WordPress Distraction Free Writing Mode Enhanced

It’s easy to get distracted while writing posts. You’re in a browser and you probably have a few other tabs open with notifications beeping at you from every direction. On top of that, the WordPress post editor has a ton of meta boxes competing for your attention. With all of this going on, how can you focus on crafting beautiful words?

The Distraction Free Writing Mode (DFWM) feature was introduced in WordPress 3.2, giving users the opportunity to find a zen place for writing while staying within the dashboard. It’s launched via the “fullscreen” button in the editor, whisking you away to a screen with an intentionally-limited button selection. These buttons fade away in the top menu as you begin composing. Here’s the default DFWM screen:

WordPress Distraction Free Writing Mode
WordPress Distraction Free Writing Mode

Enhance Distraction Free Writing Mode with the Visual Editor

Many users love the minimalism of this screen and will write the text of their post but format it later within the regular post editor. Just Writing is a new plugin that aims to keep you in the DFWM for the entire writing and formatting process.

Essentially, the plugin enhances DFWM by adding the visual editor to the top with the other buttons. It also disappears as per the normal behavior. Here’s a look at the enhanced version with all the extra buttons turned on:


With the plugin installed you gain the “Undo” and “Redo” functions, text align, underline. proofreading and everything that you would expect with the visual editor. Beyond that, Just Writing also performs a few more subtle functions:

  • Adds a Preview button to the right of the Save button
  • Moves the exit link to the right of the new Preview button as a real button
  • Re-orders the button list to make more sense
  • Per-user preferences for enabling Just Writing
  • Per-user preferences for which buttons to display

Even if you’re not a fan of the visual editor buttons, the extra Preview button is a definite improvement over the DFWM in its default form. Installing the plugin also doesn’t universally apply the settings to all users. Each user is able to choose the buttons he wants to display to create his own zen writing place.

Customize Your Distraction Free Writing Mode Experience

Enhanced? Isn’t the point of the distraction free writing mode to get rid of everything and just write? Sure there are some of you out there who hate the visual editor with a passion, but there are also many who currently depend upon it.

Just Writing isn’t an all-or-nothing plugin. It has an options panel where you can add or remove support for any of the visual editor buttons:

Just Writing plugin options
Just Writing plugin options

These options allow you to select the buttons that help you to stay in the flow while composing posts.

Just Writing is available for free in the WordPress plugin repository. If you feel like the Distraction Free Writing Mode is missing a few functions, give this plugin a spin and see if it enhances your writing experience.


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