WordPress 4.7 Release: What You Need to Know

wordpress 4.6 release - what you need to know
Cynthia Bartz • December 6, 2016

On December 6th WordPress released WordPress 4.7. In this article I will breakdown some of the new features you can expect to find in the new release, as well as answer the question “Should I Update WordPress?” As with many of WordPress’s releases, the changes between 4.6 and 4.7 are small. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore that little box at the top of your WordPress Admin dashboard asking you to update.

About WordPress 4.7

The WordPress 4.7 Release is purely feature based. I’ve listed the major features you can expect to see in the update below. At this time there are no security or bug fixes in this update. It is meant to compliment the new Twenty Seventeen WordPress theme and improve your user experience. Sign up for my newsletter to make sure you don’t miss my review of WordPress’ latest default theme: www.cbgraphics.net/newsletter

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Should I Update?

Yes. Maybe.

This update is purely feature based. There are no security updates or major bug fixes in the WordPress 4.7 release, so you don’t have to update from a security perspective.

I recommend updating WordPress to 4.7. WordPress is gradually becoming more user friendly. Every time you update WordPress you are gaining features that make it easier to maintain your website. Plus, there are no major known conflicts with this version of WordPress. There is always a fear that your website will explode and stop working if you update. At this time it is pretty likely that your website will still work and look the same after the update.

Keep in mind that if you choose not to update, you will not be able to take advantage of any of the new features listed below (and that annoying little box will never go away).

New Features

Easier Menu Building

WordPress added an option to the menu builder that allows you to create new pages on the fly. When you are making big changes to your website, starting new website, or just updating your content, it is common to create your menu first. Before, when you needed to add a page that didn’t exist yet to the menu, you would have to leave the menu editor, go to Pages, create new the pages, then go back to the menu editor to add them. Now you can create those new pages right in the menu editor, simplifying your workflow.

After you’ve published your updated menu with new pages, you can go into the Pages section of your Admin and the new pages will be ready for you to fill in with content.

To test out this feature go to: WordPress Admin Dashboard > Appearance > Menus

Custom CSS

If the term CSS scares you, and you have no idea what it is, you can skip over this feature.

In essence, WordPress has given you a way to edit and tweak the way your website looks. It requires an understanding of a little bit of code. If you don’t know what to do with this feature, you can ignore it, it is not essential to the function of your website.

If you have a basic understanding of CSS, this feature is amazing. In the past, if you wanted to edit your website’s CSS, you would either have to have a theme with a custom CSS feature or hack your way through making changes to the CSS file. They’ve made it easier by adding this functionality to WordPress itself. No more hacking up themes because you wanted your Header 1’s to be purple. Yay!

This feature is located in WordPress Admin Dashboard > Appearance > Customizer > Custom CSS

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PDF Thumbnail Preview

In previous versions of WordPress, PDF files uploaded to your Media Library all look the same. If you have a lot of them as resources, downloads, or share links it can be difficult to tell them all apart. Now, with WordPress 4.7, you can see a preview of the first page of the PDF so it is easier to differentiate between documents.

I was unable to get this feature to work on my test install of WordPress 4.7. According to a couple of sources, this requires support from your web host. Hopefully the big players in website hosting will catch up and support this new feature. For the moment, if this feature doesn’t work, don’t fret. It’s not something you did.

Dashboard Languages

If you, or your VA, or your website manager speak different languages (or just more than one), you can now change your WordPress Admin to show in your preferred language. In the past the Dashboard was set to only one language globally across the site. This not only changes the dashboard, but also sets the language tags for your website.

So, now if your website is in English, but your primary language is French you can change your dashboard for your own user profile without effecting your whole website or the user accounts for others who have access to the backend of your website.

To change the language of your dashboard go to: WordPress Admin Dashboard > Users > Your Profile

Summary

If you haven’t updated WordPress in a while (if you are still on 4.5 or 4.1 for example) you definitely need to update. Even if you don’t think you will use the new features in WordPress 4.7, it is worth it to stay up to date with the latest version. It will also make it much less traumatic when you do a security update, because you won’t be jumping over multiple versions.

If you are a WordPress user, I highly recommend signing up for my email reminders for WordPress updates. I will send you a customized link that takes you straight to your WordPress Admin. I will also send resources on how to update and what you need to know about the update.

Not sure how to update WordPress?

How to Update WordPress – And Protect Your Website

Read WordPress’ Post on 4.7 Release

WordPress 4.7 Vaughan

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