NextGEN Gallery: a basic users guide

Readers love lots of pictures and because of this, so do search engines. Of course we love taking pictures and showing them off too, but the basic image functionality of WordPress is limited at best not to mention it doesn’t allow for actual galleries. To solve this, we went looking for a simple solution for loading galleries into The Garage. Everything I read pointed towards Alex Rabe’s NextGEN Gallery plugin, so Jaimie our tech guru installed it. Then of course I discovered that it was absolutely impossibly tough to figure out for a techno turd like me. I followed link after link and found lots of tutorials written in geekspeak for the developers, but nothing for the simple but experienced WP user.

Now that I have another writer working on TG who is fairly comfortable with WP, it is time to create a simple tutorial on how to create a NextGEN gallery, upload photos to it and add it to a post.

Step 1: Create a gallery

Once your techie has installed the NextGEN plugin to your WP, you will notice a new list on your left sidebar that looks like this:
ng-sidebar

There are lots of things you can do with these links, but as this tutorial is for the simple uploading of galleries and images I am only focusing on these functions.

To create a gallery, click on the Add Gallery/Images link. Once there, you will see an info box with the title New Gallery: to the left. Type the title you wise to use in this info box and then press the Add Gallery button.

ng-gallery-added1

Click on that image to see a larger version. Up near the top you’ll see a yellowish (I think, I’m colour blind) dialogue box telling you that you have successfully added the gallery. The important thing here is the line that shows the gallery id. Get your pad and pen and write that down. In this case, the bit you are looking for is
{nggallery id=31} but with square brackets.

Note: when you try to use the actual code for display, NextGEN tries toload a gallery where there is none. That is why I had to change the brackets. Sorry for any confusion.

It is important to write it down correctly and note the square brackets. If you do not write this down and enter it correctly, your gallery will not work! More on this topic later.

Step 2: Upload images

Look up at that last screen shot and you’ll notice there is a link that says upload images. Click on it. On the next page, click the Browse button. Navigate to the folder you have your photos stored in. Then, press the Ctrl key on your keyboard and select every image you want to load into the gallery. Below the Browse button there is a dropdown menu that says choose gallery. In this menu, the galleries are listed by name, in the order they were added. Scroll down and choose the gallery you have just added. Once you have selected the gallery you want, you can press the Upload Images button.

Just a note here about image size. You will want to play around with what size image works best for your blog and your readers. I have found that images with a width of 900 or 1000 pixels work best for the gallery display. Any bigger than that and images become almost un-viewable depending on your readers resolution settings.

Now that you have added images, you will notice that the info box at the top of the page now tells you how many images you have successfully uploaded and does not have the gallery id anymore.

Step 3: Add your gallery to a post

This is perhaps the easiest part of the process. Go to the post where you want the gallery to appear. Find the spot where you want your gallery to appear within the post and copy in that code that you wrote down earlier. When you save or publish your post, you will see your gallery.

Within the Add Media pop up in a post, you will see a NextGEN gallery tab at the top right. It has never worked properly for me, so I don’t use it. While this may have something to do with browser settings, I have gotten used to just writing down the gallery number and adding it in to a post manually.

Just a word about gallery placement: I typically insert a single image at the top of a post. Then, as my text continues below the fold, I will include the gallery at some point down there. If there is little text, I still usually put the gallery below the fold. This encourages readers to stay around longer so they have more exposure to advertisers.

Now you know how to add a NextGEN gallery in layman’s terms.

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Auto writer, motorsports photographer, social media specialist.

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