WordPress 4.7 Removes the Underline and Justify Buttons From the Editor

Back in August, we highlighted potential changes to the WordPress editor that would improve the user experience. The team has since implemented some of the suggestions outlined in ticket #27159 into WordPress 4.7, including rearranging some of the toolbar buttons. The headers drop-down menu is now in the top row of buttons while the strikethrough and horizontal rule buttons are on the second row.

The underline and justify buttons are no longer available. According to Andrew Ozz, who primarily works on the TinyMCE editor in WordPress, underlining text causes confusion as readers may interpret it as a link. The justify button was removed because it has uneven browser implementation and often makes text less readable. However, keyboard shortcuts for both buttons will continue to work in 4.7.

WordPress 4.6 Post Editor
WordPress 4.6 Post Editor
WordPress 4.7 Post Editor
WordPress 4.7 Post Editor

In addition to these changes, tooltips that appear when hovering over a button will display the keyboard shortcut making them easier to discover.

Since WordPress does not track which buttons are used most often the team can not accurately measure the impact these changes will have. Users are encouraged to test WordPress 4.7 beta 1 and share your feedback on the Alpha/Beta section of the support forums.

53 Comments


  1. I would like to see the decision makers remove the editor and leave it to plugins. That way, those of us too stupid to make decisions can decide which buttons we believe we need. But who am I? LOL

    I know, it’s a wasted comment but aren’t most comments a waste anyway?

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      1. The explanation for removing the underline button just told me the WP people have nothing better to do with their time. I mean, I don’t think there are many people on the planet who confuse an underlined word with a link. And, if someone does, they probably shouldn’t be on the page, anyway. :(

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      2. I’d encourage you to watch people using a website that underlines text (particularly heading-like text) without linking it. Having done so myself, it’s quite common to see people try to click these.

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    1. So if the rest of us want the full editor, underline, justify and all, why should we need to pfaff around with bespeaking our own? The editing toolbar suits my needs so I don’t want to change it – other than to add new options.

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  2. Centered text is the bane of my existence. And underlined text that is not a link? Dear God, that is pure insanity.

    I say great! Less is more.

    4.7, let’s rock!

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    1. Centered text has its place. Mobile layouts, pricing columns, grid layouts, etc. I don’t get why it could be the bane of your existence unless you’re working with shit ass designers.

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      1. Underline links went out in 1999 with the last century ….blue and underlined i suppose

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  3. I cant live without /justify… Why remove it? I don’t care it makes it less readable; nobody read my posts anyway…

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  4. Finally, I have been using custom code to reorder Header dropdown to top for 2 years.

    From my experience of teaching client on how to manage their site. Top header is very important since it’s often used.

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  5. Is every underlined word a link? There are lots of website/blog which sets the text-decoration to none (no underlining).
    It’s more in fact the color which sets the indication if it’s a link or not.
    By underlining words or headers, you can take extra attention on a specific word. It also really depends on the site and audience, but underlining can be usefull and really different from looking like a link.

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    1. Since the earliest days of the web, underlines have been the standard, default convention for indicating a hyperlink. It tells users “clicking this text will take me to [insert resource here]”. This convention is great from an accessibility and usability point of view. Then designers got involved and got overly “cute” with styling links and text. So now links actually start to look like buttons, don’t have underlines, tend to have some fancy animated hover effect, etc. And then somebody decides they need to mimic their Word document and underline some text to emphasize it. Unfortunately this is bad for web accessibility and usability because now users are never quite sure what is or isn’t a link since the conventions are not being followed. So taking this more “accessibility and usability” focused view of this decision, this will be good for the web as it reinforces standard conventions. If you need to emphasize text, use the <em> tag which actually has semantic meaning and won’t confuse website visitors.

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      1. There is a subtle difference between an underscore (to give weight to the word) and bold (to indicate a word with special significance, and again italics serve another purpose (eg for foreign language words, or proper nouns). Writers like us don’t use underscores for links. This change is imposing the views of some on the practices of others. For us, the underlining is a problem we’ve dealt with long ago.

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  6. This is just another example of the WordPress people having to constantly f*ck with things that aren’t broken. No one asked for these buttons to be removed but they are obsessed with changing things anyway, as if this is some kind of progress. If it’s not broken, leave it alone.

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  7. Heh, all my stuff’s justified, and links aren’t underlined. From theme though, nothing to do with edit options. Not that I use the visual editor anyway. (Speaking of, now that I looked I can’t find an option to not use the visual editor there. Works (I’m on 4.5.4), still just have those basic few buttons (and only rarely use the link one when I don’t feel like typing the tag myself, never anything else), but wondering how. I’m sure I remember an option at some point. May have been years ago though.)
    So just saying, for those who do. Really really stupid. Another case of “fixing” what’s not broken there. Again. “We know better, users are clueless, we’ll shepherd them down the right path.”

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  8. Hey, me i do use Justify some times in my posts, but i had never used underline to indicate words on my blogs, i use to indicate words in my blog, so i think the new features of WordPress V4.7 will be a good one, like that of V4.6, that don’t reload when installing or deleting plugins on WordPress Blog Powered Sites. like this article…

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  9. I use the Underline each time my team need atention to something.

    We do not publish content like that, as we create the post together is very useful and fast for editors.

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  10. While at it, can WP remove the earphone jack!
    Then we can Add an extension to bring it back..

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  11. About time too. Good riddance!

    I stick code into a plugin to remove these and a few other icons from every site I build.

    Now can we get rid of the text colour and text align icons? Both great ways to wreck nice looking themes.

    And the H1 heading option from the drop-down. Because that should be dictated by the theme, not left to the guesswork of users.

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    1. you must come from the “didn’t pay attention to learning grammer and english at school” club

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  12. Do any of the people who make these decisions use WordPress to write blog posts? Sometimes, it doesn’t seem like it. First, they say that the WordPress Visual Editor is as easy to use as a word processor, then they remove core buttons found in any word processor.

    Every day, people are using WordPress for the very first time. These people have no experience with code. For these people, the Visual Editor is where they’ll be spending all their time when using WordPress. To them, the Visual Editor is WordPress. To burn calories making the Visual Editor less like a word processor is a mistake.

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    1. Agreed …. sign of the time people are not taught even to [underline]type[underline] now [exclamation mark]

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    2. Although I hate to see underlines that aren’t hyperlinks, I gotta agree with Rick here – I couldn’t say it any better.

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    3. Thanks for sharing your clear perspective, Rick. I can tell you that many of the people advocating for the removal of these buttons do in fact use the Visual Editor. I use it almost exclusively in fact since that’s what my clients use.

      As other commenters have discussed, there are some big differences between print documents and websites. Since the web is an interactive (clicky!) and responsive (shifting layout) medium, certain usability requirements and limitations/variations among browsers mean some print formats don’t translate well on the web.

      I do a lot of training of people with experience in Word that are learning WordPress for the first time (sounds like you know WP pretty well). The editor I provide clients is even more stripped down and I’ve seen very positive results with the sites they produce: https://wordpress.org/plugins/mrw-web-design-simple-tinymce/

      Here’s what I tell them: Formatting for print has different requirements than the web. When I give you a WordPress text editor, it’s a promise that the buttons I give you will work well and help you make good usability and readability decisions—based on extensive research—for your site visitors.

      The changes the WordPress editor made are very much inline with that view. I simply hope this helps your understand the view point of the decision makers a bit better.

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  13. This is a good decision. Underlines (typically for titles or emphasis) and justified text are remnants of the print world that have never worked well for the Web. Having them available in default WP has meant that new users are given features that are non-standard, which is something we should always push against.

    For the few people who have a dire need for the features (and, yes, there are some technical writing requirements for things like underlines), this is what plugins are meant for.

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    1. I’m not necessarily against removing underline and justify buttons.
      However, I still think that something entrenched this long into core needs an optional removal checkbox.
      That’s all we need–more plugins to return functionality to what used to exist in core.
      (I had to use italics to highlight as underline was not available).

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      1. Justin you are not correct, not everybody is a geek, most normal people use underline to highlight key words, how do you do that ?,yes, how about making a standard and advanced toolbar that you can drag stuff in and out of ….then if the “underline” offends you you can hide it, but if you are normal and actually write and read english you can keep them ….stupid attitude

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      2. Good, we’ve resorted to playground “discussions” now.

        “You’re stupid.”

        “No, you’re stupid.”

        “Your face is stupid.”

        Thanks for reminding me why I tend to avoid commenting on WP Tavern.

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    2. Underlines (typically for titles or emphasis) and justified text are remnants of the print world that have never worked well for the Web. Having them available in default WP has meant that new users are given features that are non-standard, which is something we should always push against.

      It’s a button. And I disagree. That being said…

      Be careful comparing the wonderful world of WordPress or a WYSIWYG editor with the century-old, methodical, art and craft of: writing composition, language, typesetting, communication techniques and style guidance. I won’t digress 1,000+ years. Just the other day I underlined something. Just the other day I justified a call-out. And so did/will millions of others.

      This “Web” you speak of is a mere extension of the “Print” (or Publishing) world which will still exist for the next 100 years. The Web has made every attempt to mirror/simulate Print in so many ways and will continue to do so—regardless what a publishing platform has to say. As for an anchor’s disruption for hyperlinking, well that can err on the side of Accessibility standards.

      Since I just love discussing buttons …I usually believe one-less-button is a good idea and promote this change. But adding/removing a silly button has nothing to do with Print vs Web. Print never underlined a zillion xrefs, the Web did that.

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      1. I much prefer print over the Web. I got started in design handling newspaper and magazine layouts.

        This isn’t to say that the Web is better. Perhaps “remnants” was a poor choice of words. The Web absolutely sucks at these things. And, I’d love to see the Web follow the print world even more as we move into the future. There are some great designers doing some awesome work, but the technologies are different.

        This absolutely has a lot to do with print vs. the Web though. These are things that work very well in the print world but not so much online. There are standards and limitations of the current technology.

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      2. I can be a self-indulged preservationist at times ;) I just feel the altering of mechanisms in-use, however slight, can be detrimental towards the greater good of all-the-things. Further discussion is always relative. I hear ya.

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  14. Well that is a ignorant view, underline is still a valid way of starting a section

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  15. Honestly these are not positive changes. There are legitimate reasons for using underline and justified text and the editor should reflect that.

    If they want to simplify it, then create a simple mode that users can select. Otherwise, as others have pointed out, this creates the need for yet another plugin to restore a feature that was supported in core.

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  16. I use TinyMCE Advanced to customize the buttons in the editor – Is it safe to say that since this functionality is still in TinyMCE if we are using something like TinyMCE Advanced that we can still have those buttons – they just wont be part of the default loaded button set??

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  17. Wonderful. Another decision made by WP devs on something they don’t have data for, so it may impact a lot more users than they think.

    If they really want to do something useful, make it like Jetpack, and you choose which writing “modules” you want to keep and which ones you want to discard.

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  18. All these wonderful writers seem to forget that the keyboard shortcuts to underline and justify have been kept; there’s really no need for any extra plugin, or a loss of current functionality as it’s just a chance for them to be more efficient in their creativity by not having to take their fingers off of the keys…

    For the rest of us, we get a cleaner toolbar that doesn’t include two buttons which invoke visual styling that can hinder accessibility and user experience.

    It’s a win for everybody.

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  19. Hi all,

    Sorry but the impression I get is that we are treating all Web surfer as “ IDIOTS “ poor people that cannot comprehend the difference between underline and a link (I do hope this comment is insulting enough to all of us and that we react to this none sense).

    Please do not remove this feature, instead ADD a button creation feature, this way we could have a tool for all links.

    As for justification, If there is a browser problem, let’s fix it and not bury it.

    Are we going back to the stone age??? – My two cents.

    Regards,

    Ducktape

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  20. don’t you all remember the triangular bracket on it’s side, u next then the closing triangular bracket on it’s other side then repeat but with a / part to it?
    or even the [ bracket and ] bracket?

    WPTavern comments is interpreting this wrong.

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  21. Ok this is the first time I got really mad at WordPress, they screwed up my entire website with this stupid update! What were they thinking? They have no right to mess with my theme settings – they changed the width of the text column and added paragraph indents which I hate! All the media now look croocked, like seriously I hate WordPress right now so much!!! How do I go back to how it was before? Are there any plugins that WordPress-the-Grinch has spoiled?

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  22. I don’t understand the need to eliminate the justify button, even if we can use shortcuts (but that’s apply for everything else). I thought it was a mistake when I saw it, then I realized they discussed about it for a long time? What? Just leave at the editors all 4 choices and we decide what to do: the people that write content all day! Thank you.

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