Using A Single Image as a Gallery Portal

This post was updated on 8 August 2014

Perhaps you’d like to have a single image act as a focal point for your writing but still be able to display more images without having to insert an entire Gallery’s worth of photos in your Post. Even at thumbnail size, having many images can potentially overwhelm your written content. You could, of course, use a Slideshow instead of a Gallery. However, in its present form the Slideshow spans the full width of your theme’s content area which can be distracting as well.

So how can you make a single image act as an entry to a gallery of images? It’s simple, but it also has some serious limitations compared to the usual way of creating a Gallery.

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The “Why” and the “How”: When you upload your images together to a single post or page, they become attached to that post or page. You can use this characteristic to create a portal while still only inserting a single image in your post.

To create your focal point image, click the “Add Media” button and upload all your images together to the post or page where they are to appear. After uploading the Media Handler will automatically select all the images you just uploaded. Uncheck everything except the first image uploaded that will be used as the gallery portal image. Insert that image in your post as a regular image and in the “Attachment Display Settings: Link to” field select “Attachment Page.” Now clicking on that image in your Post will take your visitor to the Attachment page and they can then browse all the images uploaded using the previous and next buttons there.

Some points to consider:

  • Not all themes, especially WPcom’s newer themes, include navigation links on Attachment Pages. In order to use this “focal point” technique, test first that the theme you are using does include them.
  • Before you upload your image files, you will want to name them in a way that they will then later display the Attachment pages in the order you want them to appear.  In my example I’ve given all my image files the same name (galleryportal), but have appended each name with a number, 01-04. Once uploaded, the image Title field of each image will automatically be filled in with the same name as the image file itself. You can later change the image Title field to something more suitable and, regardless, the file name itself will remain the same as when uploaded and the display order maintained.
  • It is essential that the images used to create this portal are uploaded together in the Post or Page where you wish them to appear.
  • Rearranging images in the Media Handler window after upload does not change the order of Attachment page display.
  • The Photo Carousel will not display when using this technique.
  • Every image uploaded in the Post or Page is displayed in the portal, unless you delete the image from the Media Library.

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Published by JenT

A long-time lover of all things WordPressdotcom (and coffee!), when not herding cats, I can usually be found on one of my 6 blogs, spelunking in the Support documents or helping out in the Community forums.