Crop Thumbnails or Featured Images in WordPress

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Most newer WordPress themes have a few sizes for the Thumbnail or Featured image. This allows the image to be displayed in various sizes with a post excerpt in archive lists, recent or featured posts lists, and home page.

canadian bed breakfast featured image

While WordPress does a great job of automatically cropping images for the additional thumbnail sizes, you may want to customize the crop area for each featured image size to include with your post.

The Crop-Thumbnails plugin makes it easy to crop all your featured image sizes.

Crop-Thumbnails Settings

Once you install Crop-Thumbnails from the WordPress plugins repository, you can get to the plugin settings page from your Admin menu. Click Settings > Crop-Thumbnails.

crop-thumbnails settings

On the settings page you will see all your post and page types, including custom post types. You can choose to make some thumbnail crop sizes unavailable on certain post types. For instance, in my theme, I don’t need to choose a crop size of portfolio-image on my posts and pages; that size is only used on my portfolio pages (which is listed farther down the Crop-Thumbnails Settings screen). And I only use the smallest image size for posts, so I don’t show it on pages.

Using Crop-Thumbnails

A text link is added to each image in the Media > Library, so that you can crop your images directly.

A Crop Thumbnails text link is added to the top of your WordPress editor screen next to the Add Media button. You can use this link to crop any of the images uploaded to the post. You will want to experiment with cropping post images yourself.

A button is added to the Featured Image section in the sidebar of your editor screen, so that you can crop all your featured image sizes at one time.

To Crop a Featured Image

crop featured image button

I use this plugin on client sites to make it easy for them to choose the crop for Featured Images, especially those used on the home page. Here’s how:

  1. Add a featured image to your post as usual.
  2. There is a Crop Featured image button below the image. Click it.

You are now at the screen used to set the crop location for your thumbnail or featured image sizes.

crop thumbnails screen image

You will note in the images on the right that for my square thumbnails, the “thumbnails’ and the “amethyst-smallest-image-size” that the sign “Bed and Breakfast” is cut off. I want that to be included in my thumbnail crop. So this is what I did:

  1. Click the image on the right.
  2. It will now have a blue background, and will also appear on the left with the current crop outlined.
  3. Click in the center of the outline and move it where you want to crop.
  4. Click the “save crop” button when you’re finished.

Just follow the screen instructions, and be sure to click the “save crop” button when you’re finished. You will see the new crop that you selected replace the image on the right. Then you can choose the next image size and do the same thing.

It takes longer to explain how to do this than to actually do it. So have some fun choosing the exact crop for your featured images!

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photo of Marcy Diaz who owns Amethyst Website Design


4 responses to “Crop Thumbnails or Featured Images in WordPress”

  1. Santiago Avatar

    It is possible to do this without a plugin? Thank you.

    1. Marcy Diaz Avatar

      You need the plugin to crop to the exact size of the images in your theme. The plugin never loads on the front end; it’s just to help you in the back end. You can free crop your images, but getting theme image sizes is more time consuming that way.

  2. Dagmara Kokonas Avatar

    I installed this and there are only three pre-set image sizes, nothing else.

    1. Marcy Diaz Avatar

      This plugin only helps to select the part of the image for different image sizes added by either the theme or WordPress. It does what it’s meant to do extremely well.

      It does not add additional image sizes. You would need a different plugin for that.

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