Author: Kirstan Norman
Post formats premiered in WordPress back in 2011, allowing you to inject some life into your blog section. Sadly, a lot of themes no longer support them. But with a pinch of Gutenberg and a sprinkle of code, you can still mold your blog section into the masterpiece it should be.
Post formats were last featured in WordPress’ Twenty Seventeen and are no longer supported in the more recent WP themes.
So the question is, with fewer themes supporting them, should they still be used at all? If so, how? And if not, is there another way to format your posts?
It’s WordPress, my dear friends, of course there are other ways!
(*Hint: one big way starts with “Guten” and ends with “berg” ;)).
And if you’re REALLY keen for a 2011 throwback, you can still add post formatting to themes with code.
But before we get to your array of post formatting options, let’s start simple and look at what WordPress post formats are and how they can be used.
What is a WordPress Post Format?
If you want your blog page to be more than a never-ending wall of text, post formats can help jazz things up with a simple click.
They let you change the way your theme displays content – whether that be allowing you to add videos, images or simply displaying things like quotes in a snazzier way.
All themes style their formats slightly differently (we’ll take a look at a few examples shortly), and with some not supporting them at all, it can be hard trying to get the right look for your blog section.
How To Use Post Formats
If your theme does support post formats, you will see this little drop-down when you go to create a new post:
If not, you can select a new theme which supports post formats.
To make finding supported themes easier, filter your search in the theme directory by “Post Formats.”
Alternatively, you can add some styling yourself using code (we’ll come onto that later.)
But Wait… Doesn’t Gutenberg Solve All Our Formatting Dilemmas?
Good question. Since the release of the Gutenberg block editor, we now have many more options when it comes to styling our posts.
It’s also one of the main reasons post formats aren’t supported by the latest WP themes. Many of Gutenberg’s blocks essentially give users the same functionality as the various format options.
For example, take a look at this inspirational quote I posted using the Quote Gutenberg block on the Twenty Nineteen theme:
Does exactly what it needs to, and all it takes is one simple click.
Unfortunately, this isn’t true for all themes.
Here’s what happens when you add just an image block into some themes, with this example from Colibri:
With some themes, Gutenberg will only get you so far.
You can use it to spice up your posts, however, some themes will only display ‘continue reading’ on your main blog page if you have used anything other than plain text in your post.
Using the classic post formats, on the other hand, ensures your blog page is full of all your images and videos at first glance.
And on that note…
Let’s Take a Look At Some Examples Of Post Formats in Action
There are ten main formats, and as every theme styles each type of format in its own way, I have compared two below: Origami and Arcanum.
Probably the format you’re trying to escape from.
Standard posts are the bricks and mortar of most blogs – but you have hundreds of them, and no one blames you for wanting something a little different.
An aside can be used when you have a quick note you want to display – typically something that wouldn’t warrant its own full post.
Most themes style them without titles, so pretty similar to the Status format. Arcanum went all fancy and put theirs in a box.
Pretty self-explanatory – you can use the audio format if you want to embed an audio clip.
One thing I’ve noticed is that some themes don’t allow captions on audio posts.
Captions are definitely handy if you need to credit the artist, but it’s also useful to add a description (most people would be hesitant to click ‘play’ on something if they have no idea what it is – myself included!)
Origami doesn’t support the audio post format, however, this is a good time to take a look at the difference that formats actually make.