I'm using javascript in the editor to look at the content of the post and, if it contains certain strings, change the selected template.

Here's a picture of the form and the button behind it. The button's content it "default template". If I select a new option, the button will change to reflect the new selection.

enter image description here

I want to do this in javascript.

I've tried making a click on the "page" tab, wait for the button, click on "button", then setting the value like this:

selector = document.querySelector("select#inspector-select-control-0");
selector.value = 'article.php'

I've also tried the other clicks & setting the value and adding "selected" to the option I want:

Array.from(document.querySelector("select#inspector-select-control-0").options).forEach(function(option) {
    if ('article.php' === option.value){
        option.selected = true;

These can change the value in the form but the button doesn't update and when I publish/update/save the post the template isn't changed.

I tried using this:

    meta: { _wp_page_template: 'article.php' },

But this doesn't have any effect. I'm really at a loss here. Why can't I use the form for this?

  • I presumed you are using an FSE/block-based theme? But even if not, you can still try the sample implementation in my answer - it's not to be simply copied/pasted though, instead, you can take it as a guide on correctly subscribing to changes in the post content/data.
    – Sally CJ
    Jul 28, 2023 at 5:36

1 Answer 1


You are already using the correct action, i.e. wp.data.dispatch( 'core/editor' ).editPost(), however, you should instead change the property named template. I.e.

wp.data.dispatch( 'core/editor' ).editPost( { template: 'article.php' } )

Also, for completeness, here's a sample implementation based on what you're trying to do:

const { subscribe, select, dispatch } = wp.data;

// The text you want to find.
const TEXT_TO_FIND = 'foo';

// The template you want to change to when the above text is found.
const TEMPLATE_SLUG = 'article.php';

let previousTemplateSlug = '';

const unsubscribe = subscribe( () => {
    const postContent  = select( 'core/editor' ).getEditedPostContent();
    const templateSlug = select( 'core/editor' ).getEditedPostAttribute( 'template' );

    // Build the regular expression pattern for searching the text.
    const RE = new RegExp( '\\b' + TEXT_TO_FIND + '\\b' );

    if ( ( TEMPLATE_SLUG !== templateSlug ) &&
        postContent && RE.test( postContent )
    ) {
        dispatch( 'core/editor' ).editPost( { template: TEMPLATE_SLUG } );
        previousTemplateSlug = templateSlug;
    } else if ( previousTemplateSlug && ! RE.test( postContent ) ) {
        // Revert to the previous template.
        dispatch( 'core/editor' ).editPost( { template: previousTemplateSlug } );
        previousTemplateSlug = '';
} );

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