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How to Replace Default Theme and Plugin Editor in WordPress

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How to Replace Default Theme and Plugin Editor in WordPress

The default WordPress theme and plugin editors are simple plain text editors. They are not meant to be used as a development tool. Their purpose is to quickly take a look at code, or make some minor changes to your child theme or a site-specific plugin. However, if you want to have a more robust interface for these editors with syntax highlighting, line numbers, row highlighting, then you are at the right place. In this article, we will show you how to replace the default theme and plugin editor in WordPress.

Adding an advance editor to replace default WordPress Theme and Plugin Editor

Before editing your themes or plugins, we highly recommend that you create a backup of your WordPress site. In case anything goes wrong and you are unable to fix it, then you can always restore WordPress from backup. Another downside of editing your theme and plugin files on a live site is that an error can lock you out of WordPress admin area. So it is important that you have FTP access to your site, so you can fix things manually in case something goes wrong.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the WP Editor plugin. Upon activation, the plugin adds a new WP Editor menu in your WordPress admin sidebar. Clicking on it will take you to plugin’s settings page.

WP Editor main settings

As you can see there are tabs for theme editor, plugin editor, and post editor. You can replace the default WordPress editor on these locations with the one provided by the plugin. On the main settings tab, you can choose to hide and replace the default WordPress editor, or you can have both the WordPress editors as well as editors provided by the plugin.

Each editor provided by the plugin has its own settings. Click on Theme Editor to change its settings. You will notice there are various different options available. You can choose a color theme for your theme editor and choose which file extensions should be available to edit. Among other options, you can choose to highlight active line, show line numbers, adjust font-size, etc. You can also enable file upload feature which will allow you to upload files directly from the theme editor.

Adjusting settings for replacement theme editor for WordPress

Once you are done adjusting options, click save changes. You can see the replaced theme editor in action under Appearance » Theme Editor, and plugin editor under Plugins » Plugin Editor.

Advanced plugin editor in action

If you have enabled post editor, then please note that the plugin does not replace the WordPress Visual post editor. It only replaced the plain text post editor. All your plain text formatting buttons remain the same. This plugin just adds colors, highlighting, and line numbers to the editor.

Text post editor with line numbers and highlighting

The great thing about using WordPress is that it provides you with choices. You can choose to use the default editor, you can replace it with the option we’ve shown in this article, or you can entirely disable theme and plugin editors from WordPress.

We hope that this article helped you choose an alternate option for your default WordPress theme and plugin editors. Let us know what your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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

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  1. Sai Varun KN says:

    Does using WP Editor effect the backend performance?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Yes, on the client side your browser will not be as responsive as it should be. However, it does not affect your site’s performance for other users.

  2. Bryan Petty says:

    CodeMirror editor is nice, and the WP Editor plugin is helpful, but I thought I’d just add that if anyone is looking for something based on the Cloud Editor instead, or just wants a plugin that does this for the plugin/theme editors only and doesn’t clutter the admin with more option pages, then definitely check out Better File Editor instead:

  3. Ayush Agrawal says:

    Definitely the post I was looking for. Thanks.

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