10 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 explain the difference between them, and the tools they offer.

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.

  1. Make your text bold
  2. Add italics
  3. Add a strikethrough to text
  4. Start a bulleted list, or converted highlighted text to a bulleted list
  5. Start a numbered list, or converted highlighted text to a numbered list
  6. Insert a blockquote
  7. Insert a horizontal line (between paragraphs)
  8. Left-align your text (default)
  9. Center your text
  10. Right-align your text
  11. Create a link (highlight your text before clicking and insert the link when prompted)
  12. Remove a link (this can also be done by clicking on the link, then clicking the ‘X’ that appears)
  13. Insert a “Read More” tag (beta)
  14. Toggle toolbar to display more options
  15. Underline text
  16. Justify text (note: text is automatically justified in PDF outputs)
  17. Change the colour of your text
  18. Highlight text by adding a coloured background
  19. Paste copied content as text (without keeping any formatting)
  20. Clear any formatting from text
  21. Open the special characters menu
  22. Decrease the paragraph indent
  23. Increase the paragraph indent
  24. Undo last action
  25. Redo last action
  26. Open the ‘Keyboard Shortcuts’ menu
  27. Insert and edit tables (see our guide chapter for full uses)
  28. Insert a footnote, or convert highlighted text to a footnote
  29. Convert MS Word footnotes to the Pressbooks format
  30. Insert an anchor tag
  31. Type in, or convert highlighted text to supercript
  32. Type in, or convert highlighted text to subscript
  33. Switch to the Text Editor
  34. Enable the ‘distraction free writing mode’, which removes everything from the screen but the chapter editor.

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.

  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


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Pressbooks User Guide 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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