How to add a gallery in WordPress

We’ve got a few new authors in The Garage and there have been some questions about how to upload a pretty gallery of images so another tutorial is in order.

First, a bit of history:

In the early days of WordPress, the image management functionality was rather limited unless you were a techie. The rest of us had to rely on plugins to make our lives easier. Arguably, the most popular galleries plugin was/is Alex Rabe’s NextGen Galleries. The problem with NextGen is that while the end result looks great and works well, it is a bit of a pain in the ass to create the actual galleries. Also, it is fairly easy to create a galleries page that allows all of the galleries to be displayed.

The more recent versions of WP have addressed the functionality issues surrounding galleries and it is now no more difficult to add galleries than it is to upload single images.

Next up: To save me some typing, go here and read all of step #4. Don’t worry, we’ll still be here when you get back. Now, just for fun, upload a few photos in a test post. That way you will have something to work with. Don’t insert the images, just click “save all changes” and then close the window.

Position your cursor in the spot in your post where you would like to insert a gallery. Now, click on the “add an image” button on the toolbar again. This will bring you to the upload dialog box. If you look along the top, you will see a row of text links. You want to click on the one that says “gallery”. When you do, you will see this:

If you look down at the bottom of the box, you will see a button that says “Insert Gallery”. Press it and you will see a gallery like this:

While it looks nice, you will notice that if you click on an image, the image opens on a new blog page. If you click that image again, it will open in a blank page with a white background. That is fine if you are sharing large images like the desktop backgrounds I’ve used as examples, but if you are publishing a regular post with images, it looks nicer if the photos appear in a lightbox.

Press that add an image button again. This time, you are going to make a tiny change to the Gallery Settings. Next to the text that says Link thumbnails to, the Attachment page selection is the default. You want to select Image file instead.

When you select this one and then insert the gallery, at first it doesn’t look all that different.

When you click on a photo, the photo should now open in a lightbox*, which is like a shadowed pop out in front of the main page. It looks much nicer on the page and allows the reader to change images with the use of an arrow rather than paging back. It is a small thing, but it improves the experience for your reader.

*Bear in mind that this tutorial has been written for a new WordPress user. I am working on the assumption that your techie type or publisher will have already made sure that a lightbox type of plugin has been installed.

Ed note: GRRRRR! Bumpystick is not playing nice today for some reason and a bunch of plugins are not functioning correctly, yet other sites that are using the exact same WP install are working just fine!!! Soooo…If you would like to see a lightbox in action properly, head on over to the photography page on our BVM site.

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