Gutenberg Block Manager Plugin Enables Global Block Removal and Recategorization

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Gutenberg Block Manager Plugin Enables Global Block Removal and Recategorization

The world of Gutenberg blocks is expanding. WordPress’ official block directory launched in June 2020 with just 60 single-block plugins. Today, it has grown to more than 480 blocks. As users incorporate more blocks into their websites, the block inserter can become a very long list to scroll when browsing.

Block management capabilities were added to Gutenberg in version 5.3, released in 2019. It allows users to search for a block and turn individual blocks and sections on or off in the block inserter. The feature hasn’t changed much over the past two years but will soon be getting a major update that will relocate it to the Preferences modal and redesign it to use panels with support for toggling block variations on and off.

If you need more fine-grained block management, Darren Cooney‘s Gutenberg Block Manager plugin offers an admin interface for removing and recategorizing blocks. It is different from the core capabilities in that site admins can globally manage the enabled/disabled state of each block and changes will be reflected in the block inserter for all users. The plugin provides a full-screen interface for managing blocks on its own settings page outside of the editor.

Each block has a description and a toggle button for disabling it. There is enough space to include the number of instances for each block, and this seems like something useful the plugin could add in the future. Block categories are available as a quick navigation list in the sidebar and entire categories can be turned on or off with one click.

The latest version of the plugin adds Category Switcher support for all blocks, including core Gutenberg blocks. Changing a block’s category will update its location in the block inserter.

This plugin could be useful for periodically tidying up, improving the organization of blocks within the block inserter. Paring back the list of available blocks could also make it easier for website managers to have access to only the blocks that are necessary for their work. The plugin includes a filter for controlling the status of blocks across multiple WordPress environments.

After testing the Gutenberg Block Manager, my only criticism is that the plugin’s name is the same as the core WordPress feature, making it somewhat confusing. It might be more clear to focus on its distinctions and include that in the name, such as “Global Block Manager” or some variation. Other than that, it functions just as advertised and is available for free in the official plugins directory.