28 Visual & Text Editors

When writing and editing your work in Pressbooks, you have a choice between working in the “Visual Editor” and the “Text Editor” according to your preferences. This chapter will cover the different features of:

Visual Editor

The visual editor is the default editor. It is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface that allows you to see styling and formatting as they are applied.

This interface also includes a toolbar that the top of the editor. While most options are straightforward, there are a range of buttons whose functions might not be obvious at first. Below is a guide to each of the toolbar functions, and where you’ll find them.

NOTE: While much of this formatting is possible in other programs, such as MS Word, applying it in the Pressbooks editing interface ensures it will function correctly in all outputs. For more, read our chapter on common formatting problems.


Visual editor toolbar with tools numbered

Toolbar options:

  1. Paragraph styles dropdown menu: choose from normal paragraph style, six different heading styles, or preformatted text
  2. Bold
  3. Italics
  4. Bulleted list
  5. Numbered list
  6. Blockquote
  7. Left-align
  8. Center-align
  9. Right-align
  10. Link
  11. Read more
  12. Toolbar toggle
  13. Formats dropdown menu: choose from several text indent and tracking options, as well as pullquote options
  14. Textboxes dropdown menu: choose from a variety of plain textboxes or predesign educational textboxes (read more here)
  15. Underline
  16. Strikethrough
  17. Horizontal line
  18. Justify
  19. Text color
  20. Text background color
  21. Paste as text
  22. Clear formatting
  23. Special character
  24. Decrease indent
  25. Increase indent
  26. Undo and Redo
  27. Keyboard shortcuts guide
  28. Tables (read more here)
  29. Apply Class
  30. Anchor
  31. Superscript
  32. Subscript
  33. Code
  34. Footnote[1] (read more here)
  35. Convert MS footnotes
  36. Glossary Term (read more here)

You can highlight a section of existing content and then click a tool on the toolbar to add formatting to that section. Alternatively, select the tool first, and then add new formatted content.

NOTE: The visual editor toolbar displays all formatting options by default. You can collapse the second and third rows of tools by clicking the toggle button (12).


Text Editor

As an alternative to the visual editor, you can also work in a text editor, or switch to it as necessary for specific needs. Here, you can view and edit the HTML version of any text written and formatted in the visual editor, and you can also write directly in HTML, using the toolbar as necessary.

The text editor toolbar offers fewer options, tailored to working in HTML. They are detailed below.

NOTE: While you can work in HTML directly, not all HTML will work in all exports. We recommend keeping it simple, and using the tools available in the visual editor as a guide.

The text editor and its toolbar

  1. Open and close <strong> tags to make text bold (click once to open, and again to close the tag)
  2. Open and close <em> tags to make text italics
  3. Link text (a pop up will appear)
  4. Insert the blockquote tags
  5. Strikethrough text (also adds a date and time marker)
  6. Insert a date/time tag
  7. Insert an image (from URL)
  8. Insert a bulleted list
  9. Insert a numbered list
  10. Add list item
  11. Open and close <code> tags, to style text as code
  12. Insert a ‘Read More’ tag (beta)
  13. Close tags (automatically closes any open tags)
  14. Open and close footnote shortcode

  1. This is an example of a footnote.


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Pressbooks User Guide Copyright © 2012 by Book Oven Inc. (Pressbooks.com) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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