How to Insert a WordPress Photo Gallery into Your Blog

The new Media Manager released with Version 3.5 of WordPress in December of 2012 has changed the way galleries are created. To see how to create galleries with the new WordPress, visit this page.

There are all sorts of photo gallery plugins and themes for WordPress, but in this post we’re going to go over the out-of-the-box default WordPress gallery.

If you’re somewhat new to WordPress, or you haven’t looked into its nooks and crannies, you might not have even been aware that there was an “out-of-the-box default WordPress gallery.” But there is, of course. And for some, it may be plenty to suit their needs.

The Gallery’s Appearance

The first thing to know about the default gallery is that its appearance can be determined by your theme. And so if things don’t look exactly the same on your site as they do here, it’s probably because your theme has decided to dress the gallery up.

Of course there are also all sorts of plugins you can get to change the gallery’s appearance. There are too many to go into here, but just know that if things don’t look exciting enough for you here, you can change that.


Video of Inserting a Gallery

Below is a short video of the process in action. For those who prefer text, you can continue below.

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How to Use the Default WordPress Photo Gallery

1. Upload your images via the media uploader.

2. Select your images. You can upload multiple images at the same time by holding down the Shift key and selecting a range or photos. You can also select or deselect images by holding down the Ctrl key.

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3. Once images are uploaded the first time, make sure you click the “Save all changes” button at the bottom so that the Gallery tab will appear in the uploader.

4. If you’d like, you can arrange the order of the images by dragging them into place.

5. Choose the settings of your gallery.

Link to thumbnails

  • Image File – when thumbnail is clicked, the image will appear on a blank page all by itself
  • Attachment Page – when thumbnail is clicked, the image will appear on a page that looks like a regular post with the header, sidebar, etc. still in place


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Order Images

Next you can order your images as you’d like them to appear in the gallery.

Choose Number of Columns

Next is probably one of the more important decisions – the number of columns in your gallery. If you choose too many columns for your theme, it will revert back to the default three columns. Don’t forget to Click “Update gallery settings.”


The Gallery in the Editor

You will not see a representation of the gallery in your editor (even though it’s a WYSIWYG editor). Instead, you will see a rectangle with an icon in the middle.

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Editing the Gallery

In order to edit the gallery, you can either click the media uploader icon again, or you can click on the gallery graphic in the editor and two buttons should appear in the top-left corner. The one on the far left is the edit icon.

Change Image Sizes

You can also change the size of the images in your gallery by going into the HTML tab and adding a property to the shortcode.

The default value for the gallery is the “thumbnail” size. But you can also use “medium,” large,” and “full.”

The way to add a size would be to include one of the following in the shortcode:

  • size=”medium”
  • size=”large”
  • size=”full”

So, for example, let’s say we wanted to make the images in the gallery larger (medium sized). Just add the appropriate code.

6. Save your gallery, and that should be it.

You can read more about galleries at

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Photo: Beautiful Sceneries in Photos on Green Field Background from BigStock

Comments (5)

  1. Are all WordPress image galleries based on short code. Meaning I can only place them on my blog via this snippet? What about if I want to add an image gallery to my blog via HTML code?

    Does this exist for any WordPress image galleries? I have been looking and can’t find any. Please advise. The reason I ask is because I am using a theme that has a static homepage and on it, is a placeholder for either a video or images. I wish to place an image gallery in this box, but need the HTML code – not a short code or PHP.

    Please advise.

    • Missy – I think you would need to run it inside the WordPress system in order to get it to appear. I may be wrong about that — there may be some type of workaround — but I’m not exactly sure how you would do that if it’s possible. You might ask at the forums or a place like stackexchange.

  2. Hi Joseph,

    why the gallery looks different between the post which contains the images and the main page?

    Here an example:


    it looks great on the post, the thumbs appearing, but on the main page it appears an image with the legend “This gallery contains…”

    is it a theme problem?

    Thank you in advance and also thanks for your great guide :)

    • Amadeo – Yeah, I think it’s the theme or the fact that you continue the post inside (i.e. you don’t have the full post on the front page). I just did a quick test, and for me I got the gallery on the front page.

      Does your theme normally show the full post on the front page? Did you cut it off manually, or did your theme cut it off?

      If your theme cuts off all your posts automatically, you might try changing to full posts on the front page to see if that’s the problem. You will need to look in your theme on the index.php file (or another file referenced in the index.php file) and replace “the_excerpt” with “the_content” >>

      If you can’t get it worked out, you should probably ask about it on the forums (do it through the theme’s page — looks like you’re using this: … or ask the theme developer directly.

      • Yeah, it must be a theme problem (I’ve asked the author on WordPress forums), I always show the whole post on front page, so it’s not an “excerpt” problem.

        Thank you for your answer.