How To: Add a Photo Gallery to WordPress – NextGEN Plugin

If you are an artist or designer or simply someone who wishes to display photos on their blog then the NextGEN plugin is a great full-featured system you can use. It’s fairly simple to setup and has a powerfull back-end admin panel. In this tutorial we will look at how to install and configure it.

Using the NextGEN Photo Gallery Plugin

The NextGEN Gallery plugin is perhaps the most popular WordPress plugin when it comes to creating a photo gallery. The plugin itself is fairly simple to use, and thus we will only be rounding up the interface to have a proper idea of the functioning:

First up, you will need to download and install the plugin. NextGEN also has several add-on plugins, that further enhance its capabilities, but for now we will leave those till later.

Add a Gallery

Once installed, you’ll see a new tab in the Admin back end, namely ‘Gallery’. The overview contains some info and links about the plugin, so to get working, click Gallery –> Add Gallery/Images.

You can then either create a new gallery from scratch, or upload a ZIP file (alternatively, specify the URL to the ZIP file), or even specify an image folder on your server. Once you’ve created a new gallery either by specifying a name or uploading files, its time to further tweak it! In the subsequent sections, you can specify the Albums, Tags and other basic features of the gallery.

General Options

The most important section of the plugin back end is the Gallery –> Options page. In the General Options tab, you can specify the Gallery Path, activate Permalinks and tweak other basic features.

Gallery Options

In the Gallery Tab, you can specify the effects and other features of your Gallery, such as the number of images and columns, slideshows and thumbnails as well as sorting. By default, AJAX pagination is turned off. I’d personally prefer using my Gallery with AJAX on.

Photo Effects & Watermarks

In the next two tabs, you can specify the photo effects and watermark options for images. Watermarking can be done either be using an image as watermark or text.


The last tab deals with settings about the Slideshow and the JW Image Rotator. You can also specify the slideshow duration and transition settings.

CSS Style Editor

The Gallery –> Style page lets you modify the Style sheets associated with your gallery.

Apart from the above, the other pages of the plugin back end let you edit user roles and privileges with respect to the plugin. Finally, you can reset or remove the plugin from the Gallery –> Reset/Uninstall page.

With that, we’re done with our round-up of the NextGEN Gallery Plugin. However, as they say, why use a sword when a needle will suffice (or something like that)! On a similar tone, lets turn our attention to an alternative of the gallery plugins altogether.

Using the [ gallery ] short code:

WordPress also comes with an in-built shortcode for embedding galleries into posts and pages. The short code is [ gallery ]. This is a fairly simple and easy to use feature, yet is not so well known.

Before using the [ gallery ] short code, upload or insert all the images to the post or page, but ensure that you click ‘Save all Changes’, rather than ‘Insert into Post’. Once done, enter the [ gallery ] short code and that’s it! After you publish it, the given post or page will have an embedded gallery into it.

However, the [ gallery ] short code has more to it. Following are the additional parameters that you can specify:

By default, [ gallery ] will display thumbnails. You can specify whether you want it to display images at medium or large size.

[php][ gallery size=”large” ][/php]

Note that ‘thumbnail’, ‘medium’ and ‘large’ are relative to the values or sizes specified on the Settings –> Media page.

[ gallery ] displays images attached to the current post by default. If however, you’d prefer to pull images from another post, you can specify the post ID as follows:

[php][ gallery id=”111” ][/php]

This shall display the images attached to the post with ID 111.

[ gallery ] shows 3 columns by default. You can change it as follows:

[php][ gallery columns=”2” ][/php]

While specifying a larger number of columns, make sure you have the width dimensions of your template in mind.

In order to sort the display manner of images in the gallery, you can employ order and order by parameters, as follows:

[php][ gallery order=”ASC” orderby=”ID” ][/php]

This shall sort the images in an ascending manner on the basis of ID.

And of course, you can combine most of the above options to form custom commands. To know more about the short code and its parameters, you can check out the WordPress Codex.

As you can see, adding a gallery to your blog isn’t so tough, after all!

Sufyan bin Uzayr

Sufyan bin Uzayr

Writer; web dev; published author; coffee lover. Learn more here.

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