Move Gutenberg Metaboxes To and From the Sidebar

One of our most popular recent posts on this blog explained how to rearrange metaboxes in the Gutenberg editor. This post is useful because the system for moving metaboxes has some confusing points. Yes, you can move some metaboxes up and down, but the default boxes can not be moved. The image below highlights the difference between the default boxes and those added by plugins.

Default Gutenberg metaboxes

In the image above, it's not possible to move anything in the “Default” area. You can hide these metaboxes using the “Editor Features” option in the PublishPress Capabilities plugin, but they can not be re-ordered.

There is an additional point of confusion with these metaboxes. They can be moved to-and-from the sidebar.

In the image below, I want to move the “Yoast SEO Premium” metabox, so I click on the down arrow.

Metabox Arrow
Metabox Arrow

After clicking on that arrow, the metabox will jump into the right sidebar. This will only work when your metabox is at the bottom of the screen, otherwise it will only change the order of the metaboxes.

Metabox Arrow Moved
Metabox Arrow Moved

The reverse is also true. If your metabox is at top of the “From plugins” area and directly below “Discussion”, you can click the up arrow. This will move the metabox from the sidebar and back into the main content area.

Metabox Up Arrow
Metabox Up Arrow

Please note that currently these movements won't be remembered next time to edit a post. There's a bug in Gutenberg that means metabox reordering is not saved. So if you move a metabox, it will return to the old position when you edit a different post.

It is possible to stop this re-ordering with a plugin called “Unsortable Meta Box” which is old but still works.

The inability to easily and permanently move metaboxes is a limitation in Gutenberg that did not exist in the old Classic Editor. We hope this limitation will be removed in a future version of WordPress.

Although Gutenberg is a step forward for WordPress, some elements are definitely confusing. We’ve also written about how to add GIF images and show code in Gutenberg, plus how to hide image captions. PS. if you really decide you don't enjoy using blocks, there are various ways you can disable the Gutenberg editor.

Long-term, we're very positive about Gutenberg. If you do want more options for your blocks in Gutenberg, check out the PublishPress Blocks plugin.

  • Steve Burge

    Steve is the founder of PublishPress. He's been working with open source software for over 20 years. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. This profile is generated by the PublishPress Authors plugin.

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