WordPress 4.5 Adds Inline Editing to the Links Modal

Today Andrew Ozz, one of the maintainers on WordPress’ core Editor component, announced some major improvements coming to the links modal in the 4.5 release. Currently, when adding a link to text in the visual editor, a modal launches where you can paste in the URL, add link text, and set the target to open in a new window. The modal also expands to let you search for and link to existing content.

The TinyMCE link modal in WordPress 4.5 will allow for inline editing. It can actually detect when a user is entering a URL or attempting to search for one. The search uses jQuery UI Autocomplete, making it fast and easy to search through existing content. The gears icon launches the full modal with advanced options to set the target and title attribute.


The links modal improvements are the result of WordPress core contributor Ella Iseulde Van Dorpe’s work on a ticket opened to make this UI similar to the way Google Docs handles links. The experience of linking in the visual editor is now tighter and much more elegant and intuitive. This is one of the many small, yet impactful ways that WordPress is improving with each incremental release.


29 responses to “WordPress 4.5 Adds Inline Editing to the Links Modal”

      • Yes, but it requires extra click and it opens full modal, so this new feature is not applicable for any links required opening in new tab.
        That is why I miss that litle square check box inside new modal.

        • Peter, I think that’d be a great addition! I suggest opening a new ticket on Trac with a patch if possible. It would probably be great to ping isuelde to discuss it since she’s quite familiar with the new feature :)

        • Our journalists report the same issue. An added check box in the first step of the inline link editor widget would be perfect.

          They go so far as to request that there be a default WP setting so new links are automatically selected to open the link in a new window. 99% of the inline links they create in a post are external and should be opened in a new window. The options gear requires 4 extra clicks that can be saved if it is the default option.

  1. This feature also has a shortcut – CTRL+K (Command+K on Mac). In this case you don’t need to highlight the entire text of link. It’s enough to put the cursor on the desired word and press “insert link btn” or ctrl+k

    • I still mostly write my posts in HTML too via the Text tab. For me that’s only because I built that habit back years ago when the visual editor was more than a little problematic. Though I have to admit the visual editor is so good these days that there’s really little reason not to use it anymore.

    • I write them in HTML too. Or rather, I use the HTML tab to paste in the content that I’ve written elsewhere first.

    • You’re not alone. HTML (and bbcode!) is ingrained in me. If I’m writing something long-form I tend to bust open Atom before anything else.

  2. I have mixed feelings about this. If it can make searching for existing posts a bit easier, I’m all for it. However, I think the old interface did a fine job.

    If it were me, I’d have polished the modal popup a bit further, doing things like autofocusing on the search box and adding selective search (like searching only posts, pages, etc).

    Maybe a bit of parsing like Google would be nice, such as typing type:page to narrow down results more easily.

    • I agree that the old modal was fine as well, and I had my doubts about this new approach when I first saw it. But it’s grown on me. This new tooltip does a good job of keeping you “in flow” – that is, you’re still in the editor, rather than navigating to a new pop-up window.

      • That was what excited me about it, initially. And if we could make the default “open in a new window” and make the inline link editor disappear when we’re done with it, it could be awesome. Unfortunately, those two features are missing.

  3. That would be a cool feature especially linking to existing posts. Never a dull moment with WordPress. Thanks guys.

  4. Is it just me but why wouldn’t you either add the autocomplete feature to the existing modal or move everything to this new inline modal. Also does that mean if you edit a link it brings up the full modal. Just seems a bit weird trying make things easier by making one bit easier and an other an extra click.

    • Absolutely. To me this change is a major hazard. I need to define the “open in new tab” plus most of my llinks are externar which means an extra http:// until the system figures out what I want to use. Loads of extra work for nothing in return. Actively looking for a way to disable this so called “improvement”.

      • we use ‘open in new tab’ for most links. complete hassle to take the extra step. so bummed.

      • I have to agree this is a step backward. If I want to use an internal link, I have to scroll horizontally to see the entire names. Everything worked fine and now there are extra steps involved. BTW, if you’re going to mess with the link system, throw a “nofollow” checkbox in there too requiring less editing too.

  5. This feature breaks the editor.

    In this image you can see the modal window goes to the bottom of the page. And the editor is blank and frozen. To make it work again, you have to close the page/post and then open it.

    This behavior is present in many sites, with different plugins. Java script conflict?

    Anyone with a similar problem?


  6. The new modal must be optional, or removed.

    All my links are “open in new window,” and I must be able to control that without an extra click.

    Respect the users.

    • I am the user of thousands of websites, now yours included. When opening a link I have at least three ways to open it in another tab or window. Or not, if you just stop adding target=_blank to them. I want to decide, but you use force.

      Respect the users, please.

      • You seem to be criticizing my coding style. I’m not sure why that would even come up.


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