Use the WordPress Site Editor to Design Taxonomy Archives

I will be the first to admit that I'm a little behind with all the new features arriving in WordPress in “Full-Site Editing”, which is now called the “Site Editor”.

This is the new direction inside WordPress which allows you to design your whole site using blocks.

Because we get a lot of questions about the taxonomy pages in WordPress, I decided to try and design a taxonomy page using the Site Editor. Here's an overview of what I found using the Twenty Twenty-Three theme.


How to Design the Default Taxonomy Archives

  • To start the process, go to “Appearance” then “Editor” in the WordPress admin menu.
  • This leads to the main Site Editor screen. On the sidebar, click “Templates” as in this screenshot below:
Templates link in the WordPress Site Editor
  • On this “Templates” screen you'll find different pieces of your WordPress site. These include the Homepage, the 404 page, single posts, and much more. You can redesign all of these pieces from this screen.
  • We're going to click the “All Archives” link you see in this image below. This will give us control over all archive screens in WordPress including those for terms, authors, and more.
All Archives link in the WordPress Site Editor
  • What you see in front of you is the design of your . This is the default “Archive” template provided by your theme.
The All Archives screen in the WordPress Site Editor
  • We're going to try and modify this default view, so click on the pencil icon next to “All Archives” or click in the main body of the screen.
  • You can now use the Full-Site Editor to modify this screen.
Modifying the Archives screen in the WordPress Site Editor
  • The main area of this layout is controlled by a “Query Loop” block. This block is automatically selecting content from the relevant taxonomy. You can override the default “Query Loop” setting by unchecking the box “Inherit query from template”. This will give you access to more settings in the sidebar.
Modifying the Query Loop block int the Archives screen in the WordPress Site Editor
  • After unchecking the box “Inherit query from template” look for the settings in the sidebar such as “Post Type”, “Order By”, “Categories” and “Tags”. I would recommend being careful about changing these settings because they do apply to all archive pages on your site. Later in this guide, we'll show you how to make more targeted changes for specific taxonomies or terms.
  • There are more settings in the toolbar above the Query Loop block. Click the icon with two horizontal lines, as in this screenshot below:

Using the Site Editor, you can also re-arrange the layout of the posts in this display. One of the easier ways to do this is clicking the “List View”.

  • Click the “List View” icon on the top of the screen. You will see the items that make up each post display such as “Post Featured Image”, “Title”, “Excerpt” and more. You can drag-and-drop these into new locations on the layout.
  • Click “Save” to finish the process and put your new design live on your site.
Site Editor redesign taxonomy layout

If you wanted a different alternative, you could swap out the Query Block entirely and replace it with one of the many other blocks that allow you to filter posts by taxonomy, such as the Content Display block in the PublishPress Blocks plugin. You could also add useful term blocks such as the Term Description block.


Creating New Taxonomy Archives

I've mentioned a couple of times in this guide that the “All Archives” templates covers all the archive screens in WordPress. So if you make any changes using the first part of this guide, those changes will impact the author archives, date archives, and more.

In this next section, I'll explain how to make a custom template for one taxonomy or term. If you're not using the Site Editor, we have a tutorial for template archives built using PHP.

  • On the main “Templates” screen, click the “Add New Template” button.
Add new template in Full Site Editor

On the next screen you will be able to choose “Category Archives” or “Tag Archives” (see the difference between Categories and Tags). After that, you can design the archive pages using the same process shown in the first part of this guide. If you have other taxonomies on your site, those will be available in this list also.

Add new template for Categories or Tags in Full Site Editor

After choosing your taxonomy, you'll also have the choice to create the layout for all the terms in that taxonomy, or for one specific term. This screenshot below shows that choice:

All archive template for Tags

Summary of the Site Editor and Taxonomy Archives

In previous version of WordPress, you had to design template archives using PHP. The Site Editor will be a better option for most users. You can design your template archives with using no code. You can also quickly target specific taxonomies and terms with their own unique designs.

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