

  • Louis

    I have been working with WordPress for a couple years and didn’t even realize what those formats were about. I’ve been too busy playing with plugins that made sense to me.

    Having said that, now that you have cleared some of the haze about these fomats, I can stop looking for other plugins that do what this one does.. lol

    I think it would be a good idea to make those formats more obvious for people. That might help others avoid having to figure out how to make custom post types when these types of formats are already there.

    WordPress can be quite difficult to fully understand sometimes. There isn’t really a manual of any substance offered by WP Dev.’s (aside from the website pages that sometimes can’t even be found for lack of knowing exactly what to search for), so helpful tips like those you offer on this site are quite valuable, thanks for this and the many other enlightening topics and explanations you have included here.

  • Bernie

    Thanks for the article on post formats. I have heard the term but not really been sure what its all about. I am using one of the default WP themes 2011 and I can see the format radio buttons as you describe. However I can t for the life of me see what difference this makes.

    I did investigate the plugin mentioned but it hasn’t been updated in over 400 days and not rated compatible with WP 3.5. I would like to see the effect this formatting has on a post.

    • Louis

      Hi Bernie,

      If you followed the link provided, the github project was updated 2 months ago for compatibility with WP 3.5.

  • Donna

    I think it’s a great idea. I’m pretty wp-savvy, and I even forget they exist most of the time. That would be a welcome change.

    Know what I would welcome even more? Page and post-specific widgets. There are plugins to handle this, but I haven’t found any that aren’t kinda kludgy or that don’t get to be way to difficult with a site with lots of pages.