WordPress’ built-in Image Editing tool allows you to make some rudimentary, but often very useful, edits to images that you have uploaded to your Media Library. Unless you are a designer, you probably don’t have access  to tools like Photoshop, and you will sometimes need to crop or resize an image to make it work better on your pages.

To edit an image inside of WordPress that you have already added to your Media Library, do the following:

  1. From your Dashboard, navigate to Media > Library
  2. Locate the image that you would like to Edit. Hover over the image’s row and click the Edit link.
  3. The Edit Media screen allows you to edit the data fields for a file within the Media Library. The data fields include an optional Caption, Alternative Text and Description. Make any changes to these fields as desired.
  4. For editing the image itself click on Edit Image under the image preview to open the image editor with icons for cropping, rotating, or flipping the image as well as for undoing and redoing. The boxes on the right give you more options for numerically Scaling the image, for Cropping it using an aspect ratio, and for altering the Thumbnail Setting in a different way than you crop the original image. You can click on the Help Icons (?) in those boxes to get more information.

Image Cropping

To Crop an image with the Cropping Tool, do the following:

  1. Click on your image and drag a cropping frame to select the desired portion.
  2. Use the handles to fine tune your selection.
  3. Note that the numbers in the Image Crop Selection box reflect your current selection. You can alter these numeric values to further fine tune your selection.
  4. Click and hold you mouse in the middle of your highlighted selection to move your selection to a different part of your image.
  5. Click the Crop tool to perform the cropping action
  6. Click the Save button.
  7. Click the Update button to save ALL changes you have made to your image (including Caption, Alternative Text and/or Description)

Image Crop Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio is the relationship between the width and height. You can preserve the aspect ratio by holding down the shift key while resizing your selection. Use the Aspect Ratio input box to specify the aspect ratio, e.g. 1:1 (square), 4:3, 16:9, etc.

Thumbnail Settings

Thimbnail images are used in Post Archive pages, your News feed on your home page and a few other areas, including your Admin. When you are editing an image, you can apply your changes ONLY to the thumbnail image if you wish. Sometimes this makes sense, especially if the automatic cropping that WordPress does, leaves your thumbnail with a poor composition. For example, WordPress crops your thumbnail to a square image, slicing off the tops or sides of your original image. If your original image composition has the primary subject off to one side or the other, or is more towards the top of the image (like a person’s portrait might be), then your thumbnail might crop off something important, like the top of someone’s head! You can correct this by editing your image as outlined above, then selecting the Thumbnail option in the Thumbnail Settings box.

Conversely, you can alter all other images EXCEPT the thumbnail, by selecting the All sizes except thumbnail option

You can replace an existing file with a new one by clicking Replace Media. Simply upload a new file (of the same file type) to replace the old one, or replace the file and update the file name and all links to it.

Remember to click Update to save what you have entered or changed.

Restoring Original Image

If you have made changes to your image that you aren’t happy with, you can click Restore Image in the Restore Original Image box. This action discards any changes and restores your original image. Previously edited copies of the image will not be deleted.