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Managing Images (and more!) using WordPress Media Tools

WordPress Media Library FiletypesLast week we talked about NextGen Gallery which is a great tool for managing your photos in WordPress. For many of our customers this tool is overkill for the photos they want to incorporate on their site. Sound like you?

The perfect solution is built right into WordPress, via the media library.

Over the past few years this has been one of the major areas of improvement in the WordPress updates. If you’re not using the most current version (which you really should be, for security reasons if nothing else), you need to update to get all the awesome media tools!

In the most recent versions of WordPress, you’ll just see one button one your posts and pages – ‘Add Media’. This will allow you to upload not just photos and graphics but also pdf files, and any other kind you can imagine! Keep in mind that visitors need to have the program available to open the files, so pdf is almost always the best choice.

Clicking it will give you two options in the centre panel:

  • Media Library which contains all the other files which you’ve ever uploaded. Naming them well will make finding them using the search easier later, so you can reuse the same images over.
  • Upload Files which allows you to locate a file on your computer and add it to your library. If you’ve loaded the file before, you’re best to find the old copy rather than adding the same ones over and over.

You’ll also see options at the top left to:

  • Insert Media which allows you to embed an image or a link in your post or page. Click the one you’d like to use, ensure the Title and Alt text are correct, choose how you’d like the image to display, where it links to, and how large it is, and click ‘Insert into post’.
  • Create Gallery which lets you choose any of the images you’ve uploaded and display them in a gallery format. The exact styling of the gallery will depend on the theme you’ve selected, and there are plug-ins which will expand your options (we’ll revisit this in a future column). Simply (1) click on each one you’d like included, and click ‘Create a new gallery’.  This will bring you to (2) a second screen where you can reorder the images (or show them randomly), add captions if you haven’t already, choose where they link to and how many columns should appear.

    Media Library - Create a gallery - animated

  • Set Featured Image gives you another way to choose the featured image for the post than using the box along the right side of your posts.
  • Insert from URL lets you enter the address of an image on another website to be included on your page.  I wouldn’t typically recommend this, as you’ll have problems if that site moves or removes the image, and the site you’re pulling the image from will be paying for your bandwidth.  You’re always better to upload the image yourself, so this is for those cases where this isn’t possible, perhaps because the owner of the image changes it, or if it is copyrighted and you are only permitted to link to it.

If you want to learn more, you may wish to check out the Media Library entry in the WordPress Codex or come to one of our Build Your Own Website Workshops.  If you need some help with customizing the way images and galleries display on your website, contact AWEBthatWORKS today – 1-800-579-9253.

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Posted on by Sue
Categories: WordPress
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