Unlock Creative Freedom: learn 4 ways to add a custom CSS class in WordPress and do the magic!


In the dynamic realm of WordPress design, the ability to customize elements with precision is a cornerstone for creating websites that captivate and engage. One powerful tool in the designer’s arsenal is the addition of custom css classes – a versatile feature that allows for fine-tuned styling of individual elements. Learning how to add a custom css class in WordPress can prove crucial when creating a website in WordPress.

If you don’t know how to write custom CSS rules in WordPress you might want to read this article

Custom classes play a pivotal role in dictating the look and feel of elements on a webpage, providing a level of control that extends beyond the default styling options. This article aims to guide you through the process of adding a custom CSS class in WordPress using four different methods, empowering you to elevate your WordPress design to new heights.

Join us as we navigate the intricacies of WordPress customization, exploring the varied avenues for adding custom classes and ultimately providing you with the tools to craft websites that seamlessly align with your creative vision.

Understanding Custom CSS Classes:

A. Definition and Purpose:
Custom CSS classes serve as pivotal tools in WordPress development, allowing developers to apply specific styles to individual elements. In essence, a CSS class is a selector that can be assigned to HTML elements, providing a means to apply consistent styling across various pages or elements on a website.

The purpose of custom CSS classes extends beyond mere aesthetics; they offer a structured and efficient way to control the presentation of content. By assigning unique classes to elements, developers gain granular control over styling, ensuring a cohesive and visually appealing design throughout the website.

B. Benefits of Using Custom CSS Classes:
1. Modularity and Reusability: Custom CSS classes promote modularity, allowing developers to apply styles selectively to specific elements. This modularity enhances code reusability, as styles defined for one class can be easily replicated across multiple instances.

2. Maintainability: Using custom CSS classes enhances the maintainability of your code. Changes or updates to styling can be centralized within the class definition, reducing the risk of errors and streamlining the development process.

3. Consistency in Design: Implementing custom CSS classes ensures a consistent design language across different sections of a website. This uniformity is crucial for providing users with a seamless and professional browsing experience.

As we explore the methods for adding custom CSS classes in WordPress, keep in mind the foundational role these classes play in achieving a well-organized, visually cohesive, and easily maintainable web design. Now, let’s dive into the first method: Adding Custom Classes in the Block Editor (Gutenberg).

Method 1: How to add a custom css class in WordPress using the Block Editor (Gutenberg)

A. Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Access the Block Editor: Log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to the post or page where you want to add custom classes. Click on the “Edit” button to open the Block Editor.

2. Select the Block: Identify the block to which you want to apply a custom class. This could be a paragraph, heading, image, or any other block available in the Block Editor.

3. Open the Block Settings: In the right-hand sidebar, find the “Block” tab. Depending on your WordPress version, this might also be labeled as “Block” or “Block Settings.” Click on it to reveal the block-specific settings.

4. Navigate to the Advanced Section: Look for the “Advanced” section within the block settings. This section often includes additional customization options.

5. Enter Custom Class: Locate the “Additional CSS Class(es)” input box within the Advanced section. Here, you can enter the custom class or classes you want to apply to the selected block.

6. Save Changes: After entering the custom class, save your changes. The block will now inherit the specified styles associated with the custom class.

add a custom css class in WordPress

B. Practical Examples of Use:

1. Distinct Styling for Call-to-Action Blocks: Apply a custom class to highlight and differentiate call-to-action blocks.

2. Image Overlay Effects: Use custom classes to add overlay effects to images within the Block Editor.

3. Typography Adjustments: Fine-tune the styling of specific text blocks for emphasis.

C. Benefits and Limitations:

– User-friendly interface for quick customization.
– Block-specific customization allows for granular control.

– Custom classes are limited to the specific block.
– May not be suitable for applying styles globally across different blocks or sections.

By mastering this method, you gain proficiency in leveraging the intuitive Block Editor to add custom classes, offering a streamlined approach to element-level customization. Now, let’s explore another method: Adding Custom Classes in the Classic Editor.

Method 2: How to add a custom css class in WordPress using the Code Editor

A. Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Access the Block Editor: Log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to the post or page where you want to add custom classes. Click on the “Edit” button to open the Block Editor.

2. Access the Code Editor: Locate the three dots on the top right of the page, click them to open the menu, and look for Code Editor

3. Navigate through the code: When you click Code Editor, the visual editor is replaced by a quite intricated mix of WordPress and Htnl code; to find the element you want to add the custom class to, use Ctrl + F and type some text, for instance, the text of the link you want to customize. Once you get the element you want to customize, you can add to it your custom class:

<!-- wp:paragraph -->
    <p class="custom-class">Your text here</p>
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

B. Benefits and Limitations:

– You can go through the whole page and add custom classes to several different elements.
– May be suitable for applying styles globally across different blocks or sections.

– Not user-friendly interface: it can be really difficult to locate the element you want to change.
– Is more difficult to maintain.

Method 3: How to add a custom css class in WordPress using the Classic Editor

A. Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Access the Classic Editor: Navigate to the WordPress dashboard and open the post or page where you want to add custom classes. Click on the “Edit” button to open the Classic Editor.

2. Identify the Element: Locate the specific element within the Classic Editor to which you want to apply custom classes. This could be a paragraph, heading, image, or any other content element.

3. Switch to HTML Editor: In the Classic Editor toolbar, find the “Text” tab. Clicking on this tab switches from the visual editor to the HTML editor, displaying the underlying HTML code of your content.

4. Add Custom Classes: Within the HTML editor, find the HTML tag corresponding to the element you want to modify. Add the custom class directly to the tag, typically using the `class` attribute. For example:

<p class="custom-class">Your text here</p>

5. Switch Back to Visual Editor: After adding the custom class, switch back to the Visual Editor by clicking on the “Visual” tab in the Classic Editor.

6. Save Changes: Save your changes to apply the custom class to the selected element.

B. Exploring Scenarios with the Classic Editor:

Legacy Websites: In cases where websites still use the Classic Editor, understanding how to add custom classes directly to HTML elements is crucial.

Fine-Tuning Specific Elements: The Classic Editor’s HTML view provides a direct way to apply styles to individual elements with precision.

C. Comparisons with the Block Editor Approach:

Granular Control: The Classic Editor’s HTML view allows for fine-tuned control over individual elements, which can be advantageous for specific styling needs.

Less Intuitive: Compared to the Block Editor, the process involves directly manipulating HTML code, making it less user-friendly for those who prefer a visual interface.

By mastering this method, you gain flexibility in applying custom classes directly within the Classic Editor, offering a more code-centric approach to element customization. As we continue our exploration, let’s move on to Method 3: Utilizing the WordPress Customizer.

Method 4: How to add a custom css class in WordPress Directly Editing Theme Files

A. Understanding Theme-Level Customization

1. Access Theme Files: This method involves directly editing the theme’s files, typically the style.css file. Access your WordPress installation directory, navigate to “wp-content/themes/your-theme,” and locate the style.css file.

2. Backup Your Theme: Before making any changes, create a backup of your theme files. This ensures you can revert to the previous state if needed.

3. Open style.css: Use a text editor to open the style.css file. This file contains the primary styles for your theme.

B. Adding Custom Classes

1. Define Custom Classes: Within the style.css file, define your custom CSS classes. For example:

/* Custom CSS Classes */
.custom-class {
color: #3498db;
font-size: 16px;
/* Additional styles */

2. Apply Custom Classes: Identify the HTML elements to which you want to apply these custom classes. Insert the class names directly into the HTML tags within your theme files.

<div class="custom-class"><!-- Content here --></div>

3. Save Changes: Save the style.css file and any other modified theme files. Refresh your WordPress site to see the changes.

C. Considerations and Precautions

1. Theme Updates: Be cautious when updating your theme, as it may override customizations made directly to theme files. Keep a record of your changes to reapply them if necessary.

2. Code Maintenance: Directly editing theme files requires a solid understanding of CSS and HTML. Ensure your code is well-organized and follows best practices for maintainability.

3. Global Impact: Changes made at the theme level have a global impact on your site. Ensure that the custom classes are applied consistently and do not conflict with existing styles.

By utilizing this method, you gain advanced control over the styling of your WordPress site. However, exercise caution and consider this approach primarily if you are comfortable with coding and understand the potential implications of theme updates on your customizations. As we conclude the exploration of different methods, feel free to experiment with each to find the approach that best suits your design needs.

Best Practices and Tips

A. General Best Practices for Adding Custom Classes in WordPress

1. Descriptive Naming: Choose descriptive and meaningful names for your custom classes. This enhances code readability and makes it easier to understand the purpose of each class.

2. Modularity: Aim for modular and reusable classes. This ensures that your styles can be easily applied to multiple elements, promoting a consistent design across your site.

3. Avoid Overusing !important: While it might be tempting to use `!important` to force styles, it’s generally considered a last resort. Overusing it can lead to code maintenance challenges and unexpected behavior.

B. Tips for Maintaining a Clean and Organized Approach to Customization

1. Use Comments Liberally: Insert comments within your CSS code to explain the purpose of specific styles or groups of styles. This makes it easier for you or other developers to understand the code later.

/* Header Styles */
.header {
background-color: #333;
color: #fff;

2. Create a Custom Stylesheet: Consider creating a separate stylesheet for your custom styles rather than modifying the theme’s main stylesheet directly. This makes it simpler to manage and update your customizations.

3. Group Similar Styles: Group styles that are related or applied to the same type of elements. This organization helps maintain a logical structure in your CSS code.

C. Addressing Potential Challenges and How to Troubleshoot Issues

1. Browser Compatibility: Test your custom styles across different browsers to ensure compatibility. Browser developer tools can help identify and address rendering issues.

2. Conflicts with Theme Styles: If your custom styles conflict with the theme’s existing styles, use more specific selectors or adjust the order of your styles in the stylesheet to resolve conflicts.

3. Validation Errors: Check for any validation errors in your CSS code. Online validators can help identify syntax issues and ensure your styles are written correctly.

By adhering to these best practices and tips, you not only enhance the effectiveness of your custom classes but also contribute to a more maintainable and scalable WordPress project. Experiment with these guidelines as you add custom classes using different methods, and you’ll find yourself creating well-organized and visually appealing websites.

Real-world Examples

A. Showcasing Websites or Projects with Effective Custom Classes

1. E-commerce Product Listings:
– **Custom Class Application:** Utilizing custom classes to style product listings in an e-commerce website.
– **Example:** Applying a custom class to highlight discounted items with a distinct background color and font style, enhancing their visibility to users.

2. Blog Post Excerpts:
– **Custom Class Application:** Employing custom classes to format and style blog post excerpts for improved readability.
– **Example:** Creating a custom class that adjusts the font size, line spacing, and color of blog post excerpts, contributing to a consistent and engaging blog layout.

3. Call-to-Action Blocks:
– **Custom Class Application:** Enhancing the visual impact of call-to-action (CTA) blocks to drive user interaction.
– **Example:** Applying a custom class to CTA buttons, modifying their size, color, and hover effects, effectively guiding users to take desired actions.

B. Highlighting the Impact of Customization on Design and Functionality

1. **Brand Consistency:**
– **Scenario:** A corporate website incorporating custom classes to maintain brand consistency.
– **Impact:** By consistently applying custom classes to headers, buttons, and other elements, the website ensures a cohesive visual identity that aligns with the brand’s guidelines.

2. **Responsive Design Enhancements:**
– **Scenario:** A portfolio website implementing custom classes to improve responsiveness.
– **Impact:** Custom classes are used to adjust image sizes, text spacing, and layout structure, ensuring a seamless and visually pleasing experience across various devices.

3. **Interactive Elements:**
– **Scenario:** A news website employing custom classes for interactive elements.
– **Impact:** Custom classes are applied to buttons, tooltips, and interactive graphics, enhancing user engagement and providing a modern and dynamic browsing experience.

In these real-world examples, the strategic application of custom classes contributes to the overall design aesthetics and functionality of the websites. By observing how custom classes are employed in diverse contexts, you can draw inspiration for your own projects and tailor your approach based on specific design goals and user interactions.


As we conclude our exploration into the diverse methods add a custom css class in WordPress, it’s evident that customization is a pivotal aspect of creating unique and engaging websites. The ability to tailor styles to individual elements empowers designers and developers to craft digital experiences that align precisely with their creative vision and functional requirements.

In this journey, we’ve covered three primary methods:

1. Block Editor (Gutenberg): Using the Block Editor’s intuitive interface to add custom classes offers a user-friendly approach to element-level customization.

1. Code Editor (Gutenberg): Using the Code Editor can be more complicated but it offers the way to apply various changes without leaving the editor to click on another block and navigating through the different right-sidebar sections.

2. Classic Editor: For those still using the Classic Editor, directly editing HTML provides a code-centric method for applying custom classes with precision.

3. Theme File Editing: For advanced users, editing theme files allows for global customization, although caution is needed to manage potential conflicts and updates.

Key Takeaways

1. Flexibility in Approach: Each method provides a unique approach to adding custom classes, catering to different user preferences and skill levels.

2. Strategic Application: Real-world examples illustrate how custom classes can be strategically applied to enhance specific elements, contributing to a cohesive and visually appealing design.

3. Best Practices: Adhering to best practices ensures clean and maintainable code, promoting a seamless development and update process.

As you embark on your WordPress customization journey, consider experimenting with these methods to discover the approach that aligns best with your workflow and project requirements. Whether you prefer the simplicity of the Block Editor, the precision of HTML editing, or the depth of theme file customization, each method offers a pathway to elevate your design and development skills.

In the ever-evolving landscape of web development, embracing the power of customization through custom classes is not just a skill but a mindset—a mindset that propels you towards creating websites that stand out, engage users and leave a lasting impression. Happy customizing!

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