Is an unruly WordPress Media Library getting you down? The WordPress Media Library is great in the moment, but once you upload something, it’s easy for that file to disappear down the rabbit hole.
So if you, at a later date, want to find that file, you better hope you can remember what the file name is. Or, you could try actually organizing your WordPress Media Library with the same types of folders you use in your offline life.
In my Real Media Library review, I’ll show you how you can use this premium, but affordable, plugin to do just that. Real Media Library has an impressive 4.85-star rating on over 4,200 sales at Code Canyon, so I’m excited to dig in and see what this plugin can do.
Real Media Library Features
In a nutshell, Real Media Library adds folders and categories to the native WordPress Media library to make it easier for you to wrangle all of the files you keep there.
Here are all the ways in which it helps you do that:
- Drag and drop files wherever you need them
- Create, rename, delete, or reorder folders as needed
- Create shortcuts to quickly access important files
- Filter files when using the normal Insert Media interface in the WordPress Editor
- Drag and drop file upload system
- Upload files directly to folder (no need for post-upload organizing)
- Create a gallery directly from an image folder
Who Is Real Media Library For?
I’d say pretty much anyone who’s making heavy use of their Media Library could benefit from Real Media Library. But because of the easy image gallery features, I think it’s especially beneficial for people who work with lots of images and image galleries.
Hands On With Real Media Library
Ok, this is the part where I actually install the plugin on my test site and give you a hands-on look at how it works.
Once you install and activate the plugin, it just starts working right away. Nothing to configure - you just head to your normal Media Library tab and you’ll see a nice prompt telling you to add your first folder.
One thing that I immediately noticed is that the plugin is really well designed from a user experience perspective. It immediately told me what I needed to do first. And whenever you hover over a button, there’s a helpful tooltip that appears to let you know what the button does.
Because icon-based interfaces can be a little confusing sometimes, this guiding hand was much appreciated.
Adding a Folder to the WordPress Media Library
Ok - I’m a team player so I’m going to follow the plugin’s instructions to create a new folder. All you do is click the button, give your folder a name, and then you’ll see it in the sidebar:
To move files into that folder, all you need to do is drag them over. It basically works exactly like files and folders interact on your operating system. You can also use Bulk Select to select multiple files to move at one time.
If you want to nest folders within one another, all you need to do is click on the new folder button while inside your folder. And you can always change how folders are re-arranged by clicking on the up/down arrow icon:
Sorting Your Media Folders
One area where Real Media Library falls a little flat is sorting and filtering options. Some other plugins I’ve tested gave a bevy of options, where Real Media Library only gives you a few.
That being said, you still have some new options.
First off, you can choose how you want files to be sorted for each individual folder:
And you can also still use the normal filters for media type and date:
Using Real Media Library in the WordPress Editor
Here’s something I really like - when you use the normal Insert Media button in your WordPress posts, you’ll still be able to see your folders:
This makes it super simple to find an image you’ve already uploaded.
And if you need to upload a new file through the Insert Media interface, you can actually upload that file straight to a folder, which will definitely save you some time you would’ve otherwise spent organizing the file after you uploaded it:
Using Real Media Library to Create Galleries
As I mentioned in the feature list, you can actually use Real Media Library to create an image gallery straight from all of the images in a folder.
You have to first create a new Collection folder and then you can create a new Gallery Data folder inside that collection. But you don’t see the Gallery Data folder option until after you’ve created a Collection and are inside it, which I found a little confusing:
Once you do that, you can use the shortcode builder inside the WordPress Editor to quickly build a new gallery:
Then, on the front-end, you’ll see your gallery:
Real Media Library Extensibility
Another nice thing about the plugin is that it’s extensible to work with other plugins.
Currently, Real Media Library integrates fully with the popular Justified Image Grid plugin. And the developer has also created an API for other developers to hook up with Real Media Library.
He also invites other developers to contact him via Slack about even closer integration.
Real Media Library Cost and Documentation
Real Media Library is for sale at Code Canyon, which means you’ll get standard Envato Licensing on your purchase.
The plugin itself costs $24, which I think is quite fair given what some other Media Library folder plugins go for.
As for documentation...it could be better. As I said, most of the plugin is well-documented inside the interface. But I really struggled to figure out how to create a gallery folder. And it would have been much easier for me to solve if there were some detailed written documentation about it instead of a vague reference inside a short FAQ page.
Wrapping Things Up
The only two areas where I really ding Real Media Library’s functionality compared to other Media Library plugins are:
- No FTP sync
- It lacks detailed filtering options
Other than that, it’s very pleasant to use. And I love that you can access your folders directly inside the Insert Media area.
If you need WordPress Media Library folders, it’s definitely up there at the top of the list.