WordPress 5.5 - What's new and improved? - LearnWP

WordPress 5.5 – What’s new and improved?

WordPress 5.5 What's new?

WordPress 5.5 has been released and we feel like kids in a candy store!

Updating to 5.5

If you’re relatively new to WordPress and don’t know how to update your site, read this post then come back here.

First off, let me say that we don’t recommend updating to 5.5 on your live website, first update in a staging, test environment to ensure that there are no issues with plugins or the theme that you are running. You may even want to hold off updating on a live site until 5.5.1 is released. This allows more time for plugin and theme authors to fix any conflicts.

Make sure that when you do update to 5.5 you also update all your themes and plugins at the same time.

Look at all these new WordPress 5.5 goodies 🙂

Improvements to the Add Block +

The ‘Add new block’ button (+) is now more noticeable and looks more like a button with a black background. This is a big visual improvement. This area will display your most used blocks. You will no longer scroll here through all available blocks. You can type in the name of the block you want into search or you can click Browse all.

Click the Add Block + button in the top left corner and you’ll see the new and improved way to Browse all blocks. Now it kinda makes sense that WordPress was pushing us into Fullscreen Mode. I still don’t like fullscreen mode, I need my top toolbar at least! So I prefer to collapse the dashboard sidebar by clicking the arrow at the bottom left of the column.

Block Directory

When you search for a block you now have access to the new Block Directory. The Block Directory is a way to find new block types without leaving the page or post you are working on. If there is no current block that matches your search, other results from the block directory will be listed. NOTE: adding a block that is not already in your website will add a plugin to your site. Browse here to view all the available new blocks in the directory. The Block Directory does not include block library plugins such as The Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg plugin.

Block Patterns & Reusable Blocks

Block Patterns are an exciting new feature: These are blocks with pre-configured layouts that you can instantly add.

Reusable Blocks are now accessed next to Patterns. This is a nice improvement. You can manage all reusable blocks easily here too.

Block Navigation

When nesting items you may have struggled in the past to know which block you were in. The only way to tell was to go to the block navigation from the top menu. With 5.5 if you mouse over the block type a little popup will appear above it where you can select the parent element.

Moving Blocks

The arrows to move blocks up and down have moved to the top of the block from the side. What isn’t intuitive is that now the 6 dots that we used to drag and drop blocks are gone. Just click and hold the arrow to grab the block for dragging.

Image Editing

A nice time-saver is the new way we can crop images directly inside the block editor. You don’t need to open the image in the media library, you can edit right on the page or post where you are working.

After clicking the “Crop” icon, you’ll see three options:

  • Zoom (the magnifying icon)
  • Aspect Ratio (the picture icon) Choose Square, Landscape, or Portrait
  • Rotate (the circular arrow icon)

When you click Apply you will create a new image in the media library. Your original image will still be available.


WordPress 5.5 comes with device preview options. Now you can easily preview your content on desktop, tablet and mobile screen sizes before you Publish or Update.

Enable auto-updates

WordPress Theme and Plugins can now be set to auto-update. This is a good way to ensure that you are always running the latest code. That said, we recommend testing new versions of plugins in a staging installation before using them on your live site. At the very least, ensure that you have regular backups of your site.

Another nice feature is that if you need to manually update a plugin or a theme you can now do so by uploading a ZIP file.

And there’s more in WordPress 5.5

Click the WordPress W logo in your top toolbar to read more on the About Screen about the Search and Speed improvements.

Once you’ve played around with the new features in WordPress 5.5, leave us a question or comment and let us know what you like best about the new features in WordPress.

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