Visual Editor

  • Updated
  • Optimizely Web Experimentation
  • Optimizely Performance Edge Available for Edge
  • Optimizely Web Personalization

One of the reasons it is so easy to get started experimenting quickly in Web Experimentation, Performance Edge, and Web Personalization is that you do not need to write any code to do it. The Visual Editor makes this possible.

The Visual Editor is a dynamic, WSYWIG editor that quickly loads your website and lets you adjust the visitor experience for your experiment however you like. Once you have created an experiment or Personalization campaign, you can open any of the site variations you have created and edit page elements with just a couple clicks.

Of course, if you want to experiment with more elaborate changes to your site, Optimizely Web Experimentation and Optimizely Performance Edge also support adding your own HTML and JavaScript with its powerful custom code options.

Keep reading to learn how to use the Visual Editor to edit your experiment's variations.

If you are using Optimizely Performance Edge, certain features in the Visual Editor will not be available to you. Optimizely Performance Edge is a lightweight experimentation product that delivers significantly faster performance than previous versions of Optimizely Experimentation. It does this by relying on a streamlined "microsnippet" which limits the range of available features.

Edit a variation in the Visual Editor

When you first open the Visual Editor, you see the page you specified when you first created the experiment. It appears exactly the way it currently does on your site.


When you edit your site's pages in the Visual Editor, the changes you make do not overwrite your existing site. Your variations are visible only for the duration of your experiment. When the experiment is over, you can push a winning variation to live on your site permanently. However, your developer handles that process.

You can make the following types of changes in the Visual Editor:

You can also use the Visual Editor to add pages for a multi-page experiment, edit dynamic or interactive elements of your site, or change the page that loads when you open the Visual Editor.

You can also create a new extension to use in your variation. For more information on extensions, see Create reusable templates for custom features.

Before you can make any of these changes, you must first open the variation you want to modify, find the Changes section, and click Create.


This opens the Create Change window to edit your variation.

Edit an existing element on your page edge-info.jpg

Many experiments involve changes to existing elements on the page—like text, buttons, background, or images. These changes are straightforward in the Visual Editor.

While most of the features discussed in this section are available for Optimizely Performance Edge experiments, two of them—Timing and Track Clicks—are not.

To edit an existing page element:

  1. Make sure you are viewing the Create Change tab.


  2. Click Element Change.

  3. Select the element you want to edit. 

    • One-click – Click an element (a block of text or image) on the page to select it. You will see the name of the element in the Selector field in the left navigation. To change your selection, click the magnifying glass icon (Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 4.53.33 PM.png). Hover over the page to see your selection highlighted.

    • Find a specific element – Click an element on your page. Then, find the stack icon (Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 4.53.25 PM.png) in the left navigation to drop down a list of containers. Use this to navigate up and down the tree structure of page elements or DOM.

  4. Once you select an element to edit, you can change the HTML directly in the HTML box in the left sidebar.


  5. From here, you can edit any of these element properties:

    • Layout

      • Show, hide, or remove elements

      • Rearrange the initially selected element relative to another element

      • Position CSS property options let you choose alternative rules for positioning elements

    • Typography  Font size, weight, and color

    • Background  Color and image

    • Border – Width, style, and color

    • Styles 

      • Inline CSS. You can add any CSS here that will override prior changes or CSS styles for the selected element, including Optimizely Experimentation's own custom CSS (except for inherited styles).

      • Modify, add, or remove classes of the selected element

    • Timing

      • Not available for Optimizely Performance Edge experiments

      • Choose between synchronous and asynchronous timing for a change

      • Synchronous means your change loads at the same time as the Optimizely Experimentation snippet loads before the page is visible. Use this option for lighter changes that must run right away without flashing, like a headline swap.

      • Asynchronous means that your change will load after the snippet, applying the change while the page loads. Use this option for heavier changes where a delay won't be noticeable, like a popup or a section below the fold.

      • Select whether a change should wait for a previous change to apply

    • Track clicks

      • Not available for Performance Edge experiments

      • Attach a click event to a new element that you added to the page with the Visual Editor
      • Use it to track clicks in that campaign

  6. When you finish editing the element, click Save.


Add new elements to your page edge-info.jpg

You can also add new elements to your page using the Visual Editor. To do so, follow these steps:


  1. View the Create Change tab. Then click Insert HTML.

  2. Select an element on the page that will either contain (in the event of a wrapper) or be adjacent to the new element you want to insert.

  3. From the HTML Placement drop-down menu, select the location of your new element—before, after, at the beginning of, or at the end of—relative to the element you selected in step 2.

  4. In the HTML box, add the HTML for your new element. This will require some HTML knowledge. If you aren't comfortable using HTML, you may need help from someone who can create HTML that you can copy and paste to add the element.

  5. Click Save to save your changes.

Add new images to your page edge-info.jpg

To add new images to your page using the Visual Editor, follow these steps:

  1. View the Create Change tab. Then click Insert Image.

  2. Select an element on the page that will either contain (in the event of a wrapper) or be adjacent to the new image you want to insert.

  3. From the Image Placement drop-down menu, select the location of your new image—before, after, at the beginning of, or at the end of—relative to the element you selected in step 2.

  4. Click Upload New to select and upload your new image.

  5. Click Save to save your changes.

Rearrange elements on the page edge-info.jpg

The Visual Editor lets you rearrange an element relative to other elements on your page. 


  1. Select the element on your page that you want to reposition.

  2. From the Layout menu in the left-hand sidebar, click Rearrange.

  3. Choose the positioning (Before, At the beginning of, At the end of, After) for where you want the element to go.

  4. Use the magnifying glass icon beside the Choose target selector field to choose another element on the page that you'd like to use as a reference point for your original element's new position.

Think of this like a statement. For example: "Rearrange [original element from step 1] to go before [target element in step 4]."

Edit interactive or dynamic elements

Optimizely Experimentation's interactive mode is designed to let you interact with your website from within the Visual Editor. For instance, you would use interactive mode to edit an item on a drop-down menu or within a tray, or close a dialog modal, or open a navigation bar.


Clicking an element in the editor normally brings up the contextual menu, which means you cannot  interact with dynamic elements.

To interact with your page, click the interactive mode icon or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+i. This disables the Visual Editor's element selector functionality, so you can interact with your page.

Interactive mode shows you the original page so that you can interact with it. When you switch back to editing mode, you see the page with the variation code applied.

If you use interactive mode to go away from the originally loaded URL in our web application, the Visual Editor will not work. The new page in the iframe will not respond to the Visual Editor and will not apply the changes that you specify. But you can visit and edit such pages using the Desktop Application, which ensures that pages loaded in the iframe are always able to apply changes.

Edit pages that require authentication

You may need to edit a page that is only shown to authenticated and authorized users or a page that needs to use cookies for other reasons. When loaded in the Visual Editor's iframe, such cookies act as third-party cookies, which are no longer supported by default in Google Chrome. You can edit such pages using our Desktop Application or Pop-out Editor, neither of which will load your page in a subframe.

Add pages for a multi-page experiment 

To create a multi-page or funnel experiment, click Edit Targeting in the dropdown menu to add an existing page or create a new one. You can create variations for different pages on your site in a single experiment.


When making visual or custom code changes to a multi-page experiment, select the page you're editing from the dropdown to ensure that your changes are applied correctly.

You should create new pages in the Implementation section whenever possible. Pages are reusable across experiments and campaigns. Setting them up in the Implementation tab lets you create experiments quickly and gather consistent data on the events you add to each page.

Change the page that loads in the Visual Editor 

When you launch the Visual Editor, you see the name and URL of the page you are editing. These are the same pages that you set up when you implement Optimizely Web Experimentation and Optimizely Performance Edge.

You may want to change the page that loads in the Visual Editor so that you can edit a different element on your site. 


  1. Click the bar with the name and URL of your page, and click View.

  2. In the Configure Page screen, you will see something different, depending on whether your page type is a single URL, or a set of URLs.

    For single URLs, you can change the URL field. This changes the page definition in every experiment where it's used. If you're using this page in multiple experiments, we recommend creating a new page instead of changing it.

    For A set of URLs or Global page types, you can change the Editor URL field. This only affects which page displays in the Visual Editor; not the actual URL targeting of your page as it displays to visitors.

For Single URL pages, changing the URL on the Configure Page screen changes the targeting of the page in every experiment and campaign where it is used. If you are using this page in multiple experiments, you should create a new page instead of altering the existing one.

Redirect the page to a different URL 

Sometimes, you want to redirect to another existing URL instead of designing a variation in the Visual Editor. For example, you may be testing two pre-built landing pages against each other. In Optimizely Web Experimentation and Optimizely Performance Edge, this is called a redirect experiment: one (or more) of your variations will redirect the visitor to the URL of the landing page instead of the original experience.

See create and test redirect variations.

Optimizely will not erase the existing variation code you have generated if you select this option. Any variation JavaScript or CSS changes that you have made will execute before the redirect.

Preview your changes

As you make changes in the Visual Editor, Optimizely Web Experimentation and Optimizely Performance Edge will save your changes and upload them to our CDN (Content Delivery Network). You can preview the changes you have made directly from the Visual Editor.

  1. Check the status of the upload: if Uploading to CDN appears, your experiment is still uploading. Wait until this message disappears to preview your changes.


  2. In the Changes menu, select Preview Tool to view your changes.


You can also use the Preview button to send a shareable link to your other collaborators so they can preview changes.

If you do not see the Preview option, you may be in the Change Options sub-menu. Exit that menu to find the Preview options.

New, Modified, Deleted, and Live Changes edge-info.jpg

You may have noticed the numbered gray, orange, and green bubbles, and that they fluctuate as you make changes to and publish the experiment. Here are what the different colors means:

  • Gray. No new changes since the last publication


  • Orange. A new change, a modification of an existing change, or a deletion of an existing change.


  • Green. Changes published.


Add extensions in the Visual Editor

You can add an extension (a reusable element your team can build once and reuse across multiple campaigns) from Implementation > Extensions > Create New...


Learn how to create extensions, or check out Optimizely Experimentation's library of pre-built, reusable extensions.

Pop-out Editor

The Pop-out Editor helps you work around header issues if you are having trouble loading a page in the Editor. Click the icon to load your page in a new browser window.