Now that my vision is clearing from banging my head against the wall for the last hour I’m going to put this out there for the next poor sap that needs to edit how WordPress Gallery butchers crops thumbnail images.

Here is what I was dealing with:

Wordpress Gallery Thumbnail Crop

So obviously WordPress just crops from the center which can be fine but not what I needed. So HERE is how you fix the the thumbnail crop problem:

  1. Go into your wordpress admin panel
  2. Open up the Media Panel
  3. Then click on Library
  4. Now find the image that you need to adjust the thumbnail for
  5. Hoover near the image and click on “Edit”
  6. Below the image hit the “edit Image” button
  7. Pay attention!! Over to the right under “Thumbnail Settings” make sure to check off the “Thumbnail” radio button. This is all we want to apply our change to. If you don’t do that you’ll edit every version of the image, which will be a pain to fix.
  8. Next, click on the image and drag your mouse. It will make a cropping square. Drag it around and capture the area that you’d like to be the thumbnail. I always make mine as square as possible by hand and then even it out with the “Selection” area. Have a look.

    Wordpress Thumbnail

    Muuuuuch better...

  9. Here comes the amazingly simple but not explained anywhere part. Click on the Crop Tool. That will show you what your new cropped thumbnail looks like. We’re almost done!!
  10. Now click on Save
  11. THEN “Update Media”

Noooow.  Isn’t that better:

Good crop!



31 Responses to Adjusting WordPress Gallery Thumbnail Image Crop

  1. […] the original post: Adjusting WordPress Gallery Thumbnail Image Crop – Web Walker … Share this on: Mixx Delicious Digg Facebook Twitter […]

  2. lisa says:

    Thank you so much for this tip! I had only banged my head against the wall for about 20 minutes when I decided to try googling for help, and I found your simple instructions. You saved me a big headache.


  4. brentwalker500 says:

    Hahah! Glad to be of service!

  5. Thank you! I’ve been uploading a separate thumbnail image because I hadn’t taken the time to figure this out!

  6. brentwalker500 says:

    Oh wow, I bet that was taking a LOT of time!! Glad this worked out for you.

  7. Esther van der Wal says:

    Thanks a lot. That solves a mystery, I’d been clicking and dragging on the image displayed as a thumbnail below Thumbnail Settings to no effect.

    They could, of course, make this a little easier to save us some headaches 😉

  8. holy camoli, thank you. i had been through about 30 different iterations of these steps without stumbling upon the right one. hopefully my hair will grow back after being torn out so horribly.

  9. Web Walker Solutions says:

    Glad to help Esther an Laura

  10. Eleanor says:

    Hi there,

    This is what I have tried to do. I have done it the same way as your instructions but my image doesn’t update. Any ideas?
    Please look at my showcase page.


  11. Web Walker Solutions says:

    get in touch with me through my contact form and we will see what we can do.

  12. DJ says:

    Thank you! I almost figured it out, but didn’t realize the crop of the main picture was the preview of what the thumbnail would look like. I thought it was cropping the primary picture, even with the thumbnail only radio button clicked. After I read your post, I saved the crop with thumbnail only clicked,and voila! I had the thumbnail I wanted.

  13. david says:

    I’ve also been banging my head against the wall for the best part of a day and haven’t been able to get this to work, been doing the same as you described above. One question, is it important to use the native wordpress gallery? ’cause I’m using the Photospace plugin could this be a problem. Thanks for any help – the wall’s beginning to crack!

  14. Web Walker Solutions says:

    Hi David, I’m not familiar with the Photospace plugin but one way to be sure you’re doing it the right way is to deactivate the plugin.. try the solution and then see if it’s working.

  15. Ky says:

    Hi there, I was really hoping this would work for me because I’ve been looking everywhere for how to crop the thumbnail. I tried your instructions for two thumbnails that show up on my homepage, and it doesn’t seem to work. I am using an Elegant Themes template…does that have something to do with it? ET used to use timthumbs for cropping but there was a virus issue with that feature, so now we’re left with nothing (as far as I know).

  16. Web Walker Solutions says:

    I’ve used this successfully with one of the Elegant Themes so Tim Thumb isn’t the problem. I will hit you up through email and see if we can work through it.

  17. Andrew says:

    Same problem. I can get the thumbnail to update in the Media Library but not within the post. I’m also using an ElegantThemes theme so appreciate your help. The original step by step instructions was brilliant.

  18. Web Walker Solutions says:

    Andrew, when I spoke with Ky and looked at his screen it showed that he was using the image on the homepage “slider” and for whatever reason the image centering as I’ve explained it doesn’t apply in that slider. It still works in galleries, which is what I wrote the instructions for. Hope that helps and if you find a solution for ET then please post it back here in the comments. Thanks.

  19. Nicole says:

    Hello, I’m trying to edit my thumbnail and I am on the same screen that you showed up above, but for some reason one of my images does not have the thumbnails settings as shown. They appear on my other photos but not for the one that I need. Any solutions?

  20. Kirsty says:

    You are a lifesaver! Have made do for months now with bad crops…

  21. Web Walker Solutions says:

    Glad to help Kirsty

  22. Ed Power says:

    Hello, I’ve tried to do this, but it has no effect for me – the thumbnail is on this page:

    and I’d like the thumbnail to show the head and shoulders of the image but it just does not work, even though I can see the amended image in the media library.

    any help you could offer would be gratefully recieved.


  23. Bruce says:

    Dude, you are the man!!…. thanks for this tip, so simple… but close to impossible to figure out!

  24. @rantonette says:

    Ah …… thanks for this. Step #9 was definitely the problem.

  25. Bogdan says:

    Thank you so much, just what I was looking for – no more ugly thumbnails!

  26. Marv Eisen says:

    I found that I needed to hold down the shift key while dragging the crop area. Otherwise, the crop button wouldn’t activate. After following the advice on this blog, together with the holding the shift key, it worked like a charm. Thanks for this post.

  27. Garnetta says:

    THANK YOU! I can’t believe how many pages I’ve visited trying to find the answer to this and I almost gave up. Then I found your explanation and the sun emerged from the clouds!

  28. Flo says:


  29. Thanks for the tip. I have used your steps, but when i add images to the wp gallery the still come in as centered wp thumbnails. What am I doing wrong? Thanks

  30. PSPerkins says:

    This can also be done with a line of code in functions.php and the “Regenerate Thumbnails” plugin – if you have a ton of images that need this treatment it might be faster to go that route.

    `update_option(‘thumbnail_crop’, false);`

    <– that sets the crop mode

    Then run the regenerate thumbnails plugin on images and it's done.

    Thanks for the gui solution though, good to know where that is.

  31. Chris says:

    OMG – you are a hero – wasted half a day trying a bunch of plugins that didn’t work and the (basic) functionality was there all along – thank you again.

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