Post Formats in WordPress

Zip is using a theme that supports post formats. What are post formats in WordPress and how do you use them?

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One of the things Zip searched for in a theme was the use of post formats so, if he had a post that was a link to an excellent sloth website or featured an incredible sloth video, it would highlight that feature. Post formats are part of the WordPress codex, but not all themes use them. Some themes use a couple, such as audio and video formats. Plenty of themes don’t use post formats at all. Post formats are fully utilized by some themes, which add incredible styling to each format. Zip find that the theme he chose (Hueman) offers post formats, but doesn’t offer much in the way of unique styling for most of them. This post covers WordPress post formats, what they are, and how to use them (if your theme offers them.)

This post may contain affiliate links — which means that if you click a link that is an affiliate link and make a purchase I may get a small commission at no additional cost to you that will likely be spent as follows, in the following order: 1) supporting this or one of my other blogs 2)buying delicious coffee beverages 3) paying off camera gear and travel and 4) oh, yeah…necessities like books and food.

What are WordPress Post Formats?

If your theme features post formats, you’ll find the ability to set the format in the right-hand panel of the post editor. For most themes, it will be near the top — other themes may feature a drop-down lower down in the right-hand panel.

WordPress Post Formats in the right panel in the Hueman theme

The WordPress post formats are:

Let’s look at each one of these formats, what it does, and how it’s used both in the theme Zip’s using (the free version of Hueman) and in another theme that offers more customization for the various post formats (Extra by Elegant Themes.)

We’ll temporarily install Extra on Zip’s website so we can take a look at how the post formats can differ between themes. He’s written a short post with each format so we can see what each post format does.

Note that Extra doesn’t have all of the post formats you can choose from in Hueman. It also adds an extra “map” format — map isn’t a core WordPress post format.

WordPress Post Formats in the right panel in the Extra theme
Extra theme has radio buttons instead of a dropdown to choose post formats.

I never use the aside or status format anyway, but let’s look at how the formats work as an exercise.

Aside

The aside post format is generally for small blurbs of text that aren’t a full blog post. Usually, an aside post on most sites is styled without a title — “similar to a Facebook note update,” according to the official WordPress documentation.

In the Hueman theme, Zip finds that the big difference between the aside format and a regular post is that it just doesn’t show the post title. It still shows the excerpt and a featured image on the blog and category pages:

Sloth vector graphic social post in a Hueman theme aside format post
The aside format in Hueman theme. The only difference Zip can see between this and a standard post is that the title doesn’t display on the aside format.
Hueman theme aside format post in posts list
The aside post format in the blog on Hueman theme still shows the featured image (cropped), just no title.

The Extra theme does not use the aside format.

The gallery post format arranges the images you upload to that post in a gallery format.

In the Hueman theme, you get a metabox where you upload the images:

Gallery WordPress Post Formats in metabox in post editor

Then it displays them not in a tiled gallery, but in a slider. It’s kind of weird, but it displays the featured image underneath the gallery:

Hueman theme post featuring the gallery format

On the posts page and categories page, this format appears the same as any other post.

The Extra theme does something very similar with the gallery format and it also doesn’t change the way the post looks in post lists or on the blog page:

Extra theme post featuring the gallery format

Quote

The quote format features…wait for it…a quote. Most themes that offer the quote format will include a meta box in the post editor to enter the text and source of the quote.

Quote WordPress Post Formats metabox in Hueman theme post editor

What happens with this information varies from theme to theme. In the Hueman theme, we can see that the quote format features the quote at the top of the post, but nothing is different on the blog or category pages:

Quote WordPress Post Formats in Hueman theme
The quote format in Hueman theme features the quote at the top of the post above the featured image, but below the title and meta information…
Quote WordPress Post Formats in post list in Hueman theme
however, in the blog and category pages, nothing is different than a standard post.

Extra features the quote on the single post, with no featured image:

Quote WordPress Post Formats post in Extra theme

Additionally, quote format posts are treated differently on the archive and blog pages: the quote itself, instead of the excerpt is featured with special styling and no featured image:

Quote WordPress Post Formats in posts list in Extra theme

Standard

The standard post format is straightforward. This is your standard blog post and what you’ll use the most often.

Status

The status post format is supposed to be like a Twitter-type status update: a short blurb with a tidbit about what’s going on in your life, on the blog, or whatever.

In the Hueman theme, the status format appears exactly like the aside format: like a regular blog post, but without a title.

Extra doesn’t use the status format.

Video

The video post format shines if you feature many videos. Themes that offer the video format generally feature a video player at the top of the post or in place of the featured image. Some also feature a video player instead of a featured image on blog and archive pages and in post lists.

When you choose the video format, you’ll find an area for inserting the URL of your featured video (. Usually, this is in a metabox beneath your post in the post editor, but for some themes it might be in the right hand panel.

In the Hueman theme, video format posts get a little “play” icon on the image in post lists, but the video isn’t playable on those pages inline; clicking the photo takes you to the post. On the post, the featured video is at the top, followed by the featured image.

Video WordPress Post Formats in a post list in Hueman theme
The video post format gets a small play icon in post lists in teh Jueman theme, but is only playable on the post page.
Video WordPress Post Formats in Hueman theme
In the Hueman theme, the video post format features a large video at the top. It also shows the featured image for the post below the video.

In the Extra theme the featured video instead of the featured image is at the top of the post and in the blog and archives, there’s a mini-player — someone can watch your video without reading the entire post. Good or bad? It depends.

Video post in Extra theme
Video post in Extra theme

Audio

The audio post format is what it says: you can upload or link to the URL of an audio file — .mp3 or .oga format. You’ll find a metabox to upload or link to your file.

Audio post metabox in Hueman theme

And what you get in the Hueman theme is the featured image with an audio player on it. On the blog and archives pages,you get a little audio icon in the corner of the featured image that marks it as an audio format post.

Audio format post in Hueman theme
Audio post in posts list in Hueman theme

Extra does with audio much of the same thing it does with video. On the post you get the featured image with an audio player and some text you can configure from the post editor and on the front you get a mini player.

Audio post in  Extra theme
Audio post in posts list in Extra theme

Chat

The chat post format is to add a chat transcript.

Zip finds that there’s a metaboxes section under the post in the editor to paste an entire whole chat transcript. In the post in the Hueman theme, the chat comes first, followed by the featured image and any other text he’s written into the post. On the posts page, it looks the same as any other post.

Chat transcript post in Hueman theme

Extra doesn’t offer the chat post format.

In Summary

Whether you want to use WordPress post formats or not depends on how you blog. If your website is video-heavy, you’ll likely want to find a theme with a stylish video post format. You can, of course, insert video into your post with a block, but it’s nice to be able to feature your video in a prominent place.

Do I use post formats? Video, yes, often enough. Audio? Occasionally. I’ve used the quote and link formats often enough on websites where they were available. I have never used asides or chats much, however — though the chat format may be helpful for an interview-heavy website.

One thing that bugged Zip: when he changed back to his child theme, THE DEFAULT WIDGETS HAD REAPPEARED! The customizations he had made to his widgets didn’t get saved!. Generally, when you’ve customized a child theme, you can switch to another theme and back, and your settings will remain intact in your child theme. This issue will require further investigation.

What’s next? Likely, Zip will go to work on some “tweaks” on his website design and we’ll talk about those in a post.

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Cheryl Dimof
Cheryl Dimofhttps://www.lovecoffeewordpress.com
Cheryl is a "retired" Occupational Therapist who loves writing and is a WordPress enthusiast. She used to be like Rapid Rabbit, but these days, her spirit animal is Zip the Sloth. She's looking forward to getting more active again, though, and likes cycling, kayaking, meditation, reading and writes/blogs a lot. In fact, she crazily writes several blogs: Pacific Northwest and Beyond, Caffeine Journal, and as she actually worked in geriatrics and is actually getting older herself, is writing a blog about that: Ancient & Awesome.

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