Why did WordPress Remove Justify & Underline Buttons from Editor?

Updated on November 14, 2017

One of my client asked me to justify the post contents on his website. I aligned the text using keyboard shortcut, because for some reason I couldn’t find the justify button in the WordPress editor. While I was wondering who stole the justify button, I received another mail from the client. The mail said, “Hey David, the text alignment looks much worse now. Just align it back to left or center”. Well, my client was right, because the alignment looked really worse and the readability was lot more difficult. I knew it before aligning, but I did that because my client wants it. Ok, the client didn’t like the justify alignment and so the WordPress? Here’s the reason.

Why did WordPress remove justify & underline buttons?

WordPress Remove Justify & Underline

Starting from version 4.7, WordPress dropped justify & underline buttons from the editor for usability reason. The justify alignment had inconsistent implementations across browsers and the underlined texts might confuse the reader with links. While the reason for removing the underline button seems to be valid, but does the same holds true for justify button? Lets find out.

After doing a little search, this link gave me good reason why those buttons were removed. Justification alignment will allow each line to be of same length, with texts spread out uni-formally aligning to the left & right margins. But what makes justify ugly is the gap between the words to allow each line to be of same length. That’s the reason why WordPress and W3C standard discourages the use of justification alignment. Here’s what W3C says about it.

Many people with cognitive disabilities have a great deal of trouble with blocks of text that are justified (aligned to both the left and the right margins). The spaces between words create “rivers of white” running down the page, which can make the text difficult for some people to read. This failure describes situations where this confusing text layout occurs. The best way to avoid this problem is not to create text layout that is fully justified (aligned to both the left and the right margins).

So both justify and underline button gone from the WordPress editor, but are there any benefits of it? Definitely there are few.

  • Underline allows to highlight a specific text in a line.
  • For generations underline was used for headings.
  • Justify makes the text format look pleasing to the eye, but where it misses out is readability.

However, is there a way to get those buttons back to WordPress editor? Why not!

How to bring back Justify & underline buttons in WordPress editor?

Though buttons were removed from the editor, the user can still use it via keyboard shortcuts. For example, for justifying the text use Alt + Shift (⇧) + j on Windows and Ctrl + Option (alt ⌥) + jon Mac. On Macs running WordPress version below 4.2 use "Alt + Shift (⇧) + j". For underlining the text use Ctrl + u.

Not a shortcut freak? Then you need a plugin to get justify and underline button back in the editor.

You can also use HTML attribute to justify a text as shown below:

<p align="justify">Justify align attribute are still supported by the browsers</p>

For underlining the text, use ‘u‘ tag.

<u>This tag can be used to underline texts</u>

Though the options are still available for using justify & underline features in WordPress, I strongly suggest to move away from those for one good reason – readability.

What do you feel is the best text alignment? Left, Right or Center? Let us know in the comment section below.

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