Understand how to use the WordPress.com media library to manage images, audio files, and documents for your site. You can upload files in bulk from your computer or add an image from a URL. Make your content more engaging with images. Learn how to caption images and provide alternate text for non-visual readers.
- [Voiceover] The WordPress media library contains all the files you've previously uploaded to your WordPress site. Images, audio, video, and other files. And it gives you the ability to upload new media. The WordPress media library supports a variety of file types, including common image types, like JPEGs and GIFs, and common document formats, such as PDF or Word Docs. Note that the media library also supports video file types, but you can only host videos if you're using the premium or business plan.
We'll talk a lot more about videos in a separate movie. Now how do you get to the media gallery? Well, you can access the media gallery from any individual post or page. For this example I'm gonna create a new post. From the editor toolbar all I have to do is click this image icon and that opens up the media gallery. Our default view shows us thumbnails of all the files previously uploaded to this site. I've already got some sample images here from the content import I performed earlier. Once you've had your site a while and consistently added new posts with images you can image this list could grow pretty unwieldy.
To help you with that WordPress gives you the ability to search for an image. You can also adjust your view to looking at just images or just documents, of which I don't have any yet. To do that just click these tabs along the top. One other nice feature is that you can adjust the thumbnail preview size to make either the images larger and easier to see or smaller and easier to take in a whole lot of images at a glance. Thanks WordPress. To continue our tour of the media library you'll note that there's a little space indicator in the corner here.
How much space you have available to store uploaded media depends on which wordpress.com plan you're on. Their free plan that I'm on gives me up to three gigabytes, which is actually a fair amount of space if you're optimizing your images for the web. That said, if you're a photographer or you have a site that otherwise requires more space you need to look into upgrading your plan. At any rate this is a nice visual indicator of how much space I've got left. At the moment there's plenty. So what else can you do in the media library? Of course you can add new files, I'll show you that later, but you can also edit and delete files.
Deleting files is simple enough. You can select any individual file and then click the delete button. You can also select multiple files by holding down the Control key if you're on a PC or the Command key if you're on a Mac while clicking on the files. A few words of caution here about deleting. When you delete a file from the media library it's gone. It's not hanging out in a trashcan somewhere waiting for you to delete it permanently. It's gone from your site for good once you delete it. Secondly, if you're using one of these images on your site somewhere, say on a post or maybe your homepage and you delete it from the media library it's also gone.
You won't see it on that post or homepage anymore. Lastly, and I know we haven't talked yet about having other users on your site, but other users can also upload media while writing a post or a page. So if you see a file in the media library that you don't recall uploading don't delete it until you confirm that someone else isn't using it. The best way to keep your media library clean of unwanted or unneeded images is to delete them as soon as you realize you don't need them. For instance, sometimes when I'm creating a post on my blog I'll upload multiple images just to try them out and see how they look in context.
By the time I've published the post there may be uploaded images I've decided not to use. That's when I delete them from the media library, when it's fresh on my mind and I know for sure that image isn't being used elsewhere. So that's deleting. You can also edit some information about the files from within the media library by selecting any file and then clicking the edit button. That brings up a window that includes the image and some additional info, including the file name, the file type, and the image dimensions. None of which can be changed, since that's actual file data.
We can also see the upload date. What we can edit here is the image caption, the alt text, and the description. Let's talk a little bit about each of these. First we have the caption, which is an optional field. This is the caption that would appear underneath the image when it's displayed on your site. Next you have the alt or alternative text. Now the alt text is interesting, because what you enter here really depends on what role the image plays. The simple rule is this, if the image contains text or some other important data the alt text should be that text.
If the image has some information relevant to the content in the article, say a photo of a person, the alt text should describe the image. If the image is just a link to another page the alt text should describe where that link is going. And finally, if the image has no functional value and is purely decoration the alt text field should be left empty. Why do I mention all these finer points about alt text? Well, alt text plays a very important role for images. It enables people using a text-to-speech browser to understand the image even if they can't see it.
It also lets Google and other search engines understand your image, because search robots definitely can't see. The last field we can edit is the description. In most cases this isn't a field you'll use, as that information is only seen if you have a theme that supports attachment pages. Honestly, I don't bother with this field. Lastly we have the URL or where this image lives. If you'd like to share just the location of this image you can copy that, it's on your clipboard now, and then you could paste it to send in an email or share on the web.
Now that I've made my edit I'm gonna click this link to go back to the media library page. We'll cover how to add new images to your post or pages soon.
- Creating a WordPress.com account
- Updating your profile
- Importing content
- Publishing posts
- Applying categories and tags to posts
- Inserting images, videos, and other media
- Creating a new page
- Customizing your site with themes and widgets
- Managing users, notifications, and comments
- Using WordPress.com apps
- The limits of WordPress.com and the benefits of self-hosting