Post Thumbnails / Featured Images

With 2.9, the WordPress crew introduced a much needed functionality that extends the landmark blogging platform around the moon and back.

Post Thumbnails (or featured images) allow a post or page to be associated with a particular image, and to display that image dynamically. It doesn’t necessarily refer to only a thumbnail, but can be used for images of any size.

Post Thumbnails has been available as a plugin for a while, but for most of us, we’ve been adding images as per normal and displaying them in their full clunky glory all over the blog.

When to use Post Thumbnails

The following situations make Post Thumbnail a very useful function…

  • You want to display images with excerpts on your blog page
  • You want to display a post excerpt with a smaller image on the blog page, but a larger image on the post’s page.
  • You want to display uniform images to the left or right of your page title and content, for that professional look (or even behind the title or some other fancy effect, like on this blog).

Enabling Post Thumbnails

They’re not available by default – your theme must support them before you can start adding images.  Contact me for quote on this.

Setting the Image / Thumbnail

When writing or editing a post, under the category selection box is the Post Thumbnail (or Featured Image) selection box, as seen on the right.

Clicking that link opens the same dialog as add image does. You can either add a new image, or use the gallery or library to browse those already uploaded. When you’ve got the one you like, select “set as thumbnail,” or “use as featued image.”

When you set a post thumbnail, the image will be resized to these specific sizes (in addition to WordPress’s default thumbnail, medium and large), so there is no “on the fly” resizing which slows up your site.

For the WordPress Geeks

Here’s the detailed info on setting up Post Thumbnails, but only if you’re comfortable with php and know how to backup / rescue your WordPress installation.

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