On December 6, 2016, WordPress launched its final release of 2016 with version 4.7, a major upgrade named “Vaughan” in honor of jazz vocalist Sarah “Sassy” Vaughan. Version 4.7 is now available for download from the WordPress site and for update via the WordPress dashboard.
Guided by the tagline “Your site, your way”, the many new and enhanced features in version 4.7 allow each user to set up their own website the way that they want it. A new default theme, new customizer features, and an adjusted editor layout are particular highlights of version 4.7.
New Default Theme – Twenty Seventeen
Following the WordPress tradition of releasing a new default theme each year, Twenty Seventeen is the brand new default WordPress theme, the first built specifically for business websites instead of blogs – although the design is still flexible enough to also be used as a blog theme.
Featuring a sleek design with immersive featured images throughout, Twenty Seventeen includes a graceful mobile design, crisp typography that is evident on any device, and a customizable front page with multiple sections that can be personalized with navigation, widgets, social menus, a logo, custom colors, and more. Ideal for companies of all sizes, Twenty Seventeen works well for a wide range of users, on any device, and in many languages.
Twenty Seventeen introduces new visual “Edit Shortcuts”, clickable pencil icons that indicate the areas of a theme that can be customized. These shortcuts enable users to simply point and click to edit an item from the live preview, opening the correct panel for that setting, and thereby saving users time spent searching for the setting themselves.
Twenty Seventeen is only compatible with WordPress version 4.7 and above.
Placeholder Starter Content
WordPress 4.7 allows developers to add starter content to their own themes, and Twenty Seventeen comes stocked with placeholder starter content that guides users through the process of quickly developing their new website. One thing to note is that the initial view of the theme with starter content only happens on “fresh” sites, new installs that have not been loaded with posts, pages, widgets, or updated customizer settings.
Moving past the traditional use of images in website headers, in version 4.7, the Custom Header is extended to include support for video headers, which can be easily added by uploading MP4 videos or by providing a link to a YouTube video.
Simultaneous Menu & Page Building
For those who prefer to lay out their website before they add any content, in version 4.7, you can add and edit pages to your site at the same time as you add and edit the menus, allowing you to build your website without having to waste time navigating between your Menu Customizer and Page Builder.
Custom CSS in Live Preview
In previous WordPress releases, if users wanted to add custom CSS to tweak themes and plugins, this had to be done through the theme’s stylesheet. Version 4.7 introduces a new CSS panel with live previews that allows users to add custom CSS using the Customizer, and then instantly view a live preview of those changes.
PDF Thumbnail Previews & Enhanced Media Search
In the past, when a PDF was uploaded to WordPress, a generic document icon would display in the Media Library, making it difficult to quickly identify a specific PDF. When you upload PDFs to version 4.7, WordPress will now generate thumbnail images of the first page of the PDF, for display in the Media Library, Media upload popup, and attachment pages, to make documents more easily distinguishable. Another great update to the Media Library, is that you can now search the Library by file name.
Admin Language Control
In previous versions, WordPress admin controls were displayed in English only, forcing users to make do even when they weren’t very comfortable with the language. In version 4.7, users can switch the WordPress Dashboard to display admin controls in their preferred language – all they need to do is select their desired language (locale) when they edit their user profile. This is a back-end setting that does not affect the front-end of the site – even when users from all over the world are contributing to a website in one specific language, each user can now work with the WordPress admin in their own language.
Adjusted Editor Layout
WordPress 4.7 introduces some important changes to the editor. Based on statistics of usage, and aimed at easier access and encouraging proper use of the HTML elements being inserted, some of the buttons in the default editing bar have been moved around. The paragraph/headings drop-down now appears in the top bar, while the strikethrough and horizontal line buttons have been moved down. Recognizing that underlining is a bad practice that can be confused with links on a website, the underline button has been removed entirely. The justification button has also been removed, because justified text has uneven browser implementation and can often lead to bad readability. As well, keyboard shortcuts have been added to button tooltips, and inside drop-downs to “make them easier to discover”.
With each new release, WordPress strives to further streamline the editing experience, making it easier and more intuitive, and helping users save time wherever possible. Version 4.7 is full of new features and enhancements that enable businesses to easily design and customize their company websites.