Lee Odden

Extra Text Editing in WordPress

Lee Odden     Blogging Strategy

Color Color ColorA client asked me today for more control in their WordPress control panel. Specifically, when posting they wanted to control the font sizes, colors and do a bit more. As a designer I always freak at that question as I think the code is going to be filled with massive amounts of font tags and out of order strong tags and ohhh the madness. But, then again, maybe I’m overreacting.

So, I did some researching and came up with one possible idea, Xinha4WP. It’s a WordPress plugin that replaces the default text editor with a much more advanced version. It also needs the Text Control plugin to work so you need to install that too.

Xinha4WP gives bloggers many features including all font control (sizes and colors), tables, additional smilies, special characters and few more items. The coolest thing is the maximize button that lets you make the editor the size if your browser window.

The downside is that it is a rather large plugin weighing in at 5.5mb. It is also showing up above the built in WordPress editor widow. This is not ideal to have two editor windows especially since the default WordPress one is ignored. This could be a conflict with the video pugin they using too. Not sure.

I’ve also recommended to the client some desktop blogging software that may give added control while not giving to much away. Like ScribeFire, Etco or Flock to name a few.

Personally, I don’t think I’d ever use Xinha4WP and Text Control, however others might find it quite useful. At the same time, I don’t usually have the need for altering text sizes and colors that often. It’ll be interesting to hear back from the client after a few weeks of use to see how they felt the plugin performed.

Do you require more control than the default WordPress editor gives you? If so, what do you use?


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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Windows Live Writer is a very good tool for these purposes ( http://windowslivewriter.spaces.live.com/ ). I also would not want to make any changes in WordPress itself. This could lead to all kinds of compatibility issues…

  2. I’ll have to fire up my Paralles at home and check out Windows Live Writer. Thanks.

  3. Live Writer is very good but I have also used Xina4 and I like it a lot. The issue you see with two editors is because you must disable the default wp editor by simply going into user profile and unchecking use editor check box.

  4. I’m a big fan of hand-coding any spur-of-the-moment design features. It’s easy enough to search for tutorials on how to do this. After all, there are only so many things you can do.

  5. One option that I found is Dean’s FCK editor for WordPress Plugin: http://www.deanlee.cn/wordpress/fckeditor-for-wordpress-plugin. It’s also pretty hefty, but it replaces the standard WordPress editor with the well-known FCK editor. I personally don’t like the FCK editor, and I think it gives users too much flexibility, i.e. users may start adding 20 px red text to their site for emphasis if allowed to – yuck!

    But I discovered a little-known secret that increases the functionality of the standard WordPress editor: if you press alt+shift+v in Firefox, or alt-v in IE, a second row of buttons appears on the toolbar with these added possibilities: a drop down box of styles, such as Paragraph, Header 1, etc.; an Underline button; a Justify button; font color button; paste as plain text; paste from Word (essential to keep out all the awful Word garbage code); remove formatting; cleanup messy code; insert custom character; and undo and redo.

    There is a plugin that adds a nice button at the end of the first row of buttons that when clicked, makes the second row appear: http://www.solo-technology.com/blog/2007/02/28/first-release-visualize-advanced-features/. This way, you don’t have to remember any shortcuts to get the additional options to appear.

  6. Great post, rather informative. I am currently using an add on for firefox, called scribefire.
    I find it pretty good, stable, and well integrated with mozilla itself.

    It becomes especially handy when you are surfing the web (like I usually am) And find something interesting you want to write about, and you know linking etc etc..

    And by the way, great site design!

  7. True, and there are add-ons for that editor, to make it even better. However, i like the usability and integration of scribe fire. Whatever works for you 🙂 Its all about the words, not the pen.

  8. Scribefire is a good option. I want to use it more, but I can’t get myself away from the editor built into WordPress. 🙂

  9. Or you could simply hit alt + shift + v in the wordpress editing screen to bring up some extra TinyMCE controls, one of which is font color.