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What’s Coming in WordPress 5.9 (Features and Screenshots)

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on WPBeginner. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations. Learn more about Editorial Process.

WordPress 5.9 Beta arrived a few days ago, and it is expected to be released on January 25th, 2022. It will be the first major release of 2022 and will come with many new features and improvements.

We have been closely monitoring the development and trying out new features on our test sites.

In this article, we’ll give you a sneak peek into what’s coming in WordPress 5.9 with features and screenshots.

Overview of all the features coming in WordPress 5.9

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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Full Site Editing

WordPress 5.9 will continue to build upon the site editing features first introduced in WordPress 5.8 earlier this year.

This upcoming release is adding a lot more features to the site editing experience. These new features make it easier to edit your WordPress theme without any code so you can create a website with a unique custom design.

Launching site editor in WordPress 5.9

Still, full site editing will only be available for themes that support this new feature.

New Site-Wide Blocks

WordPress 5.9 will introduce 10 new blocks made specifically for full site editing and located under the ‘Theme’ category.

Site editing blocks

Here is a list of theme blocks introduced in 5.9:

  • Navigation
  • Template Part
  • Header
  • Footer
  • Post Author
  • Next Post
  • Previous Post
  • Post Comments
  • Term Description
  • Archive Title

Tip: Site editor blocks can also be used inside a WordPress post or page if needed.

Add Site-Wide Styles

Another important feature of the site editor is the ability to create new styles for your theme that will be applied across your site. Simply click on the Style icon on the top right corner of the screen when editing any post or page.

Editing theme styles

From here you can change the typography and colors of your website.

Once you are done, you can choose to save those changes for individual templates, template parts, or as a global style for your whole website.

Save template

Change Block Styles

With the site editor, you can also make changes to the styles of individual blocks used on your website.

Simply click on the Style button and then choose Blocks. You’ll see a list of blocks that you can edit and customize.

Edit block styles

This allows you to set styles for individual blocks across your website. For instance, you can change button colors to match your brand colors, change heading font sizes, and more.

A New Way to Add Navigation Menus

WordPress 5.9 introduces a new way to edit navigation menus.

First, you may notice that the ‘Menu’ link has now changed to Navigation Menus.

Navigation menus in WordPress 5.9

If you are using a supported theme, then you can simply add a navigation menu title here.

Blank navigation menus screen

To actually edit the navigation menu and add items to it, you can use the new Navigation Menu block in the site editor.

Navigation menu block

The new navigation menu block allows you to easily create navigation menus, add new links, adjust colors, spacing, alignment, and more.

New Default Theme Twenty Twenty-Two

Since WordPress 5.9 will be the first major release of the upcoming year, it will ship with a brand new default theme called Twenty Twenty-Two.

The new default theme takes advantage of all the cool features available in the new site editor.

Twenty Twenty-Two

It is designed to be the most flexible default WordPress theme ever, providing users immense control over every aspect of design.

Twenty Twenty-Two features a bold yet minimalistic design using Source Serif Pro font for headings.

Twenty Twenty-Two preview

The theme also comes with a bunch of ready-made patterns that you can use in the site editor or the block editor when writing content.

Patterns Twenty Twenty-Two

While the full site editing features are exciting, they still depend on your WordPress theme.

If you need an easier and more flexible option, then you can try SeedProd. It allows you to easily create custom pages for your website regardless of which WordPress theme you are using.

Block Editor Improvements in WordPress 5.9

Most WordPress users spend the majority of their time writing content. That’s why each WordPress release comes with improvements and new features added to the block editor.

Effortlessly Move Sections

Users will now be able to move sections from the List View on the toolbar. Simply click on an item and move it up and down.

Moving items in the block editor

This allows you to easily jump to different parts of the content and move them around so you can quickly readjust your layout.

Navigation Block

The navigation block in the site editor can also be used inside your WordPress posts and pages as well. This allows you to manually create navigation menus in your articles or landing pages.

For instance, you can use it to create a table of contents with links to different areas of an article.

Using navigation block for table of contents

Better Social Icons and Buttons

With previous versions of WordPress, it was a bit difficult to access controls of the parent and child blocks when working with social icons and buttons.

WordPress 5.9 will make it easier by allowing child blocks to use the parent block’s toolbar.

Social icons and button blocks absorb parent toolbar
<strong>Better Headings Controls<strong>

The headings block now allows you to select a heading level from a vertical dropdown menu. You also have more typography, design, margin, and spacing options for your headings.

Headings block now has more controls

Rich URL Previews in Block Editor

Previously, when you hovered your mouse over to a link in the post editor, you only saw the URL. WordPress 5.9 will now fetch and display rich URL previews for links inside post editor.

Rich URL previews

There are many other improvements to individual blocks in the block editor. All of them enhance user experience by offering more dimensions, spacing, typography, and other tools.

Choose Language During Login

If you have multiple languages installed on your WordPress website, then users will now be able to choose their preferred language on the login screen.

Choose language during login

Under the Hood Changes

WordPress 5.9 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 core PHP Test Suite will now support PHPUnit 8.x via PHPUnit Polyfills library (See details)
  • New function wp_get_post_revisions_url() to get URL for a post revision. (#39062)
  • New wp_list_users() template tag will be introduced. (#15145)

We hope this article gave you a glimpse into what’s coming in WordPress 5.9.

Comment below to let us know what features you find interesting and what you’d look to see in a future WordPress release!

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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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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Reader Interactions

35 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
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  2. Arielle Q Adams says

    I simply want to know, how do you change the favicon on the site please!!! The update made so I completely can’t find the settings.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Unless your theme changed the location, you should have the option under Appearance>Settings>Site Identity.


  3. Vineet Kumar Singh says

    Hi Team,

    I had read few blogs where they mentioned that WordPress 5.9 will come up with the solutions for improving Core Web Vitals which happens to be an important aspect when it comes to the SEO. You have not mentioned it though. Are they really working on it?

    Moreover, if we use blocks to design the site rather than the builders like Elementor or WP bakery, would It speed up the site?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      While base WordPress could be improved for core web vitals, with the number of ways that a WordPress site can be used, there is no guarantee every site will see any change.

      For blocks vs page builders, we do not have a comparison at the moment.


  4. Rex says

    Coder point of view, If we don’t want to use “Block Editor” and “Appearance > Customize” (to make WordPress light weight). can we have this option?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      If you wanted to separate the design from WordPress, you could look into headless WordPress for specifically a coded solution. For most users, if you are worried about the speed of your site we recommend using a CDN.


  5. Lisa says

    The changes in WP (e.g. the “site-wide” styles) are making child themes more and more redundant. This will make it easier for themes and plugins to be updated, I think.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      Hopefully it will make the updates easier but themes have some time as not everyone is a designer :)


  6. Lee Bush says

    WP for me has been a tough nut to crack. Primarily because I enjoy raw code. However more and more people/businesses enjoy the CMS idea of WP and others. So, I am trying to learn WP and develop a product line for those entities. That being said I am really looking forward to this new rollout.

    I think the best item for me is the changes in design. Particularly the “site-wide” styles. And overall it seems like it is an upgrade that provides more intricate control over the entire build procedure. Can’t wait to give it a go!

  7. Benning Peter says

    The new features I like most are the new blocks, the new navigation block and the option to choose language during log-in.

    Will it be possible, to show (in the navigation) more than one category list? In my projects, I will usually offer at least two categories (taxonomies): Country, Fields of Business.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You can certainly add multiple categories to your menu, if your theme has a specific feature that lists the categories, you would want to check with your theme’s support to see if that is an option.


  8. Nick Squires says

    do these new features (especially navigation) come with responsive edits. The current standard blocks are severely lacking in mobile/tablet customisation.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You should be able to use the preview option in your post editor to see how the blocks will display on mobile and tablet, your theme would be a large determining factor in how your blocks display on your site. If you want very specific responsive edits, you would likely want to look into a plugin to add that functionality.


  9. Gerald A. Livings says

    I am looking forward to a site-wide style editor. I have been wanting to convert my website to WP for a long time and it looks like I may finally be able to do that more easily.

  10. Michelle says

    It all sounds good, but I think the parts that I’m most looking forward to are the expanded block editing (headers, hold onto your horses), and the customizable navigation menus.

  11. Lee Graham says

    The next upgrade will be a awesome and the features it promises to deliver are long overdue. I have been trying them out and so far I like what I see, it give Gutenberg a lot of the features only previously available with Page builders

  12. Rita Settle says

    My favorite change is the Block Editor Improvements.
    Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into this site.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      That would depend on the classic editor plugin rather than WordPress itself and the plugin is planned to be supported through 2022 so it should still work. If it has been some time since you used the block editor, the 5.9 update may be a good time to test the block editor out to see if it fits your needs :)


  13. Sudhakar Tammysetty says

    Thank for the info about Version 5.9. This makes bloggers life easy by giving more creative options

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