I don’t frequently “plug a plug-in” but I just uncovered one today that I can only classify as absolutely essential and almost life-changing if you live and breathe WordPress… “Additional Image Sizes” by Walter Vos. First off I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know about this sooner (I’ll get over it). In a nutshell this plugin allows you to add additional image sizes to the default WordPress Image sizes. While this might seem basic the implications are huge for automating image management in WordPress. 1) Because a lot of users don’t really know how or have the tools to do proper image management and 2) it can be very time consuming (and very tedious). Using this in conjunction with some of the features coming in WordPress 2.9 (hat tip to Aaron Brazel a.k.a. Technosailor for his excellent post) or in conjunction with another plugin like Get the Image from Justin Tadlock this is going to make the life of a lot of website owners/operators a lot easier.
How to Use It:
WordPress comes with 4 default image sizes:
All of these sizes (other than full) can be set to whatever you want them to be (ex: Thumbnail is 150×150 by default but you can make it whatever you want).
Since a lot of my sites or sites I’ve built also need a smaller size (postage stamp if you will) I have historically had to create that small image I can now automate the process thanks to the “Additional Image Sizes” plugin by creating a new size. In my case I called it “micro” and set it to a square aspect ratio, commonly 75×75, 70×70 or 55×55.
Now, along with the other image sizes WordPress will automatically create an image of the right size for my use. No more manually creating the smaller image. Of course you are not limited to how many you can create but in most sites 5 image sizes is about all I need (WordPress was falling just short by 1 out of the box).
Note: if you create a square image size (ex: 70×70) WordPress will shrink your uploaded image down to that size and then crop it to that exact aspect ratio, so if you start off with a rectangle image and end up with a square you might not get it cropped exactly as you would like. Just some thing to keep in mind (I can live with this) but if you’re doing logos, etc… it might chop off something you don’t want it to.