How To Format Text in Code Blocks in WordPress Sites

Formatting code blocks properly in WordPress sites is important for readability, preventing security issues, and optimizing SEO. This comprehensive guide will teach you best practices for implementing code blocks using WordPress’s built-in Gutenberg editor or Markdown syntax.

Why Format Code Blocks?

Here are some key reasons to use proper code block formatting:

  • Readability – Code blocks make code snippets stand out visually from normal text content. The formatting also preserves spacing and line breaks within code.
  • Security – Displaying unformatted code can lead to security issues like XSS attacks or accidentally running malicious code. Code blocks display code text without executing it.
  • SEO – Semantic HTML code block elements tell search engines this content is programming code, improving keyword targeting.

Formatting Code Blocks in the Gutenberg Editor

The Gutenberg editor available in WordPress 5.0+ includes a dedicated Code Block for displaying code:

  1. Click the “+” icon to add a new block.
  2. Search for “Code Block” and select it.
  3. Paste your code into the editor area.
  4. Configure settings like syntax highlighting on the right sidebar.

Here is an example code block in Gutenberg showing JavaScript code:

const message = 'Hello World';

The Code Block adds proper <pre> and <code> tags around your content.

Gutenberg Code Block Features

The Code Block comes with several formatting options:

  • Language syntax highlighting – Automatically colorizes code by language
  • Line numbers – Displays line numbers next to the code
  • Copy button – Adds button to copy code to clipboard
  • Custom CSS styling – Additional CSS styling options

These make your code snippets easier to read and use.

Using Markdown Syntax for Code Blocks

You can also format code blocks using Markdown syntax if your WordPress site has a Markdown or code syntax plugin installed.

Markdown uses backticks (`) to indicate code snippets:

This paragraph has an `inline code` snippet

For larger multi-line code blocks, use triple backticks:

const message = ‘Hello World’

This will be rendered into correct semantic HTML automatically when you publish the post.

Tips for Readable Code Blocks

Follow these tips for creating readable, SEO-optimized code blocks:

  • Add language identifiers like js or html to enable syntax highlighting
  • Display line numbers for long code snippets to aid readability
  • Use comments within code to explain parts and add context
  • Break code into logical sections using Markdown headers
  • Link out to external code resources from code block paragraphs

Troubleshooting Display Issues

Sometimes code blocks can exhibit display issues like broken formatting, security warnings, or plugin conflicts:

  • Validate code block HTML – Incorrect tags can lead to formatting issues
  • Encode special characters – Escape things like angle brackets to prevent parsing errors
  • Check plugin conflicts – Disable other plugins and switch themes to debug
  • Analyze CSS styling – Inspect if custom CSS is interfering with default styling

Carefully formed, validated code blocks can prevent many display issues.


Properly formatting code blocks using built-in WordPress Markdown editor features or Markdown syntax is key for security, readability, and SEO.

Some key takeaways:

  • Use Gutenberg Code Block for easy WYSIWYG code formatting
  • Markdown with backticks allows code blocks without plugins
  • Add identifiers, line numbers, comments to enhance readability
  • Validate and troubleshoot display issues with HTML and CSS

Implementing well-structured code blocks improves site quality and visitor experience.