How to Create WordPress Photo Galleries with the New 3.5 Media Manager

The biggest change in the recently released 3.5 version of WordPress was undoubtedly the way media is handled. Not only did the Media Library change, but the way galleries are created also changed – all for the better.

Below we’ll go over how to insert a photo gallery in a WordPress post. We’ve got both a video tutorial as well as text and images.

First up, a video of the process.

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Opening the Media Manager

To create a gallery, you need to click on the Media Manager button at top left of your editing screen.

When you first open the Media Manager, you will be shown the files in your Media Library.  If you’d like to create a gallery from those files, then you’re already where you need to be.  Just select the files you’d like to include in your gallery.

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

Uploading Files

If you’d like to upload files, then you’ll need to click over to the “Upload Files” pane.

Once inside your computer, select the files you’d like and upload them. 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.


Selecting Files

Once the files are uploaded, you will automatically be switched over to the Media Library pane where you’ll have access to both those newly uploaded files and all the other files in your library. The files you’ve just uploaded will already be selected, however.

In addition, you have the choice of showing only the files uploaded to that particular post by using the pull-down menu in the top left corner.

Adding Files from the Media Library

If you would like to add more files from the Media Library, then hold down the Ctrl key and select the files individually.

If you’d like to select a range of more files at the same time, hold down the Ctrl key and select the first one in the range, and then hold down the Shift key and select the last file in the range.

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Adding Meta Information

When an image is selected and active, you will see that it has a blue border around it. You will also see the image on the right hand side. You can add meta information and captions in this area.

Create a Gallery

In order to create a gallery from the selected images, you will need to click the link in the upper left portion of the screen that says, “Create Gallery.”

Once you do this, you will see a new button in the bottom right hand corner of the screen that says, “Create a new gallery.” Click that.

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Style Gallery as You Like

Once you create your gallery, you will be taken to a screen where you can style it as you like.

You can drag and drop the images to reorder them.

You can reverse the order that all the images are currently in with a button in the upper right hand corner.

On the far right hand side, you can also set links on the images to go to an attachment page (like a regular page on yours site) or an image file (a blank page with only the image and nothing else – no header, no sidebar, etc.).

You can also set the number of columns for the gallery and choose to have the images ordered randomly.

Inserting the Gallery

Once you’re happy with everything, hit the “Insert gallery” button in the bottom right hand corner.

Once you insert your gallery, you will see a large icon for it appear in your editor. You will not see any of your actual images in the editor – only this icon.

From there, just publish your post.

Editing the Gallery

If you’d like to edit the gallery, click on the gallery icon to select it. When you do this, two icons will appear in the upper left portion of it. Clicking the one on the left will let you edit the gallery.

And those are the basics of creating a gallery. If you’ve worked with the old WordPress gallery, then you can probably already see what an improvement this new 3.5 version brings. Nice work, WP crew.

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Comments (33)

  1. Are you using a gallery plugin here? When I insert a gallery the post editor doesn’t show the ‘gallery icon’. It shows the actual shortcode in the editor and there’s no way to go back and edit the gallery after you’ve updated the post.

    • Hi Greg – No, no plugin. Make sure that you are NOT in the “Text” view of your editor if you want to see the icon. (The shortcode only appears in the “Text” view.) You should be in the “Visual” view. If you don’t see a “Visual” view, then you’re having some other kind of issues with your editor.

  2. Is there a way to batch delete a number of images from a gallery or from the media centre? For example: if i shift-click and select 50 images, i can’t see any way to delete all the images at once. I can only delete each one individually.

    • Hi – There doesn’t seem to be a way to delete multiple images through the visual editor; however, if you look at the shortcode of the gallery in the “Text” view on your editor, you will see that all the images are listed there by their IDs. You could simply go in and wipe out the IDs in that space, and that would do it.

      • Thanks. That works if i want to clear the gallery but not if i want to permanently delete those images. Looks like you still have to do it one at a time like before. It’s a great improvement on before. A lot easier to move images about.

    • mrahmadawais – You can copy the shortcode and put it in the new post.

      There should be another way too (by including the gallery id), but that functionality has disappeared — at least for the current time. I will contact WordPress developers to see if it will be coming back soon.

    • Hi – I’m guessing you can control you captions in your CSS file; however, your example looks a little strange because they seem to be just slightly off. So there may be something else going on. You might try contacting the author of your theme.

  3. Hi, many thanks for this.
    Is there a way to paginate a gallery, so it shows 8 images on the first page, 12 on the next, 12 on the next, etc? (Previously I used the Cleaner Gallery plugin to do this, but it’s not operating correctly with the new galleries.) Many thanks.

  4. Thanks Joe. I’ve written a note to Cleaner Gallery author and hopefully they can help.
    The other thing I’d like is to for new image uploads to be attached to a page or post by default. This new method seems to require extra clicks so it seems rather clunky in that respect. Just wondering if you know of any work arounds for that?

    • Vicki — I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but I know that the core developers are aware that the images in a gallery don’t get attached to a post. It’s an issue that a few different people have reported. That method has a number of drawbacks, so I hope they change it as well.

  5. Hi! I have been trying to tinker with the 3.5 Media Manager as well. There are two things that caught my eye. First, when there is no featured image explicitly set to the post, the first image of the gallery is being taken as the featured image, and I cannot seem to turn it off. Second, if instead of captioning the photographs one by one, I wish to caption the whole gallery once and for all, there is no option to do that. Are there any workarounds for these? If yes, please let me know!

  6. Hi Joe. Nice article. I have a problem though. When I go to “post” and I try to create a gallery I can’t upload any images no matter how big or small they are. It just says error, and when I ignore the error nothing happens. I don’t know why this is. I got the same problem on two blogs. One of the blogs has pagelines, but it shouldn’t be a problem. Do you have any expert tips?

    Best regards

    • Judith – Not sure why that’s happening, but if you click the media uploader button again, you should be able to edit the gallery that way.

      Your other problem shouldn’t be happening, however. You might try closing out of your site and going back in. (Maybe your browser too.)

      You might also try deactivating all of your plugins to see if something is conflicting.

  7. thanks! looks like something was conflicting…maybe slideshow…not sure…i deactivating a few things all at once (I know, not the way to handle troubleshooting, but I’ll reactivate one at a time if I need them!)

    thank you again for your amazingly prompt response!

  8. I’ve been trying to use the improved WordPress Gallery, which is awesome, but I’ve notice a serious problem.

    On the initial creation everything is perfect, but 90% of the time if I go back in and edit the gallery the changes aren’t kept. This applies to both adding, removing, and rearranging images.

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    • Emily – I haven’t noticed that in my tests. There may be a plugin that’s conflicting with the gallery. Or maybe something in your theme is conflicting. Have you tested doing it without plugins activated or on a different theme? (maybe on a test site)

  9. Hi Joe!

    Thanks a lot for this great tutorial and congratulation!

    I just updated the new WP version and I could see an important difference in the gallery use.
    My theme’s home page shows a picture from the gallery of each post. With the old version of the gallery I was able to put a number on each picture and make the order in the gallery as I wanted. The picture that appeared automatically on my home was the one with the number 1.
    With this new version, even though I move my best picture to the first position it does not appear in the home page.

    I hope I explained myself… I think you should see my home page to better understand: http://www.coffeeandbrunchbcn.com.
    In the Spanish version, as I updated the gallery before updating WP, the home page shows the picture I want to…

    Thanks a lot for your help!

    • Claudia – I think if you make the photo you want to appear on the home page the “featured image” in the post (bottom right corner in your editor), then that will probably work. That’s my guess anyway.

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