How To: Fix WordPress Visual Editor Not Working

NOTE 2/28/2019: WordPress has changed its editor to Gutenberg, so this post is no longer applicable to modern WP installs. If you are looking to get the classic Visual Editor back, you’ll need a Super Admin to install and activate this Classic Editor plugin.


The WordPress Visual Editor is the feature that lets you edit WordPress pages and posts like a word processor, so you can avoid the hassle of HTML:

Wordpress Visual Editor

Recently I was in a client site where the Visual Editor was not working. Where it should have been, nothing appeared.

Wordpress Visual Editor Missing

It is possible to disable the WordPress Visual Editor. I don’t know why anyone would (especially on our team) so this is personally the last place I’d think to check.

However, most of the solutions I had discovered were pretty invasive. Suggestions included editing TinyMCE, editing the wp-config PHP, and/or removing plugins. I wanted to start simple before involving our team and the client in a more complicated and time consuming solution.

Enable or Disable the WordPress Visual Editor

The setting to enable or disable the Visual Editor is in Users > Your Profile:

Disable WordPress Visual Editor

To be clear:

  • The Visual Editor is ON when it is unchecked.
  • The Visual Editor is OFF when this option is checked.
  • Changing this setting will not affect anyone else (unless you share a login).

If the Visual Editor Setting Is Correct, but the Visual Editor Is Still Not Working

If “Disable the visual editor when writing” is already unchecked, and your Visual Editor is still missing, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to try a more complicated fix.

You may be familiar with the IT advice, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”. It can annoying to hear, but it’s cliche because it often works.

Because I knew the setting would not affect anyone else, I decided to go ahead and just try toggling “Disable the visual editor when writing” on and off.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Go to Users > Your Profile
  2. Check the box beside “Disable the visual editor when writing”
  3. Click Update Profile
  4. “Hard refresh” the page using Ctrl + F5
  5. Uncheck the box beside “Disable the visual editor when writing”

Once I did this, my Visual Editor reappeared.

NOTE: This blog post is about what worked for me in this situation, and is a safe place to start before moving on to more advanced solutions. Every WordPress install is unique, and because of that, I cannot guarantee that this will fix every instance where the Visual Editor is not working.

If this does not fix your problem, unfortunately I cannot help you any further, and recommend that you contact your website technical support.

31 responses to “How To: Fix WordPress Visual Editor Not Working

  1. thank you so much. You save my ecommerce store. My visual editor went poof after I installed a plugin, and your enable, and disable solution save me. Now I can edit my products.

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Mia, so happy to hear this post saved your eCommerce store! Thank you for taking the time to let me know this helped.

  2. This doesn’t work for me. The edit toolbar does not appear in my posts. when I go to my profile the box is unchecked as outlined above. When I check the box and do a hard refresh it automatically removes the check from the box. The editing toolbar is not there.

    1. Hi there, are you clicking the “Update Profile” button and waiting for it to save before doing a hard refresh?

  3. This absolutely worked! The db was moved to a new server and I was given a new profile. The visual editor was not disabled but when I disabled and then re-enabled it as you suggested the visual editor reappeared. Thank you!

  4. thank you, thank you, thank you!
    I don’t know how I disabled it, but this was my case, which I was trying to solve for a non-proportionally long time!

  5. In my case it was wp_post Auto Increment value which was unset due to heavy database import query break.

    SELECT `AUTO_INCREMENT`
    FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.TABLES
    WHERE TABLE_SCHEMA = ‘Database’
    AND TABLE_NAME = ‘wp_post’;

    ALTER TABLE wp_posts AUTO_INCREMENT=101

  6. Thank you Karin, this is the real answer after searching a lot. In my case i added a new admin user via database. This user was not fully configured, so i suggest anyone to open the profile in WordPress, and compile the remaining fields, and more important do what Karin say or you have problems with TinyMCE.

  7. Please this issue is really making me suffer. I have this theme I purchased in 2016. It works very fine when I was using shared hosting but now the only issue is it refuses to toggle from either text editor to visual….Please is there any other solution because guide did not work in my case. If you can help me troubleshoot this I will appreciate so much. Thanks.

    1. Hey there, sorry to hear you’re having a tough time!

      If I were you, the first thing I would do is figure out what changed from shared hosting to where you are now. Is the PHP version different? Are the plugins a more recent version than the ones in the old site? Then, check to see if the theme author has released any support articles or if anyone has blogged about the issue by doing a web search for the differences you found, using a phrase like “[theme name] theme not working after PHP update”. If you can’t find anything, reach out to the theme author for help.

      A 4 year old theme is pretty old in terms of the internet and how quickly things change. If you’re feeling bold, you could look through the comment section – some people have shared information that was not in my blog post about how they solved the issue – but without determining the cause, you might create a bigger problem by applying random fixes.

      Hope this helps – let me know if you end up sorting this out. 🙂

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