Using the New Distraction Free Mode in WordPress 4.1

Using the New Distraction Free Mode in WordPress 4.1

If a recent poll on WP Tavern is anything to go by, the new distraction free writing mode in WordPress 4.1 is polarizing users, but more people seem to like it than not.

Personally, I think the new mode is a step in the right direction, but the feature’s settings could have been improved to provide a choice choose between distraction free modes. Why not allow people to use the old distraction free mode, the new one, or switch it off altogether? This could have been released as a plugin alongside the 4.1 update to make sure the core code wasn’t polluted.

I recognize that the new method is sleeker and provides a better user experience if you switch back and forth between writing and other post controls. However, on my end I either want to write in peace for 30-40 minutes, or I don’t mind the extra controls. The old distraction free mode allowed me to do just that, I couldn’t accidentally bring the controls back up.

In addition, I don’t quite see why the screen option to enable/disable distraction free mode had to be merged with the full-height option.

Anyway, my grumbles aside, it is a fantastic feature for those who want, well, distraction free writing. Let’s look at how to enable and disable it.

How to Enable/Disable Distraction Free Writing

WordPress allows you to hide the controls for the distraction free mode.

Distraction Free Option
Settings for the new distraction free writing mode.

To access them, click on the “Screen Options” tab on the top right of the page anywhere in WordPress admin. This will bring up what you see in the screenshot above. Check/uncheck the bottom-most box to show/hide the distraction free button.

If you have it enabled you’ll need to click the button on the right side of the editor toolbar to switch into distraction free mode. When you switch this mode on you are switching it on for all other posts as well. If you leave it on, save your work and open a new post – distraction free will be on by default.

In this sense, this button is a global setting which is a bit confusing in my opinion. That being said, it does anticipate what you would probably want to do anyway. It would be great if global editor settings like always having the bottom bar open, distraction free mode and so on got their own little settings sections.

What Do You Think?

Have you tried WordPress 4.1 yet? If not, I suggest giving it a go, or read our Review Of WordPress 4.1 before you take it for a spin.

If you already have a few hours under your belt with it, what do you think of the new distraction free feature? Let us know what you thin in the comments below.