Getting Started

WP Scratchpad is a Chrome extension for quickly and easily creating draft posts on your WordPress site, no matter where you are on the web. It lives in your browser bar so that whenever inspiration for a blog post strikes, you can quickly jot down the idea, provide any relevant links, save the post as a draft and get back to browsing. All in just a few clicks and without having to log in to your WordPress site!

For WP Scratchpad to work properly, you have to have a few things:

  • A publicly-accessible WordPress site (we don't support localhost, *.local, *.test, or sites behind a firewall right now)

  • The WordPress REST API endpoints accessible and not blocked by any security plugins or firewalls (the REST API ships as part of WP Core, so if you're unsure, you probably have it enabled)

  • HTTPS enabled (we want to make sure the connection between the Chrome extension and your WordPress site is secure)

  • The latest version of the JWT-Auth plugin installed and activated (don't worry if you don't have this yet, this is part of the instructions)

  • The latest version of WP Scratchpad downloaded from the Chrome Web Store and activated in your browser (we'll cover this in the instructions below as well.)

If you'd rather watch instead of reading, check out the Getting Started video.

Setting up JWT Auth

This step only needs to be done once by the administrator of the site. Once the plugin is installed and activated, unique key pairs can be generated and distributed to each author that wants to use WP Scratchpad.

Downloading and activating the plugin

To start, you'll need the JWT Auth plugin installed on your WordPress site. Download the ZIP version of the plugin from Github and upload it to your WordPress site by going to the Plugins menu, clicking on Add New and then Upload Plugin. From there you'll be able to select the ZIP file, confirm the upload and activate the plugin.

Generating and distributing key pairs for each author

Once the plugin is activated, you'll notice that on each user's profile in wp-admin there is a new section called API Key-pairs. This is where you can generate the API Key and API Secret that WP Scratchpad will use to make the connection to your WordPress site.

Where you see New key-pair, type WP Scratchpad for the name and click on Add New. You'll notice a pop up with your API Secret. Once you dismiss this pop-up, you'll never be able to access the API Secret again. So make sure you copy it down or, even easier, download the JSON file with both your API Key and API Secret. If you're going to be generating key pairs for multiple authors, downloading this JSON file for each author and sending it to them is the easiest way to get them up and running with their own copy of WP Scratchpad.

Repeat this process on each author's profile who you want to be able to use WP Scratchpad, making sure you send each author the unique keypair that you generated on their profile page. This will ensure they can use WP Scratchpad properly and that the drafts they create are attributed to them properly within WordPress.

Revoking key pairs

If for any reason you need to disable an author's access to post drafts through WP Scratchpad, you can go to their profile within wp-admin, find the key pair that you created for them and click on the Revoke button. This will immediately remove the ability for their copy of WP Scratchpad to post drafts into WordPress. If they try to create a new draft through WP Scratchpad, they will see the error message "There was an error submitting your post. Please make sure your WordPress site is responding or try again later."

Setting up WP Scratchpad

Now that you've got the WordPress side configured and ready to go, you're ready to download the Chrome extension and start drafting posts!

Downloading and activating the extension

Find the extension in the Chrome Web Store and click on Add to Chrome and in the resulting pop up click Add extension. Once the extension is added and activated, you should see the WP Scratchpad icon to the right of the URL bar. You can click on this icon at any time to bring up WP Scratchpad.

Providing Site URL and JWT credentials

The first time you download WP Scratchpad, you have to connect it to your site. First, enter the base URL of your site. If you're not sure what that is, you can look at the URL that's in the URL bar when you are logged into wp-admin and remove everything after and including /wp-admin/. For example, if the URL of my WordPress admin area is, the base URL for my site is Make sure to include the https:// when you're typing in your URL. When you are done entering your URL, click Save Site.

Once your URL is entered, click on Log In and you will be prompted to enter your API Key and API Secret. These are the two values you got earlier when you were setting up WordPress. Copy and paste both of these values and click on Log In and WP Scratchpad should update with your username, letting you know you have logged in successfully. Remember that each author who you grant access to on the WordPress site has a different API Key and API Secret and should use their own to make sure drafts are properly attributed.

Drafting your first post

Now that you've saved the URL to your site and WP Scratchpad has made a successful connection to WordPress, you're ready to draft your first post! You should see inputs for the post title and post content. Input a post title (you can always change this later in WordPress) as well as the post content, including any notes or links you want to have saved. When you're ready, click Post as Draft and your title and content will be saved in WordPress as a draft post. Once your post is saved, you'll see the text "Your post has been saved." along with a link to Edit in WordPress. Clicking this link will take you directly into your new draft post in WordPress (or ask you to log in first) where you can make any additional edits.

Congratulations! You've just drafted your first post with WP Scratchpad!

Advanced Techniques

Now that you've created your first post, read on to learn about some of the more advanced techniques you can use to get the most out of WP Scratchpad.

HTML as part of draft posts

The Post Content field supports many HTML tags. So if you want to save a more comprenhensive outline of your post instead of just a couple sentences, you can use tags like h1 or h2, which will be rendered correctly in either the Classic Editor or Gutenberg. Embeds such as Youtube and other embeds that WordPress supports will be handled correctly as well, if you inclulde them in Post Content.

Block Editor (Gutenberg) Support

If the block editor is active on your site, all of your post content that comes from WP Scratchpad will be contained within one Classic Editor block. You can either leave this block at the top of your post as a reminder while writing and delete it before you publish your post, or you can let the block editor convert it into blocks (see below).

Converting to blocks

If you have inserted some HTML and maybe an embed, your one Classic block that is inserted into your draft by default may be getting a little cluttered. If you select the 3 dots (⋮) menu for the Classic block, you'll see an option to Convert to blocks. The block editor will make best guesses about your content and try to split the content into it's respective blocks.

Let's say you have an h2 tag with some content in it, then just a paragraph of notes about your draft, and then a Youtube link to remind yourself why you got the idea in the first place. Convert to blocks will convert your one Classic block into a Heading block, a Paragraph block, and a Youtube block, making your content more closely resemble a piece of content composed entirely in the block editor. For an example of this, check out the end of the Getting Started video.

Questions? Issues?

Send an email to providing as much information as possible regarding the version of WordPress you are running, the version of Chrome you are running and what you did leading up to the issue.