KB Author Training - Body Field - Classic Editor Options: Design (WYSIWYG) or HTML mode

This training document provides detailed information about the two modes of the document Classic editor: Design (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get, or WYSIWYG) and HTML. It also includes training exercises that demonstrate how to switch between these two modes. For detailed information about other aspects of the document editor, please continue with this training series or return to the KB Author Training - Overview.

In this document:


The Knowledgebase features two editor versions at this time: the Classic editor and the TinyMCE editor. Each version is unique from the other, and it is easy to differentiate between the two.

The Body field is where the majority of a document's content is stored. The body should contain the information you wish to convey to your audience. As you prepare to edit the body of your document, you should be aware of the options available to you through the document editor.

Classic Editor:

The image below displays the Classic Editor's buttons and tools as well as the main body field.

Classic editor Body field

TinyMCE Editor:

The image below displays the TinyMCE Editor's buttons and tools as well as the main body field.

Tiny MCE editor

Design (WYSIWYG) Editor

The KB document editor allows you to write and edit documents in two different modes, the first of which is called Design or WYSIWYG.

'WYSIWYG' is an acronym that stands for 'What You See Is What You Get'.

In the context of the KB, when you make changes to your document's formatting in the WYSIWYG editor, those changes appear instantly in the Body field Moreover, what you see in the editor is what shows up in the document itself. For instance, text that appears formatted in the WYSIWYG editor (as in the below screenshot) will appear formatted in the final version of the document.

Classic editor Body field WYSIWYG view

The WYSIWYG editor functions much like a traditional word processing application. Additionally, many of the editor's formatting buttons are familiar looking icons. Because of the immediate visual feedback it provides, the WYSIWYG editor is generally considered to be the easier of the two methods of editing KB content. The WYSIWYG editor is enabled by default for new users.


  • Familiar interface
  • Immediate visual feedback
  • Easy to make quick changes


  • Less fine-grained control over formatting.
  • May not handle custom JavaScript well.

HTML Editor

The second mode of editing documents is available through the HTML editor. In contrast to the WYSIWYG editor, the HTML editor requires you to format the body of your document in a markup language called 'XHTML'. You can use the Classic HTML editor even if you are not proficient in XHTML because it includes 'Quick Code' buttons that insert snippets of XHTML for common formatting tasks. However, because documents appear in the editor as XHTML markup, updates you make will not be immediately apparent; you must click Preview button to see changes rendered in your web browser. The screenshot below is a document in the HTML editor that produces the same output as displayed in the above screenshot of the WYSIWYG editor.

Classic HTML editor Quick Code buttons

Although you will have the opportunity to use the Quick Code buttons in the Classic editor in a subsequent training document, the broader topic of document design using XHTML falls outside the scope of this series of training documents. If you wish to learn more about XHTML and other web technologies, please see the Resources section of the final document in the training series.

Also be aware that the Quick Code buttons do not appear in the Tiny MCE editor.


  • Access to Quick Code buttons
  • Fine-grained control over document appearance
  • Ability to annotate markup associated with your document


  • Some XHTML knowledge required to make changes beyond basic formatting
  • Typically takes more time to edit documents

Switching Between Editors

It is not necessary to remain in a single mode in the document editor. In fact, it can be helpful to switch back and forth between modes depending on what you're trying to accomplish. For instance, you could use the WYSIWYG editor to quickly publish a document. You could then use the HTML editor to add custom formatting to that document.

If you begin a document in the WYSIWYG editor and switch to the HTML editor, you can interact with the XHTML markup generated by the editor. Conversely, if you begin a document in the HTML editor and switch to the WYSIWYG editor, you can see and manipulate the design. You can switch back and forth between the two editors using the button at the lower left corner of the main editor window, pictured below:

Classic Editor HTML to WYSIWYG

Swapping from HTML to Design view
In the image above, a user would press the Design button to switch to the WYSIWYG editor.

Classic Editor WYSIWYG to HTML

Swapping from Design to HTML view
In the image above, a user would press the HTML button to switch to the HTML editor.


Icon to switch to HTML view in Tiny MCE editor
Use the Source code button to switch to the TinyMCE HTML editor. Within the HTML editor, you can click Save or Cancel to return to the WYSIWYG editor.

Setting Default Editor

If you use one editor more often than the other, or if you use one editor exclusively, it is possible to set that editor as the default for your account. In order to set the default editor for your account:

  1. Click on the Home tab in the upper left of the KB Admin Tools.
  2. Click on the link in the left-hand column labeled My Profile (see red arrow in image below).

    Accessing your My Profile options from Home tab

  3. The bottom part of the My Profile screen is labeled Editor mode. You can select the option that best suits your editing style. Note that if you choose one of the options labeled ONLY, you will lose the option to switch back and forth between editors until you change your default mode selection.

    Profile options within KB Admin area

  4. Click the Update button in order to save your changes.


  1. If you are not already logged in, log into the KB Admin Tools.
    Note: If your institution is not using Shibboleth, go to the Active Directory Login.
  2. Click on the Documents tab.
  3. Click on the New Doc link on the left navigation bar.
  4. As a new user, your editor will default to Design/WYSIWYG mode. Try typing some sample text in the Body field. Highlight the text and bold it by clicking the Bold button button.
  5. Click the HTML button located at the lower left corner of the Body field to switch the editor to HTML mode. You should see the text you typed along with the markup that accompanies bold text.
  6. Click on the Home tab. You will receive a prompt warning you about losing unsaved changes. Click OK to leave the page.
  7. Click on the My Profile link in the left-hand column.
  8. Select the option labeled 'HTML ONLY with Quick Code Buttons'. Click Update to save changes. You should see a notification along the top of the page reading 'Your profile has been updated'.
  9. Click the Documents tab and then on the New Doc link on the left-hand menu.
  10. Note that there is no longer a button at the lower left corner of the Body field allowing you to switch between editor modes. Click the Bold button button to place the XHTML markup for bolded text in the Body field. Enter some text between the XTHML tags (<strong>Example</strong>). Click Preview to view the text as it would appear in a published document.
  11. Close out of the preview window. Click on the Home tab and hit OK to leave the page. Then click on the My Profile link.
  12. Set your default editor mode back to 'HTML with Quick Code Buttons (default) + WYSIWYG Design' (or whichever mode you prefer) and click the Update to save your changes.

Keywords:kb knowledge base knowledge base KB training train title fields summary there design HTML XHTML WYSIWYG what you see is what you get you get see get you see toggle body   Doc ID:23349
Owner:Leah S.Group:KB User's Guide
Created:2012-03-21 10:03 CSTUpdated:2022-06-09 09:18 CST
Sites:KB User's Guide
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