How to Disable Fullscreen Editor in WordPress

After its update, WordPress 5.4 opens the post and page editor in fullscreen mode by default. While some have found this distraction-free mode to be great for its clean and easy to use experience, others are more inclined to go back to the regular compact view. This is completely understandable, as one size does not fit all. With this in mind, we have created a simple guide that will teach you how to disable fullscreen editor in WordPress. By going through it, you will be able to get back to your desired WP look with great ease.

Why did WordPress switch to fullscreen mode for the editor?

In cases like these, people often wonder why a certain change has taken place at all. It is not like the previous version was hard to work with. Well, it all started way back when WordPress introduced the new editor called The Block Editor in WordPress 5.0. This update allows users to use blocks for common elements and create separate content layouts. It also mimics the article’s and page’s apparel by using the same fonts and colors as your WordPress theme. However, the admin menu you can see on your left and the one on the top made it look a tad cluttered. And, with too many options on the screen, one can find it rather hard to focus on the writing content.

A person typing on their laptop
Keeping your attention on important matters is harder when you are surrounded by an abundance of content.

In order to mend this issue, the WordPress team made a decision to set the editor fullscreen by default, in hopes of providing uses with distraction-free writing experience. At this moment, however, it is important noting that this fullscreen mode is by no means anything new. It was there all along, and the users were free to turn it on and off as they please. Still, with this change, it is now the default view when writing posts in WordPress.

How to disable the fullscreen editor in WordPress without much hassle?

You will be glad to know that learning how to disable the fullscreen editor in WordPress for block editor is a super simple task. When you edit a post or page, simply click on the three-dot menu on the top-right corner of the screen. This action will display the settings menu for the post editor. You will then simply need to click on the ‘Fullscreen Mode’ to turn it off. Alas, the post editor will instantly exit the fullscreen mode, and you will be able to see the admin sidebar at the top toolbar.

Know that WordPress will store your fullscreen mode preference in your browser’s temporary storage. However, if you were to switch to a different browser, used incognito mode, or accessed the admin area from a different device, you will again be met with the fullscreen editor. So, if you are using multiple devices, user accounts, or browsers to access your WordPress admin area, be prepared to deal with this switching every time. Or, don’t, as we will now explain how to fix this permanently.

Disable the fullscreen editor in WordPress for good

In order to disable the fullscreen editor permanently, you will have to add code manually to your WordPress site. Do not be dismayed at the thought of doing this, as it is not complicated at all. Simply enter the following code in your WordPress theme’s functions.php file, or in a site-specific plugin.

Computer with code on the screen
Don’t worry. In order to learn how to disable fullscreen editor in WordPress you won’t have to learn how to code.

The code you need to copy:

if (is_admin()) {
    function jba_disable_editor_fullscreen_by_default() {
    $script = “jQuery( window ).load(function() { const isFullscreenMode = ‘core/edit-post’ ).isFeatureActive( ‘fullscreenMode’ ); if ( isFullscreenMode ) { ‘core/edit-post’ ).toggleFeature( ‘fullscreenMode’ ); } });”;
    wp_add_inline_script( ‘wp-blocks’, $script );
add_action( ‘enqueue_block_editor_assets’, ‘jba_disable_editor_fullscreen_by_default’ );

The code will first check if a user is viewing an admin area page. If this is true, then it will check the status of the fullscreen editor. If the said editor is enabled, it will turn it off. Simple as that. Mind you, you can still manually turn-off the fullscreen mode from the post edict screen, just as we have described. And your post editor will work perfectly. However, by returning back, it will automatically turn it off.

Should you disable fullscreen editor in WordPress?

Now that you have learned how to disable fullscreen editor in WordPress, it is worth asking whether you should utilize that knowledge at all. After all, you already have the browser’s fullscreen option. By pressing F11 in Chrome, you will hide the top address bar, tools, and any bookmarks you have. Press it again, and the browser will return to normal. So, why use the fullscreen editor in WordPress? Well, the latter is a bit different. Pressing a button on the editor screen will cause WordPress to hide any elements that do not relate to creating content. As mentioned, the WP team wanted to help writers focus on the content without any disturbances. After all, it is easy for wandering eyes to catch a glimpse of a tool or function, and that is a common distraction for many. To illustrate this point further, it is like a clean slate allowing you to focus purely on the content you create. It is there to boost your productivity and improve your workflow.

A person using WordPress
Think before you discard this useful feature and possibly give it a try.

Still, if this is not your cup of tea, we will pass no judgment. As you now know how to disable fullscreen editor in WordPress, you also have the power to adjust it exactly to your writing. We suggest you to at least try working in the fullscreen mode, as giving it a chance may prove to be fruitful. Who knows, it might boost your creativity even more. It would be a shame to miss out on such an opportunity just for the slight discomfort a change has brought upon your experience.

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