wordpress: getting started
HTML vs. Visual Modes
When editing a post or page, you can select either Visual or HTML mode at the top right of the editing area.
Visual mode operates much like a word processor, and lets you work without seeing or touching any HTML code whatsoever. But note that the Visual mode does not completely reflect how things will appear on your live site, since your final design is controlled by the CSS stylesheets in your theme, while the Dashboard focuses on the structure of your content.
HTML mode offers advanced users an added level of control when formatting media and text (i.e. there are many more HTML tags in existence than are represented by the toolbar icons). HTML mode is also used when you need to insert "embed" code in your posts, such as the code provided by YouTube for embedding videos in other sites. We'll come back to that.
If you prefer to stay in HTML mode permanently, you can disable the Visual mode from your Dashboard Profile page (click your name at the top right of the Dashboard).
You'll notice that the formatting toolbar icons also change when you switch to HTML mode. The purpose of most of them should be fairly clear, but see the toolbars appendix for full descriptions.