WordPress offers few official themes like twenty-twenty, twenty-nineteen, etc. However, many WordPress site owners use custom themes from third-party developers. The problem with custom themes is they may not use all core WordPress theme features. For example, Post Formats is one of the core WordPress theme features that theme developers can make use in their themes. If you wonder what post formats in WordPress is and how to use them on your site then you are at the right place.
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What is Post Formats in WordPress?
When you create a new post, WordPress will show some default meta boxes on the editor. Post Formats is one of the default meta information introduced in WordPress version 3.1. It is a dropdown, from which users can select the format for their post. This format helps to decide the presentation of the content on the front end.
However, theme developers can choose to show or hide the post formats meta box. In addition, they have flexibility to choose only few formats to support on their theme. Due to this reason, you may see few formats supported by your theme or not seeing the post formats meta box at all.
Types of Post Formats in WordPress
In order to standardize the presentation of the content, WordPress offers 10 default post formats. Theme developers can choose the required formats and support on their theme. However, it is not possible for theme or plugin developer to create custom post formats in WordPress.
Remember, the frontend presentation of each format purely depends on your theme’s style.
|Post Formats||Content Type|
|Standard||This is a default post format used when you do not select any format for your post.|
|Aside||Used for publishing smaller notes and minor updates. Default it does not contain post title section.|
|Gallery||Use gallery shortcode to create image gallery. You can also insert gallery block inside a standard and other post format.|
|Link||Link post that contains only external links.|
|Image||Post contains single image.|
|Quote||Quote post contains blockquote with author and source.|
|Status||Status update like social platforms.|
|Video||Video post containing single or list of videos.|
|Audio||Audio post containing single or a playlist.|
|Chat||Chat conversation between two participants.|
How to Select Post Format for Your Posts?
In general, commercial themes support post formats only for the content type “posts” and not for “pages”.
- Login to your WordPress admin panel and go to “Posts > Add New”. Alternatively, you can edit an existing post to change the format.
- On the document panel sidebar, click on the post formats dropdown.
- Select the post format available on your theme.
- Preview your post and hit “Publish” button to make the changes visible online.
How to Change Default Post Formats in WordPress?
As mentioned, WordPress uses “Standard” as your default post format. However, it is not necessarily to use the standard format in special cases. For example, you may be hosting a niche site in video or audio. In this case, you can use video or audio format as your post format. This helps you to save time in not changing the format for each post when publishing.
- When you are in admin panel, navigate to “Settings > Writing” section.
- Click the dropdown against the “Default Post Category” option.
- Select the format you want to setup as your default post format.
- Whenever you create a new post, WordPress will assign the selected format as your default post format in the post editor.
I Can’t See All Post Formats
As mentioned, it depends on the theme developers to make use of the available post formats. If you are not seeing all post formats in the dropdown, it is highly possible that your theme is not supporting them. The best option is to contact your theme developer to update the theme. Alternatively, you can add the missing formats in your child or parent theme’s file. For example, follow the below instructions to add theme support for video and audio formats.
- When you are in admin panel, go to “Appearance > Theme Editor” section.
- Select your active theme and then click on “functions.php” file.
- Add the below code in the file:
add_theme_support( 'post-formats', array( video, audio ) );
If you want, add other post formats inside the array. Make sure you are not missing comma, semicolon and using straight quote. Otherwise, you will see white screen of death and your site will display a blank white screen.
Note: If theme editor is disabled on your site for security reasons, you can use FTP to edit functions.php file.
Custom Post Types and Post Formats
Now that you may get confused with two terms in WordPress – custom post types and post formats. For example, video post format will use a post type called “video”. This is similar to any custom post type you may use like “faq” or “testimonials”. However, there are notable difference between custom post types and post formats in WordPress.
|Option||Post Formats||Custom Post Type|
|Creation||Theme/plugin developers cannot create new formats. This is part of WordPress core.||Theme/plugin developers can create new post types.|
|Support||Default in post editor and optional with pages/custom post types.||Optional and decided by theme/plugin developer.|
|Switching||Possible||Generally not possible|
|Purpose||Presentation of posts||Presentation of post type|
|Blog Feed in Published Site||Part of blog feed||Not part of blog feed (you can customize if needed)|
|Admin Post List in “Posts > All Posts”||Yes, part of post list||No, not part of post list|
|Filter in Admin Post List||Yes, filter based on format is available by default||Not possible as custom post types are not included in post list|
|Examples||Aside, video, link||Product, FAQ, Attachment|
Adding Post Format Support for Pages and Custom Post Types
Post formats make sense to define or change the content of a particular post on your WordPress site. However, there could be situations that you want to use specific post format for your pages or any other custom post types. In such case, add the following code snippet in your theme’s functions.php file to show the post formats meta box.
add_post_type_support( 'page', 'post-formats' );
The above code will add post formats support for the post type “page”. If you want the support for any custom post type, replace the “page” with the name of your custom post type. For example, use the below code if you want the support for custom post type “faq”.
add_post_type_support( 'faq', 'post-formats' );
Remember, after adding the post formats support, you may need to style the display for the frontend. You can check out the WordPress codes guide on post formats for more details. We recommend you to contact your theme/plugin developer if you want to make things easier for you.
WordPress admin panel is one of the easy to use control panel for website administrators. However, it has many features that many users do not aware. If you like to play around with WordPress features, you can setup a local server on your computer. You can use tools like MAMP, WAMP or Local By Flywheel to install WordPress locally and learn the default features. This will help you to check whether your theme has all default features and make use of them productively