Gutenberg 5.7 Adds New Block Appender for Group and Columns Blocks

Today’s release of Gutenberg brings a major improvement to the usability of the Group block. In previous versions of the editor, it wasn’t easy to see if a block had been inserted as a child block, especially since the default behavior was to insert an empty paragraph block. Gutenberg 5.7 brings more clarity to the UI for Group blocks by displaying the new block appender as the default state when no inner blocks are detected. (The “appender” is the fancy name for the button with the plus sign inside it that opens the UI for inserting a new block.)

The Columns block has also been updated to add the new block appender, and this release adds support for setting column widths. The inflexibility of the Columns block has been a frustration for users since it was introduced, but this release makes progress on one of the most common requests. Users can now set a percentage width for the columns in the block settings. The UI for this is a bit clunky, but a more interactive, draggable column resizer handle is coming in a future release. Future iterations may also include “quick-select” template options for users to select from when setting up their columns.

Other new features in this release include support for showing post content or an excerpt in the Latest Posts block and support for header and footer toggles in the Table block.

One handy little addition to Gutenberg 5.7 is the ability to update images using drag & drop. Users can now drag an image onto an image block that already contains an image. The image will be uploaded and will replace the previous one, saving users many clicks in the process of changing an image. Future updates may also add the same behavior to the audio, video, file, and Media & Text blocks.

Gutenberg 5.7 includes dozens of bug fixes and accessibility improvements, with several suggestions that originated from WPCampus’ accessibility audit. It also brings a significant boost in performance with a 14% faster loading time than the previous version.

The project’s documentation has a new home on WordPress DevHub and has been reorganized for better navigation.

A list of all the changes in the 5.7 release is available in the release post.


8 responses to “Gutenberg 5.7 Adds New Block Appender for Group and Columns Blocks”

  1. Excuse me for being a dim-wit but isn’t Gutenberg in core?
    I see that it is also still in the Plugins repository.
    So can someone please explain how this works –
    1. Will the plugin override core?
    2. What happens if I deactivate v5.7+ of the plugin before core is updated?
    3. When will core be updated to 5.7?
    Thanks in advance for answering my outrageous (…ly obvious) questions!

    • The plugin is now the development version of the Editor.

      Its development happens to be way faster than this of Core, so it is separated, which makes sense in my opinion. Every time a new Core version comes out it is decided which version of Gutenberg and which fixes etc. go into Core so Core always has a stable version of the Editor.

      Yes, you can use the Gutenberg plugin and it will replace then the Core version of the Editor. I would only recommend this for testing or staging installs, though, not for Live.

    • No, they’re not obvious and are very good questions.

      When there is a release of core, this includes the latest version of Gutenberg. However, to stay on top of the latest incremental GB updates, you can install the plugin and this will keep you “topped up” between core releases.

      So, to answer your questions…

      1. Yes
      2. GB will drop back to whichever version was bundled in your current version of WP
      3. Probably the next core release

      • Thanks to everyone for answering the questions.

        The only followup I have is the overwhelming recommendation not to use the plugin on production sites.

        It would seem worth the risk at this point in time to use the latest and greatest code release. This way I can leverage ASAP, the advantages to a rapidly improving product.

        Beyond the usual risks of using beta software (is Gutenberg in the repository actually beta?) Do I have to worry about an odds on chance of a catastrophic crash or security breech?

        Based on the Gutenberg plugin page, it seems that there might be an even better chance that the latest repository version could reduce risks.


  2. The new additions of the Group block and improvements to the column block are welcome. All they need now are some settings for padding and margins. I will add though that it is still very irritating to have to click around to bring different elements (the group, row of columns and each individual column) into focus.

  3. That’s a step in a good direction but it messes up my workflow because I can’t figure out how to efficiently create nested blocks using keyboard only now.

    Previously I would type `/group` and press enter to create a group. The cursor would be placed inside of the group and allow me to type instantly. Now I am stuck in TAB TAB TAB TAB – oh, no – SHIFT+TAB hell.


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