How to Enable and Use WordPress Distraction-free Mode Screen

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From brainstorming topic ideas to research to content briefs to the initial drafts, writing is hard enough. Don’t make it harder on yourself by writing in a distraction or clutter editor. 

The more cluttered your writing program interface, the harder it is to focus and complete writing on time. 

If you blog on WordPress, chances are, you find yourself clicking between the editor and other side attractions like checking plugin updates, looking at the content SEO scores, top navigation items, etc. 

But did you know WordPress has a built-in distraction-free mode editor that allows you to disable all other elements on the page and write in a full-screen canvas?

Yes, you read that right.

In today’s WordPress tutorial, I show you how to enable the WordPress distraction-free mode screen in the block editor and how to use it to write faster and improve your writing.

What is Distraction-free Mode in WordPress?

The distraction-free mode in WordPress is a built-in feature designed to create a focused writing environment within the WordPress editor. It’s particularly helpful for writers who find the standard editor interface cluttered or overwhelming. 

It lets you focus on writing, improve productivity, and enhance the overall writing experience using the block editor.

Here’s a breakdown of what Distraction-free mode offers:

  • Minimized Interface – When activated, WordPress distraction-free mode hides various elements of the editor interface that can distract you from writing. This includes:
  • Top Toolbar – The toolbar fades away, reappearing only when you hover your cursor over it, providing quick access to essential tools when needed.
  • Many Top Toolbar Buttons – Not all buttons are hidden, but some less frequently used ones are removed to simplify the view.
  • Admin Sidebars – Any open sidebars containing widgets or additional options are automatically closed.
  • Block Toolbar and Options – The block-specific toolbar and additional options that appear when you hover over a block are also hidden.

Why Using The Distraction Free Mode

As I said earlier, writing takes a lot of effort, creativity, and focus. It is a task that demands attention and utmost concentration. 

Writing in a cluttered interface like the default WordPress block editor screen might distract your attention, resulting in more time wasted or even missing important details in your content. 

With so many elements (toolbars, admin sidebars, SEO plugin content audit panel, etc.) on the page competing for attention, it’s hard to complete writing without distractions. 

However, you can improve productivity by focusing on what truly matters at the moment, which is completing the writing task. When you switch to the WordPress distraction-free, spotlight, or full-screen mode, you can concentrate more on writing using a clutter editor. 

How to Enable Distraction Free Mode Screen In Block Editor

Note: This tutorial is based on the WordPress Gutenberg block editor. If you’re using the classic editor, check this article. 

To enable the distraction-free mode screen in the block editor, open the editor and click the three-dot icon at the top right corner of the page. Once you do that, click the Distraction Free option in the menu.

Distraction Free Mode

Follow the arrow in the image below.  

Three dots icon - WordPress editor

Once enabled, your editor screen will change from the above interface to what you see below.

Distraction free mode - WordPress block editor

Note how the top toolbar and the right sidebar widgets are no longer visible on the page. But we still have the admin sidebar menu (left on your screen) in sight. I will show you how to remove that, too, in this post. Continue reading.

You must understand that enabling the distraction-free mode option only removes the right sidebar widget on your screen and the top toolbar from the display. It does not remove the admin sidebar; you can still see it on the screen. 

Full-Screen Mode

However, if you want a full-screen editor interface without activating the full-screen option itself, scroll down the admin sidebar and click the “Collapse Menu” option. This action will collapse the admin sidebar to minimize it. 

Just like what you see in the image below. 

WordPress admin sidebar Collapse menu option

Clicking on that menu will give you this screen. 

Fullscreen mode with collapse menu

Still, if you’re not satisfied with a screen like this, you prefer having a full screen without any visible elements or side attractions, then click the three-dot icon again. And enable the Full-Screen Mode option. 

However, at this point, the top toolbar is not visible anymore. You’ll need to hover over your mouse to reveal it. So, move your mouse towards the top of the page to reveal the toolbar, where you can click the three dots. 

If you followed correctly and enabled the Fullscreen Mode, you should have an editor screen just like this. 

Fullsreen mode in WordPress block editor

With this Fullscreen mode, you can focus on writing, knowing no clutter, or any distracting element on the page.

Spotlight Mode

Now, imagine a WordPress editor that allows you to focus on a paragraph or a block at a time. 

WordPress also has a built-in function (Spotlight Mode), allowing witters to focus or work a single block at a time. It will dim or fade out every other block except the one you’re on. It puts the spotlight on that particular block you’re working on; as you shift to another block, it moves the Spotlight function on it. 

Here is how to enable the Spotlight Mode function. 

Since you’re already in the Distraction-free or Fullscreen Mode, you need to hover over the top area of your screen to reveal the toolbar dropdown option. Then click the three-dot icon once again, and next, click the Spotlight Mode from the options.

Enabling Spotlight Mode in WordPress

As you can see in the above image, the entire WordPress editor content area is now faded out or dim after I enabled the Spotlight Mode option. What I need to do from here is click on a block to highlight it and begin working on it.

This is how the Spotlight Mode works. You can see that only a block is highlighted, while other looks blurry, dim, or faded. 

WordPress Spotlight Mode

To put the Spotlight on any block you need, click on the corresponding block or empty area in the block editor to reveal the + sign or edit the content. 

Here Are Some Additional Tips to know.

Working with distraction-free or other options is a good way to save time, improve productivity, and focus on your writing. 

However, if you’re just learning about it, you may find yourself lost in the settings or trying to return to the default WordPress editor screen or interface.

Remember these tips when using the Distraction-free mode, Fullscreen, or the Spotlight mode.

  • Each time you need to access the top toolbar or the admin sidebar, you must move your mouse to the top screen area to reveal the toolbar. Then click the three dots and disable the distraction-free mode. 
  • If you enable Fullscreen and Spotlight mode but disable the Distraction Free mode, the top toolbar will be locked to the top of the screen. 
  • Your last Distraction-free mode settings will be used the next time you open the WordPress editor. 

Conclusion

WordPress is ever-changing, updating with innovation that makes writing and running an online business easier for everyone, regardless of tech skills.

Using the distraction-free mode, you can concentrate on your writing, get more done quicker, and improve productivity and efficiency.  

Suppose you enjoy reading this tutorial on how to use WordPress in distraction-free mode. In that case, you might like our other beginner guide on enabling related posts in wordpress or the complete beginner’s guide on putting the WordPress site in maintenance mode. 

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