Built-In WordPress Gallery

The current version of WordPress has 1 gallery style built-in and allows 4 sizing options:

  1. Thumbnail
  2. Medium
  3. Large
  4. Full Size

The gallery allows you to designate the numbers of columns that will appear on the page, and you can specify either the order of appearance or select the random option. Access the basic gallery by clicking on “Add Media” and selecting “Create Gallery.” Select the images to be included and then click “Create New Gallery.” The results are automatically inserted in the page or post.

WordPress Basic Gallery Example:

To prepare the photos for use in a gallery, it is important to optimize and size the photos prior to creating the gallery. Each photo should have a unique filename, title, alt text and description, file size reduced, and sizes of each photo reduced or enlarged to match the anchor photo. Adding a caption in the media library is optional. In the WordPress Basic Gallery, captions will appear below each photo if you decide to use captions. Some gallery plug-ins allow control of the caption, placing it above each photo, over each photo, only displaying on the one selected photo, or no captions.

Once the photos are prepped and uploaded to the media library, you can still make edits to each individual photo, if needed, either before including in the gallery or after. In the above example, each photo was edited to be the same height as the shortest photo. Make sure to save the changes to each photo after editing, which will permanently change the prepped settings for that photo in the media library – not just the gallery. If you need to use that photo elsewhere with different settings, you will have to upload a new photo from the original file and give it a different name.

For more gallery styles and features, including lightbox and animations, there are many gallery plugins that are free, quick to learn and easy to use, such as:

  • Gallery Pro
  • NextGEN Gallery
  • Gallery Bank
  • Gallery by BestWebSoft
  • Gallery Slideshow
  • Gallery Lighbox

The popular Jetpack plugin by WordPress.com also has some basic gallery styles. Just click on the dashboard’s sidebar link to Plugins and search for the word “gallery” to review the features and options offered by each.