WordPress 6.4 “Shirley” was released today, named for famed American jazz pianist and singer Shirley Horn. This release introduces a new batch of writing and design tools that give users more powerful customization capabilities inside the editor. We covered most of the changes as they were released in the Gutenberg plugin and added to core, but here are a few of the highlights.
WordPress now has core support for loading images in a lightbox. It’s a simple, yet elegant “expand on click” feature that allows visitors to expand images to be full-screen without leaving the page. The lightbox can be enabled on a per-image basis or site-wide under Styles » Blocks » Images.
Redesigned Command Palette
The Command Palette has gotten a design refresh in 6.4 in order to accommodate a growing catalog of commands available to help users perform tasks more efficiently. Users can access the tool inside the Site Editor and the Post Editor alike, with specific contextual command options for saving time across both editing experiences.
List View Improvements
The List View continues to get improvements to make it more useful for getting a condensed overview of the content at a glance. WordPress 6.4 adds media previews for the Gallery and Image blocks in the List View. It also allows users to assign custom names for Group blocks, which are visible in the List View so they can be easily organized.
Block Hooks are a new developer feature, originally introduced in Gutenberg 16.4 for auto-inserting blocks. Developers can specify a location where a block will be inserted, such as before or after a template. Users can then reposition the blocks after insertion using the editor tools.
WordPress 6.4 ships with a brand new default theme, Twenty Twenty-Four. It was designed to be a multi-purpose theme, suitable for building a wide range of websites, including blogs, businesses, and portfolios. The theme comes with more than 35 templates and patterns. Check out a live demo to see all the full-page patterns, section patterns, and style variations available in Twenty Twenty-Four. It includes three different fully-built site demos for blogger, photographer, and entrepreneur use cases.
Other notable improvements in 6.4 include the following:
- Writing enhancements with new keyboard shortcuts, smoother list merging, and improved toolbar experience for the Navigation, List, and Quote blocks
- Organize patterns with custom categories, new advanced filtering for patterns in the inserter
- Expanded design tools: background images in Group blocks, ability to maintain image dimensions consistent with placeholder aspect ratios, add buttons to the Navigation block, and more
- Share patterns across WordPress sites by importing and exporting them as JSON files from the Site Editor’s patterns view
Check out the beautiful 6.4 release page to see all the major features highlighted. Under the hood there are also more than 100 performance-related updates and a range of accessibility improvements that create a more consistent experience in the site and post editors.
This is the last major release planned for 2023. It includes contributions from more than 600 people across 56 countries, with 170 first-time contributors.
WordPress 6.4 was led by an underrepresented gender release squad, which Release Lead Josepha Haden Chomphosy organized “to welcome and empower diverse voices in the WordPress open source project.” Together they shipped 1,150 enhancements and fixes available now in 6.4.