This is an archival/legacy post on creating a Gallery in the Calypso dashboard. No further updates will be made to this post nor will I be writing a similar post following the changes brought about by the new Gutenberg/Block Editor.
When WordPress.com introduced the latest version of the New Dashboard’s Post/Page Editor in late 2015, working with the Gallery feature was completely re-imagined. It was also revealed to the community that the changes we’ve experienced on WordPress.com over the last two years were due to the new motor under the hood (aka Calypso). This is the “New Blue” Dashboard users arrive at when logging in from the WordPress.com home page. If you regularly use the WP Admin Dashboard on your site and/or want to dig deeper into the Gallery feature and what it can do, you’ll want to read my original “Not the WordPress.com Gallery FAQ.” What follows is relevant for creating a Gallery in the Calypso dashboard.
First, a definition:
What is a Gallery?
A Gallery is a thumbnail set of images that appears in your Post or Page. Clicking on any thumbnail image will open by default the full screen Photo Carousel viewer with a link to the original image.
Since Calypso’s introduction, many of the posts published with multiple images I’ve seen seem to show that users are not aware they can create a Gallery of photos in their posts. It’s true that the Calypso interface makes inserting multiple individual images very easy, but doing so makes your post a very long scroll for your site visitors and a long page load time if you’re inserting the full size image of each.
ProTip: Check your theme’s image specs so that you aren’t uploading oversized images and eating up your storage space unnecessarily. The added bonus is that page load times speed up considerably when images have smaller pixel dimensions. 1600 pixels wide is a good all-around size also for Featured Images.
Here’s an overview of how to create a Gallery in the Calypso interface. We’ll break down each step after the video.
Give it a Title:
You’ll notice that the first thing WordPress.com suggests when creating a new Post or Page in the Calypso dashboard is to give it a title before doing anything else. That’s great advice because it immediately saves your Post/Page to memory. Don’t worry If you can’t think of your final post title right away, but you should change your Title to the final version before you publish, not after.
Next, place your cursor where you want your Gallery of images to appear and click the “Add Media” button in the tool bar above the Post Editor.
On the following screen you can select or upload the images you wish to include in your Gallery. You can also add images from URL, which uploads the image to your site’s Media Library. If you accidentally select a wrong image, click it again to deselect it. Note: The Gallery feature can only be used with image files (JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG). When adding an image from URL, your image must also end in one of those extensions.
When you’ve finished selecting the images for your Gallery, click on the “Continue” button.
Pick a Layout:
On the next screen, you can preview your selected images both as Individual images, inserted one after the other, and in various Gallery styles. I strongly suggest experimenting to find the layout you like best for your images. Factors that influence Gallery image layout include the ratio of portrait to landscape images you have, as well as the relative image ratio of each image (4:3, 16:9, 1:1, etc.). As you go through the list of possible Gallery styles, in the right sidebar you’ll also see the options under each style change. Here, too, experiment a bit with the options to see what layout works best for your images/theme. You can reorder, add and delete Gallery images by flipping over to the “Edit” tab to do so. Note: One “option” that isn’t listed under the “Link to” drop down menu along with Attachment Page, Media File and None, is the Image Gallery Carousel. That is because it is the default for all Gallery styles. If you want to use the other “Link to” options in your Gallery feature, you first need to disable the Carousel in your site’s Media Settings.
Insert and Preview:
Once you customized your Gallery to your liking, it’s time to click the “insert” button and preview your Gallery in your Post or Page.
In my screenshot above, I chose “Tiled Mosaic” but because all the images I’ve included in the Gallery are portrait orientation, I don’t like the way the resulting Gallery looks in the Post. Fortunately, you can edit the Gallery in your Post Editor after you insert it as well.
Click anywhere on the Gallery images and two icons appear, “Edit” and “Remove.” Clicking on the Edit button brings you back to the Layout screen where you can select and/or rearrange your images in a different layout.
This time I’ve chosen the “Tiled Columns” style, clicked “Update” to update my Gallery settings and returned to my Post Editor screen. Now it’s time to look at the full Preview.
When you click the “Preview” button in the Post Editor, an overlay screen appears with a number of different ways to preview your post. You can select Full Window, which opens the Preview in a separate browser window; Desktop, Tablet and Mobile resize the overlay screen to emulate those devices. Click on the X in the upper left corner of the overlay screen to close it and return to your Post Editor.
If you like what you see and you’ve added all the text to your post, it’s time to Publish!
Wait! Remember when we started about 10 scrolls above, the Post title we gave was a temporary one to get the Post saved to memory. Now’s the time to update the Post title to it’s final version and add all the other features that will get our Post noticed in WordPressdotcom’s Reader, in Publicize and shared on social media. Click each module in the left sidebar to open it and make all your changes as desired. Note: If your theme supports it, in the “Post Format” module you may see an option to publish in Gallery Post Format. This is not the same thing as creating a Gallery feature and affects how your Post is displayed only on the blog front page. You do not need to publish your post in Gallery Post Format for the Gallery feature to show in your Post.
Now it’s time to publish!
Happy Gallery creating, publishing and sharing!
To see all the images in this post displayed as a Gallery, click the Next Page button.