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What’s Coming in WordPress 5.8 (Features and Screenshots)

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WordPress 5.8 beta is out with an expected release date of July 20th, 2021. It will be the second major release of the year and comes with lots of new features and improvements.

We’ve been following the development closely and trying out the new features on our test sites.

In this article, we’ll show you what’s coming in WordPress 5.8 with features and screenshots.

A sneak peak into upcoming WordPress 5.8 release

Note: You can try out the beta version on your computer or on a staging environment by using the WordPress Beta Tester plugin.

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If you’d prefer written instructions, just keep reading.

Introducing Template Editor

WordPress 5.8 will ship with the new template editor. It is a step towards creating a full site editing tool using the block editor, which means you can expect it to get better with future releases.

The template editor allows you to create and save templates for your WordPress website and use them later for any post or page.

Create a new template

Switching to the template editor will allow you to add Site Editing blocks. A number of essential blocks are available including:

  • Site Logo
  • Site Tagline
  • Site Title
  • Query Loop
  • Post Title
  • Post Content
  • Post Date
  • Post Excerpt
  • Post Featured Image
  • Post Categories
  • Post Tags
  • Login/out
  • Page List

Several site wide editor blocks are introduced in WordPress 5.8

The feature is optional, theme developers and users will be able to easily disable it.

The template editor still relies on your WordPress theme and inherits its styles.

For a more flexible approach, you can try SeedProd which allows you to create custom landing pages regardless of which WordPress theme you are using.

Blocks As Widgets

Another big step towards full-site editor experience is the new blocks as widgets interface.

Users will be able to access the new widget experience by using the Customizer or by visiting the Appearance » Widgets page.

Adding blocks as widgets in WordPress 5.8

Blocks as widgets will bring the flexibility of the block editor to your WordPress sidebar widgets. You’ll be able to use colors, spacing, typography, and other design tools without installing any plugins.

New widgets page

There is even a Widgets block that will let you use the classic widgets that are not available as blocks yet.

Not ready to make the move yet?

Don’t worry, you can turn off this new feature by using the Classic Widgets plugin. Simply install and activate the plugin and it will disable the new Widget Blocks feature.

WebP Images Are Coming to WordPress

WebP is a new file format for images to be used on the web. By using the WebP image format, your images will be 25-34% smaller in file size than PNG and JPEG without losing quality.

Currently, WordPress doesn’t support WebP images and users see an error when they try to upload a WebP image.

WebP image upload error

With WordPress 5.8, you’ll be able to upload WebP images to your WordPress website without using any plugins.

However, one downside is that it will not automatically replace the image with JPEG or PNG if a user is on an unsupported browser.

If majority of your users are using an unsupported browser, then you may still want to use an image compression plugin.

For more details, see our article on how to properly add WebP images in WordPress.

Editor Improvements in WordPress 5.8

The block editor screen is where users spend most of their time creating content. Each WordPress release comes with many improvements, bug fixes, and new features to improve the editing experience.

Following are some of the editor improvements coming in WordPress 5.8.

Easily Select Parent Block in Nested Blocks

Nested blocks like columns and groups allow you to easily group blocks. However, it sometimes becomes difficult to select the parent block inside a nested block.

WordPress 5.8 will now show an always visible parent block button in the toolbar.

Parent block button in the toolbar

Improved List View

WordPress 5.8 will come with an improved list view panel. It will show you the complete list of blocks in your post or page.

This would make it easier for users to move to a specific block in more complex layouts. For instance, if you have multiple paragraphs in a specific column then you can navigate using the list panel.

Improved list view panel in WordPress 5.8

Improved Select Tool with Block Handles

The select tool will now show a better block outline with a handle to move blocks up and down.

Better Select tool with block handles

In WordPress 5.8, you’ll also notice better block highlighting as you move your mouse around different blocks.

New Duotone Filters for Images and Media Blocks

Another exciting upcoming feature in WordPress 5.8 is the Duotone filters. You’ll be able to use these filters over your media blocks like images, galleries, and cover images.

Using duotone filters in WordPress 5.8

It comes with a few presets and you can create your own presets as well by choosing the colors you want to apply.

Duotone filters applied on an image in WordPress 5.8

WordPress themes will also be able to add their own presets to match theme color schemes.

Pattern Suggestions in Add Block Panel

Using the add block panel if you search for a block, the editor will also suggest patterns that you can instantly add. There are some new patterns available and initial work has been laid for integration with the pattern directory.

Pattern suggestions

Improvements to Existing Blocks

There are several improvements to existing blocks. For instance, more color options to choose text, background, and link colors.

More color options

There is a new option to adjust padding among columns.

Adjust column spacing

You can also choose gradient background for table block.

Gradient background color option for tables

Under The Hood Changes

WordPress 5.8 will also bring many changes for developers to explore and use in their own themes, plugins, and projects.

Following are some of these under the hood changes.

WordPress will end support for Internet Explorer by the end of this year. 5.8 has merged most of the changes needed for that. (See details)

Context aware filters to use block editor APIs on multiple WordPress admin screens. (#52920)

WordPress recovery mode email message will now only be shown when email can be sent. (#52560)

We hope this article gave you a glimpse into what’s coming in WordPress 5.8. Let us know what features you find interesting and what you’d look to see in a future WordPress release.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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12 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Freddie B says

    Hi, great video thank you – Template editor is fantastic!

    The first road block however is that …I do not see the edit menu for the template editor when I open the “template” in the side bar of a page / new test page.

    Do you need to activate it and if yes how???

    I am running Twenty Twenty which is not that old.

    Any help appreciated, thanks

  3. Tony Payne says

    Thanks for a great detailed preview of what’s coming in 5.8.
    Looking forward to it, although it may take a while before I feel comfortable using some of the new features. Certainly having WebP images will be a bonus, especially if it helps to speed up site loading.

  4. Joseph says

    Will the theme editor or the blocks as widgets feature allow editing the footer as well?

    Thank you for the post.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      That would depend on the specific theme, there is no guarantee on what is editable from a theme standpoint at the moment.


  5. Atul Kumar Pandey says

    The WordPress team did a nice job by adding support for webp images. It was a much-awaited feature most of us were looking for from its core.

  6. Gustavo says

    WP 5.8 has great new features indeed.
    The improvements on individual column settings are good, but might be further improved with the ability to choose borders for each column.

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