How To Edit WordPress Media Library Images

How To Edit Images In The WordPress Media Library

Edit Media screen.

This tutorial covers:

  • How to access the ‘Edit Media’ screen in the WordPress Media Library.
  • How to edit images in the WordPress Media Library
    • Editing image file attributes
    • Making images accessible to users and search engines – alt text, captions, titles, and image descriptions.
  • How to perform additional image edits, including rotating, cropping, and resizing.
  • How to access more ‘Edit Media’ screen options.

See the tutorials below if you need help with other aspects of using images, like:


The screenshots in this tutorial were created using the WordPress Classic Editor. 

If you use the WordPress Block Editor, then refer to these tutorials on using image-related blocks to access the WordPress Media Library:

How To Access The Edit Media Screen In The WordPress Media Library

You can reach the Edit Media screen in one of the following ways:

  • By clicking the Edit link when adding new media files to your site,
  • From the Media Library by clicking the Edit link associated with the media item.

Accessing The Edit Media Screen When Adding New Media Files

To edit an image immediately after uploading it to your Media Library, click on the Edit link next to the image.

Upload New Media screen.
Click on the Edit link after uploading an image to the Media Library.

Accessing The Edit Media Screen From The Media Library

You can also edit an image by hovering over its details in the Media Library screen and clicking on the Edit link in the inline menu.

Media Library screen.
Click on the Edit link in the image’s inline menu.

Either of these methods will bring up the Edit Media screen on your browser.

Edit Media screen.
The Edit Media screen.

How To Edit Images In The WordPress Media Library

The Edit Media screen lets you manage all the information associated with your media file.

Editing image file attributes

In the Edit Media screen, you can perform the following editing functions:

  1. Image Title – Change the title of your image.
  2. Permalink – Edit the Permalink of your media file’s attachment page. Note: You can only edit the image’s post slug (Permalink) if the media file is attached to a post or page. If the media file is unattached to a post or page, this field is not editable. If you need help understanding how to attach and detach images from posts and pages, see this tutorial.
  3. Edit Image button – Click the button to access additional image editing functions. (see next section below)
  4. Alternative Text – Alternative text (alt tags) improve accessibility and search engine indexing.
  5. Caption – Captions display below your image.
  6. Description – Image descriptions display on the media file’s attachment page.
Edit Media screen sections.
Edit Media screen sections.

Let’s expand on the use and purpose of the fields shown above.

The screenshot below shows examples of using the Edit Media fields to add information to an uploaded image.

Edit Media Screen fields.
Use the Edit Media fields to help improve the context and usability of your images.

Making images accessible to users and search engines

Images on their own may not provide enough context for general users or readers with visual impairments to understand what the image is all about or help search engines index your image correctly.

WordPress lets you add the following kinds of information to images in the Media Library:

Image Title

Every media file in the Media Library (e.g. images, videos, audios, etc.) has both a filename and a file name.

These are not the same thing.

With images, for example, the image filename is the name you give to your image when creating, saving, and uploading the file to your Media Library, server, or external storage location.

The image file name, on the other hand, is the title the Media Library assigns to the uploaded image.

As an example, here’s the image we have uploaded for this tutorial. Its filename is coffee-983955_1920.jpg

Hard drive folder with stock images.
Note the image filename.

When the image is uploaded to the Media Library, WordPress automatically assigns a default title to the image (i.e. a file name) based on the image’s filename.

In the screenshot below, for example, our image has the same file name (image title) and filename.

Media Library screen - Image Title and Image Filename.
Image title (file name) and image filename.

WordPress, however, lets you change the title of your uploaded media files (images, videos, audios, etc.).

Note: Image titles do not display to users or search engines (i.e. it has no SEO benefit) but it can help make identifying and searching for images and other media files in the Media Library easier.

Edit Media screen - Editing Image Title.
You can edit the title of your images.

If the image is attached to a post or page, you can also change the image slug (permalink).

Although this may arguably confer slight SEO benefits, it’s better to use the keywords you want to rank for in the image filename if you want to optimize your image for search engines.

Edit Media screen - Change image slug.
You can also edit the permalink of images attached to posts or pages.

Now, the same image has an easy-to-identify “image title” (note: the image filename remains the same and can’t be changed).

Media Library screen - Image Title vs Image Filename.
Image title vs Image filename.

As mentioned earlier, the ability to edit your media file titles can help to make it easier to find images (and videos, audios, documents, etc.) in your Media Library.

Media Library screen - Search results.
Image titles can help you find images in your Media Library.

Alternative Text

Alternative text (also referred to as ‘alt text’ or ‘alt tag’) adds a text description of your image in case the image doesn’t display or render on your reader’s web browser.

It also improves your content’s accessibility (e.g. it can be read aloud by screen readers and some web browsers to help visually impaired users).

Different types of images have different alt tag requirements. To learn how to use alt tags effectively with images for accessibility and SEO, see the resources below:


The caption displays below the image. Captions describe images to help users relate to the surrounding text.

According to Wikipedia,

Most captions draw attention to something in the image that is not obvious, such as its relevance to the text.

Source: (Wikipedia)

You can also use basic HTML formatting in your caption text.

You can add HTML tags to caption text while editing your image…

Image details screen - Adding HTML formatting to caption text.
Add HTML formatting to caption text when editing images.

Or use the Classic content editor’s formatting buttons after inserting the image into your content. Just select the text and click on the formatting buttons.

Post screen - formatting caption text using the Classic content editor.
You can also format caption text after inserting an image into your content.


Descriptions allow you to provide a longer explanation of images than alternate text and can be useful in some situations.

For a comprehensive resource on using image descriptions for accessibility purposes, see this guide.

In WordPress, text added to the Description field displays in your media file’s attachment page and other areas specified in your theme and/or certain plugins.

Image Attachment Page

Every media file uploaded to the WordPress Media Library gets its own unique page, called an attachment page. This includes images, videos, audio files, etc.

An example of an image attachment page.
Images uploaded to WordPress get a unique attachment page.

You can access an image’s attachment page:

  • From the Media Library (note: how you get there depends on whether the Media Library screen is set to Grid or List view)
  • When editing images inserted into posts or pages.

Accessing The Image Attachment Page From The Media Library

If your Media Library is set to display media files in ‘Grid’ view, click on an image thumbnail…

Media Library screen - Grid view.
Click on the image thumbnail.

This brings up the Attachment details screen.

Click on the View Attachment Page link to visit the image’s attachment page.

Attachment details screen - View attachment page link.
Click on the View attachment page link.

If your Media Library is set to display media files in ‘List’ view, hover over your image entry and click on the inline menu’s View link…

Media Library screen: List view - View link.
Click on the View link.

Click on the ‘View Attachment Page’ link in the Admin toolbar…

View Attachment Page link on the Admin toolbar.
Click on the View Attachment Page link on the Admin toolbar.

The attachment page will load in your browser.

An image attachment page.
An image attachment page.


You can manage any comments added to media files in the Comments section.

Comments screen
You can allow users to add comments to your media attachment page.

Also, see the More Edit Media Options section further below for additional options relating to using comments in your media files.

Accessing The Image Attachment Page When Editing Images In Posts And Pages

To view an image’s attachment page when editing images in posts and pages:

  • Select Link To: Attachment Page in the ‘Display Settings’ section of the Image details screen,
  • Copy the web address from the URL field below the ‘Link To’ section to your clipboard.
  • Paste this link into a new web browser tab or window to load the attachment page.
Image details screen: Display Settings section - Link To: Attachment Page selected.
Copy the Attachment Page URL to your clipboard and paste it into your web browser to view the image’s attachment page.

Additional Image Information

Another important section of the Edit Media screen is the Save meta box.

The Save meta box displays information about your media, such as the file upload date, file URL, filename, file type, and image dimensions.

Save panel - Image details.
The Save panel displays image details.

This section also allows you to delete your image by clicking on Delete Permanently or Update any changes you have made to your image.

Save panel - Delete permanently link.
Click this link to permanently delete an image.

Editing Image Files

In addition to editing image file attributes such as the title, caption, description, etc., you can make further edits to the image file itself.

To edit an image file in the Edit Media screen, click on the Edit Image button below the image.

Edit Image button.
Click the Edit Image button to edit your image.

This will load additional editing functions in the Edit Media screen.

Edit Media screen - Additional editing functions.
The Edit Media screen loads additional image editing functions.

Above the image, you will see a row of image editing buttons.

Edit Media screen - Image editing buttons.
Image editing buttons.

Note: Any edits you make to your image in this section are non-destructive — you can restore the image to its original (uploaded) specifications at any time.

Image Editing Controls

Here are the various controls available to you in Edit Image mode:

  1. Crop Image Tool: Click on the Crop button to crop your image.
  2. Rotate Left: Click to rotate your image counterclockwise.
  3. Rotate Right: Click to rotate your image clockwise.
  4. Flip Vertical: Click to flip your image vertically.
  5. Flip Horizontal: Click to flip your image horizontally.
  6. Undo Edit: Click to undo your last edit.
  7. Redo Edit: Click to restore your last edit.

Note: Clicking the Undo/Redo buttons successively to step you through previous edits.

Let’s go through some of the functions listed above.

Crop Image

When cropping images, you can specify a selection box without restricting your crop area or use a fixed aspect ratio.

Cropping Images Without Restricting Crop Sizing

To crop your image without restricting the selection area:

  • Click on the image and drag your mouse while holding the left mouse button down to draw a selection box around the area you want to crop.
  • After drawing the crop region around the image, use the selection box handles to fine-tune the shape of your crop region.
  • When you are happy with your selection, click on the Crop button to crop your image.
Edit Media screen - Crop button.
Crop your image in the Edit Media screen.

Here are the steps described above…

Image Crop - unrestrained resizing
Drag the handles to crop the image.

Cropping Images Using Fixed Aspect Ratio

You can also use a fixed aspect ratio to make precise adjustments when cropping images.

Edit Media screen : Crop tool - Fixed image cropping settings.
Use the fixed image cropping settings for a more precise crop.

Click on the question mark icon next to the Image Crop section for an explanation of the tool’s features:

  1. Aspect Ratio: Specify the crop selection aspect ratio then hold down the Shift key while dragging to lock it. You can use values like 1:1 (square), 4:3, 16:9, etc. Note: If you have already drawn a crop image selection, specify the aspect ratio to automatically adjust it over the image.
  2. Selection: Once you have made your selection, you can adjust it by entering the size in pixels. Note: these values are scaled to approximately match the original image dimensions. The minimum selection size equals the thumbnail size as set in your WordPress Media Settings.
Edit image screen: Crop button - Fixed aspect ratio
Cropping an image with fixed aspect ratio.

Cropping Keyboard Shortcuts

You can also use the keyboard shortcuts below to fine-tune your crop selection and the size of the crop frame.

Note: The arrow key can be any of four arrow keys: up arrow, down arrow, left arrow, or right arrow:

  • Arrow: move by 10px
  • Shift + arrow: move by 1px
  • Ctrl + arrow: resize by 10px
  • Ctrl + Shift + arrow: resize by 1px
  • Shift + drag: lock aspect ratio

Scale Image

To scale an image:

  • Use the Scale Image section of the ‘Edit Media’ screen (if accessing the image via the Media Library) or the ‘Edit image’ screen (if editing an image inside a post or page).
  • Change one of the input fields (width or height),
  • Click on the Scale button.
Scale Image button.
Click the Scale button to scale your images proportionally.

For additional information about scaling images, click on the question mark next to the Scale Image section.

Scale image information.
Scale image information.

After clicking the Scale button, your image will be scaled to the new specified dimensions.


  1. Original images are scaled proportionally.
  2. Images can only be scaled down, not up. This prevents creating ‘fuzzy’ (i.e. pixelated) images.
  3. For best results, the scaling should be done before performing any other operations on it like crop, rotate, etc.
  4. The original dimensions (e.g. 1920×1215) are displayed above the ‘New dimensions’ input fields.

After scaling an image, a Restore original image section will appear under the Scale Image panel.

Click the Restore image button to discard changes and restore your image to its original dimensions.

Scaled Image - Restore image.
Click the Restore image button to restore the original image.

Note: any previously edited copies of the image will not be deleted.

Edit Media - Image restored successfully.
Image restored successfully.

Rotate And Flip Images

In addition to cropping and scaling images, you can also rotate and flip images by clicking on the buttons.

Image editing functions - Rotate and Flip buttons.
Rotate images clockwise and anti-clockwise or flip them vertically or horizontally.

After editing your image, click Save to update your image settings and return to the ‘Edit Media’ screen or click Cancel if you don’t want to apply any of the changes you have made.

Edit Media screen - Cancel and Save buttons.
Click Save to save your edits or click cancel to leave your images untouched.

More Edit Media Options

Some additional options of the ‘Edit Media’ screen are not visible by default.

To enable these, click on the Screen Options tab at the top right-hand of the Edit Media screen.

Screen Options tab.
Click on the Screen Options tab.

This will reveal a few additional options:

  • Discussion: Controls the ability to leave comments and/or trackbacks and pingbacks on the media attachment page. Tick the checkbox to enable an option, uncheck to disable.
  • Comments: Displays current comments on the media attachment page. You can add a new comment or show existing comments.
  • Slug: This allows you to edit the slug for attached media items.
  • Author: Allows you to change the Author for attached media items by selecting a new author from the drop-down menu.

To automatically enable and make these options visible on your Edit Media screen, check the box next to the item in the Screen elements section. (Note: unchecking the box hides the item).

Screen Options: Screen elements section - options
Tick the checkboxes to enable options on your Edit Media screen.

When enabled, the selected options will display below your main edit area.

Edit Media screen - Additional Fields displayed.
Additional fields are now visible in your Edit Media screen.

Remember to click the Update button to save your changes.

Save panel - Update button.
Remember to save your changes.

Editing Images In The WordPress Media Library – FAQs

Here are frequently asked questions about editing images in the WordPress media library:

How do I edit an image in the WordPress media library?

To edit an image in the WordPress media library, navigate to your site’s WP-Admin dashboard, then go to Media. Click on the image you want to edit, and below it, click the “Edit Image” button. This will open the image editing interface where you can make changes such as cropping, rotating, and resizing.

What editing options are available for images in the WordPress media library?

WordPress offers basic image editing tools within the media library, including cropping, rotating, flipping, and resizing. These tools allow you to make simple adjustments to your images without the need for external software.

Can I resize images in the WordPress media library?

Yes, you can resize images directly within the WordPress media library. Navigate to Media > Library, select the image you want to resize, and click on the “Edit Image” button. From there, you can adjust the dimensions of the image to your desired size.

Is it possible to revert changes made to an image in the WordPress media library?

If you’ve made changes to an image in the WordPress media library and want to revert them, you can click the “Restore Original Image” button while editing the image. This will restore the image to its original state before any modifications were made.


Congratulations! Now you know how to edit images in the WordPress Media Library.

Edit Media screen.
Edit images in the Edit Media screen.


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Updated: April 23rd, 2024

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