NextGEN is one of the most popular WordPress gallery plugin due to its overwhelming downloads that stand at over 10 million. It has both free and premium versions with almost the same functionality. This post will focus more on the free option since this is where a majority of the plugin’s users are. The premium version is totally worth it to but let me make it a topic for another day. You can wish to upgrade if you are familiar with the tool and want advanced functionality. Don’t underestimate the free version. It is still quite a versatile and powerful plugin that most users will be happy to use. The plugin is quite simple to use once installed. The WordPress photo gallery plugin settings and options panels will activate on its own primary sidebar menu of the WordPress Admin called Gallery. You will access the submenu, called Overview that serves as your primary Dashboard screen and gives a quick overview of all things inthe NextGEN Gallery. The submenus are where the juicy part of the plugin lies. For some, this will welcome them while others may not be welcoming. Those who love to be in control of their projects are going to like it while those of you who just want the plugin to do all the work may find burdening. Whatever you like, or not will all be discussed in this article. At the end of it all I believe you will learn a lot about NextGEN gallery.
This is where you add new images and galleries. You will see in the middle of the panel, a large light grey space where you can drop in files – including zipped folders – or simply click the Add Files button which functions like all of the other add media buttons within the WordPress Admin. After adding your image files you then enter a gallery name and press the Start Upload button. The upload space will revert back to blank grey when the upload is complete. You will be notified that the files have been uploaded successfully. After that, you may want to manage your gallery and this can be done by scrolling down to Manage Galleries, the next Gallery submenu. There is also another way to upload media via this plugin. This can be done using the Import Folder. Clicking it will collapse the area we were just using and present us with the screen. Using this method of creating galleries will allow NextGENgallery WordPress plugin to scan your server for folders within your WordPress file tree containing images and make them available for you to import as galleries. You can decide to stalk them in the current location but poses a danger of being deleted permanently if you choose to delete. Or you can choose to have them copied into your NextGEN gallery folder under /wp-content/gallery.
When you want to manage your galleries, the first screen of the Manage Galleries submenu will be the first step. The screen is set up to look more like a post or page archive. Clicking on the gallery name will take you to that gallery’s collection of images and a series of settings for configuring it. The top section, called Gallery Settings, allows you to configure basic settings such as title, description etc. The second section allows you to do several things to individual images, a selection of images, or all of them at once. To make it sink in, it is better to list off each option available, of which there are many. I will only sample a few that I found particularly useful. Titles, description, and tags are a must-have, but also having a choice to view the full-size image in a lightbox on the backend is a nice gesture. You can also edit the thumbnail easily and fast. When dealing with bulk images, adding a watermark to all images makes it easy to display photos for sale and/or with more technical information much more appealing. Note that this NextGEN gallery WordPress plugin is convenient to photographers.
Before looking at how to handle albums, let’s differentiate between albums and galleries. An album is a collection of galleries and creating one is pretty simple. All you have to do is figure out the layout of an album’s page. Adding a new album entails writing the title in the space provided and click Add. What is confusing in adding an album, you’ll notice that album appears under Select Album. However, that is not where you select albums if you want to populate them with galleries. What you need to do is select the album you’ve just created using the drop-down menu found under the page title of Manage Albums. You will notice that the area on the left that said “No album selected!” will read your new album’s name. Drag galleries from your “Select gallery” section into your new album and click update to save. The process may seem cumbersome, but after some time creating an album, you get the hang of it.
On the Manage Tags page, the settings panel is one of the basics NextGEN plugins has to offer. All the created tags appear on the left-hand side under the search and sorting options. On the main body of the page, you can bulk rename tags, delete them, or edit their slugs. The process is very intuitive and straightforward.
Configuring the Gallery Settings
In configuring the gallery setting, seven different basic formats are available:
- Compact Album
- Extended Album
Each of formats has its own drop-down with a few options for customization appearance based on your personal needs.
Configuring the Other Options
This is the final submenu in WordPress responsive gallery plugin and has eight drop-downs with various settings for configuring your images, thumbnails, lightbox effects, watermarks, css styles, roles and capabilities, and miscellaneous.
Checkout quick video review on NextGen Gallery
As it’s known, NextGEN is a great WordPress photo gallery plugin suitable for photographers and websites that are image and photograph oriented. It is a simple and intuitive tool that allows users to manage their galleries and albums for future use. What I love about it is its ability to upload files in cloud servers so that if anything happens, you can go back and retrieve them. NextGEN gallery Pro Has also several formats used to present your images that can be customized to suit your needs. Find out what other NextGEN reviews say to make an informed decision. I would recommend every photographer to try it out.
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