If you use reusable blocks in the WordPress Block Editor, there are some changes to how you access and edit them in WordPress 5.7 you should be aware of. While they will make reusable blocks easier to edit and use, they could result in inadvertent changes if you are used to the previous interface.
Inserting a Reusable Block
To insert a reusable block, you can search for it by name when you are adding a block or bring up the Block Inserter sidebar. The reusable blocks are in the third tab of the Block Inserter just like they were in WordPress 5.6. With WordPress 5.7, you can now see a preview of the block. You can click on a block to insert at the current focus location as you could before. You can also use the new drag and drop feature to place it anywhere.
Using a Reusable Block
Once you have inserted the reusable block, you can edit the name of the reusable block by using the block details area on the right sidebar. If you want to convert the reusable block to a regular block, select the second control (two overlaid boxes) in the block toolbar. This will convert the reusable block and everything contained in it into unique “in-place” blocks.
Editing a Reusable Block
In previous versions of the Block Editor, there was a text control to “Edit” the block. It would then put you in edit mode. You could make changes to the reusable block and then save it. In WordPress 5.7, you can now directly access the “content” of the reusable block and edit it in place. This is simpler and faster, but it might not be obvious that you are actually editing a reusable block like it was before.
Selecting a Reusable Block
When you clicked within the area of a reusable block before, it selected the reusable block. When you select now, it makes the content of the reusable block active. To select the reusable block, you need to select the parent of the content blocks or select it from the outline.
Other Block Tools
There are some gaps in the current set of tools for managing reusable blocks. Here at Outcome Labs, we fill these in with some additional plugins. The Reusable Blocks Extended plugin is activated whenever we use reusable blocks. This plugin extends the Gutenberg Reusable Blocks feature with a complete admin panel, widgets, shortcodes, and PHP functions. You can check out the plugin site here. Another tool we use is the Find My Blocks plugin. This also has an enhanced tool for managing Reusable blocks. You don’t need to add both of these to your site to work with reusable blocks.
These are nice improvements to the reusable blocks interface. You do need to be careful if you are used to the old interface to avoid unintentional changes. We think Reusable Blocks and Block Patterns are important tools that can really impact productivity and the effectiveness of your WordPress site. You should spend time understanding them and incorporating them into your strategy.
If you have questions or Outcome Labs can help you, please reach out to us through the contact form on our site. If you are an existing client, please submit a ticket to the Outcome Labs helpdesk.