WordPress Keyboard Shortcuts to Streamline Your Workflow

Improving the efficiency of each step of your workflow is crucial for every type of business. WordPress keyboard shortcuts are a great way to streamline the content creation process on your website. The new editor introduced in WordPress 5.0 has an intuitive user interface, but some nested actions require multiple clicks to reach. We have prepared a collection of the most useful keyboard shortcuts and tips to make your experience even more seamless.

WordPress keyboard shortcuts
Article by Dawid Zimny
I am particularly interested in web analytics. Knowing the way your visitors browse your website will help you improve their browsing experience and is crucial for converting them into clients.

The focus of our list is on the most useful and efficient WordPress keyboard shortcuts as well as user interface tips for options that aren’t obvious at first glance. With that being said, we will also cover the basics, such as platform-specific text manipulation shortcuts. If you’re not familiar with them, stick around until the end of the article.

Check out our short write-up about Gutenberg features first if you’re not familiar with the new WordPress editor.

WordPress keyboard shortcuts for Gutenberg blocks

Forward slash to pick the block type

The editor instantly gives us one of the most valuable tips. After creating a new block, the placeholder text says “Start writing or type / to choose a block”. The emphasis here is on the forward slash.

Typing it at the beginning of the block will display a default list of block types. Following it with additional input works as a search feature. You can see it pictured below on the right, where we’re looking for “Image” block by typing /i.

Choosing a Gutenberg block by typing a forward slash at the beginning of a new block.
Forward slash in a new block allows you to quickly pick its type and any additional input acts as a search feature.

Insert new blocks

You can start a new block in a few ways: click the circled plus icon, simply pressing enter or using one of two keyboard shortcuts.

  • CTRL + ALT + Y (CMD + OPT + Y on Mac) creates a new block after the selected block(s). While it seems counterintuitive to press three keys instead of pressing enter or using the plus icon, there are cases where this is more convenient. One of them is when you’re inputting the image description inside of a block – enter will start a new line in the description rather than take you to a new block.
  • CTRL + ALT + T (CMD + OPT + T on Mac) creates a new block before the selected block(s). This is the more useful of the two shortcuts since the only alternative to it is the plus icon above the current block – which is only visible once you click outside of the block you’re currently typing in.

These shortcuts are also available from the block’s dropdown menu with three vertical dots.

The dropdown menu of a block display Gutenberg keyboard shortcuts next to them
The dropdown menu of a Gutenberg block.

Duplicate the block(s)

In the aforementioned dropdown menu you’ll also find an option to duplicate blocks. You can do it quicker by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + D (CMD + SHIFT + D on Mac) – this is especially useful if you need multiple multimedia blocks.

Remove a block

As pictured above, you can quickly remove your current block by pressing SHIFT + ALT + Z (SHIFT + OPT + Z on Mac).

The sidebar

The sidebar contains additional formatting options depending on the block type. For headings, you can choose the text alignment or the heading level (which is already visible in the block). If your block is a paragraph, you can change the font size, turn the drop cap on or change the background and text colours.

What if you’re not interested in any of the options and would rather have more room in your browser? Or perhaps you have closed the sidebar by pressing the x in its top right corner and don’t know how to bring it back? CTRL + SHIT + , (CMD + SHIFT + , on Mac) shortcut will hide and show the sidebar.

Format shortcuts

  • A star * starts an unordered list just like this one.
  • Ordered list starts intuitively when typing 1.
  • Three hyphens in an empty block will create a separator like the one below (you can pick a short line, wide line or dots).

Text selection shortcuts

  • CTRL + A (CMD + A on Mac) selects all text, although at the moment of writing the article the new editor doesn’t always react to it as intended and will select the entire article instead of the current block. Another way to select all the text in the current block is to triple-click anywhere on the text.
  • A double-click on a word will select the single word. You can also use a shortcut of CTRL + SHIFT + Right/Left arrow (CMD + SHIFT + Right/Left on Mac) to select one word to the right or left of the position of your cursor.
  • You can also use SHIFT + Right/Left to select a single character – holding the combination will allow you to select as many words as you like.
  • SHIFT + HOME selects all text from the cursor until the beginning of the current line on both Windows and Mac.
  • SHIFT + END works in a similar way, selecting text until the end of the line.

Basic text manipulation

  • CTRL + C (CMD + C) to copy the text
  • CTRL + V (CMD + V) to paste it
  • CTRL + X (CMD + X) cuts the text, which deletes it while also copying and is useful if you want to move your text to a different block since it does both deleting and copying at once.
  • CTRL + SHIFT + V (CMD + SHIFT + V) pastes text without any formatting. It’s best used when copying from different sources that might include hyperlinks or other forms of text formatting that you don’t want.
  • CTRL + B (CMD + B) makes the text bold
  • CTRL + I (CMD + I) to apply italics
  • CTRL + U (CMD + U) to underline the text
  • CTRL + K (CMD + K) to insert a link
  • CTRL + SHIFT + K (CMD + SHIFT + K) to remove a link from the selected text. Selecting the entire hyperlinked text will remove it altogether.

What are some other WordPress keyboard shortcuts you frequently use?

Let us know in the comments below. We would also like to know whether you have found adapting to these shortcuts easy or not – do you think they’re intuitive?

While we’re aware it can take some time and you might struggle at first, these shortcuts are incredibly helpful in our editing process and increased our productivity significantly, removing needless “off the keyboard” time. They provide a smooth transition between writing and formatting the article.

Last but not least, we have our final combination, perhaps the most useful at the beginning of learning the shortcuts. Pressing ALT + SHIFT + H (CTRL + OPT + H on Mac) brings up a help popup where you can find most of the WordPress keyboard shortcuts.

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