New Gutenberg features in WordPress 5.4

WordPress 5.4 will be released on March 31, 2020. The new major release mainly brings us new functions and blocks for the Gutenberg Editor. I would like to briefly introduce the biggest innovations in this article.

Social Icons Block

A new block for social icons allows you to create links to all of your social profiles. 40 networks are supported and the icons can be arranged as desired.

WordPress 5.4: Social Icons Block

The block does not offer a social sharing feature. Additional plugins are still required for this.

Buttons block

The button block is replaced with the button S block. As the name suggests, several buttons are now possible. Very often two buttons are required and so far this was only cumbersome with an additional column block. The new button block can help here.

Buttons block

Block gradients

Another new feature are block gradients. This means that not only individual colors but also color gradients (e.g. from green to blue) are now possible as a background. Theme developers can provide their own range of gradients.

Block gradients

At the moment, gradients are supported for the buttons and cover block, for example. Unfortunately, the group block does not yet have this feature.

Colored words in the paragraph block

In the normal text block, individual words can now also be colored. Until now it was only possible to change the text and background color of the entire paragraph. This allows certain words to be highlighted.

Gutenberg text color in the paragraph block

Full screen mode as standard

The change to set full screen mode as the standard setting for the new block editor was discussed very controversially . When Gutenberg is called up for the first time, it is now displayed in full screen, without the normal WordPress sidebar menu.

Gutenberg full screen mode

The change was primarily the wish of Matt Mullenweg. It was particularly critical that this innovation was included very late and shortly before the release.

Welcome screen

When using the Block Editor for the first time, a welcome popup is displayed, which briefly introduces the user to all of Gutenberg's features. This is to help WordPress beginners better understand the concept of blocks.

Gutenberg Welcome Screen in WordPress 5.4

Other changes in WordPress 5.4

A lot has happened in many other areas as well:

  • Featured images can now be inserted using drag & drop
  • Tables now allow captions
  • The Embed Block now supports TikTok
  • The Latest Posts block can now display featured images
  • In the gallery block, the size for all images can now be set at the same time
  • The block toolbar on mobile devices has been improved
  • The column block now also contains color options

In addition to new features, performance and accessibility have also been significantly improved.

Difference between plugin and core version

The different versions of Gutenberg that are in circulation are a bit confusing. Very often you read news about new Gutenberg features of the plugin, which are not yet available in the core. You can quickly get confused here if you don't follow the project closely. Therefore a short explanation.

Gutenberg is continuously developed on Github . A new version of the Gutenberg plug-in is published at regular intervals of around two weeks. The current version is 7.8 . With the plugin you get practically the latest, often still experimental features from Gutenberg. An older, more stable version is used in the core and without a plugin.

WordPress 5.3 currently contains Gutenberg version 6.5 .

In WordPress 5.4 , Gutenberg's core will be updated to version 7.5 , ie the ten versions from 6.6 to 7.5 will now be included. These include all of the above features.


WordPress 5.4 is a smaller release with many gradual improvements for the block editor and brings Gutenberg up to date in the core as well.

Much more exciting about Gutenberg at the moment are all the things that happen in the background for phase 2. In the next phase, full site editing, global styles and block-based themes will be introduced. For these topics I have planned individual contributions that would go beyond the scope at this point. Until then 🙂