Adding images to a gallery from the Media Library

What’s the difference between WordPress’s Media Library and the images I uploaded to posts and pages? Why can’t I add images from the Media Library to galleries in my posts and pages? WP expert Otto explains it like this:

The “gallery” feature is tied to a specific Post. All the images uploaded through the post editor become that specific Post’s gallery. If you upload them through the media section, then they cannot be in a gallery.

Don’t think of a gallery as some separate entity, because it’s not. A “gallery” is simply a bunch of images that are attached to some specific Post. It’s not some thing that you can move images in and out of, it’s not like a photo album or something.

WordPress really has no support for image groupings, albums, or anything similar. The gallery feature merely shows all images that are attached to a specific Post.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to upload all of my images to the Media Library then associate them with whatever post or page as needed, rather than re-upload the same images again and again to each post/page? I’ve had a few clients with this problem exactly, and it’s hard to explain why this doesn’t work. But there is a workaround for adding images to galleries using the gallery shortcode. Once you have uploaded your image to the Media Library, view the image and get it’s id from the URL:

Then go to the HTML view of your post/page editor. Add this, replacing the numbers with the ids of you chosen images:

The gallery shortcode can manipulate any aspect of the gallery, including it’s size, number of columns, position on the page, and the order of the images. Take a look at these other features in the Codex.

Big thanks to Amelie who posted this tip in the comments here at the WPFolio Wiki!

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  1. Posted February 12, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    what about the Nextgen plugin?

    • Posted February 12, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      you don’t need it.

  2. Posted March 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Hi there!
    I can’t seem to find where the attachment id is for images–they seem to only have the original filename.
    Any suggestions?
    Thank you, Joanna

    • Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Go to the image’s page. If you’re in the gallery, you’ll see a box for “Link image to” (or something similar) and choose Attachment. The URL will look like the one I marked in the photo above.

  3. Posted March 21, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    There’s also a plugin for unattaching files from a post so you can attach them to another in Media:
    link to

  4. Posted June 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    And how does one center image columns in a gallery? I have tried the toolbox in the visual editor and code [align=”center”], both to no avail. Any suggestions?

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