By default, WordPress adds media items to your Media Library in the order they are uploaded. This means that the first files you add appear at the bottom and the newest files added will appear at the top of your list, or grid. Since the Media Library includes images, audio files, videos and documents, it can quickly become to difficult to locate a specific file, when you need to find it. WordPress allows you to filter your library view by these general file types by (images or audio, for example), but you still often have to search through long lists of files.

By creating and using Media Categories, you are able to more easily search for related files within a narrower context.

For example, you may create a category called “Staff Images”. As you add pictures of your directors, teachers or personnel, assign their images to the “Staff Images” category. Then, when browsing your Media Library to find someone’s picture, narrow your search to only “Staff Images”, to filter out other images, audio clips and documents.

Consider these other possible Media Categories:

  • Staff Images
  • Performance Pictures (plus year or month/year)
  • Activity Pictures (plus year or month/year)
  • Concert Recordings
  • Audio Clips
  • Permission Forms
  • Handbooks
  • Letters to Parents
  • Advertiser Information Forms

Create as many categories and sub-categories as needed to help keep your Media Library well organized.

Creating Media Categories

To create a Media Category, do the following:

  1. From your Dashboard, navigate to Media >Media Categories
  2. Enter the Name of your new category in the Name field
  3. Optionally enter a Slug. The “slug” is the URL-friendly version of the name. It is usually all lowercase and contains only letters, numbers, and hyphens. If you skip this step, WordPress will create a slug for you.
  4. Optionally select a Parent Media Category. For example, you may create a category called “Performances” and create child categories such as “Concerts”, “Competitions”, or different child categories for different years.
  5. Optionally enter a Description. The description will not display anywhere on your site, but can help distinguish Media Categories.
  6. Click the Add New Media Category button.

You can re-sort Media Categories by clicking, dragging and dropping the name block to a new position in the stacking list.

Media Categories may be renamed at any time and media files will remain assigned to the category with the new name.

To edit or rename a Media Category, do the following:

  1. From your Dashboard, navigate to Media > Media Categories
  2. Hover over the name of the category in the list and click the Edit link.
  3. Rename the Category as desired. You should also rename the “slug” to match your new name.
  4. You can also edit other details here, such as the Parent Category, if any, or the description.
  5. Click the Update button to save your changes

Assigning Media to Categories

To assign a media file to a Media Category, do the following:

  1. From your Dashboard, navigate to Media or Media > Library.
  2. In List View, hover over the media file name and click the Edit link. In Grid view, hover over the thumbnail image and click the Pencil icon that appears in the top, right-hand corner.
  3. On the Edit or Details screens that follow, select the Media Category from the available selections. If you are on the Edit screen from the list view, you have the option to add a new Media Category. This option is not available from the Attachment details page accessed via the Grid view.

You can also assign media files to multiple categories of desired. For example, you may create a Media Category called “Performances”, and other categories or sub-categories for each year, or various ensembles. It would make sense then, to assign a performance audio file to several applicable categories, thereby making it easier to view all audio files of performances, but then drill down further to see files for a particular year or ensemble only.

Filtering the Media Library by Category

When viewing the Media Library, in either the Grid or List views, select the category you wish to view from the Filter by Media Categoryy drop down menu, then hit Enter on your keyboard. Your Media Library should display only those media files that match your selection. You can make another selection from the drop down menu to view media files assigned to other categories.

Click the Reset All Filters button to remove the filters and view your entire Media Library again. Filters are automatically disengaged when you navigate away from the Media Library.