How to Add Custom Image Sizes in WordPress

Add Custom Image Sizes to WordPress

Have you ever wanted to use your own custom sizes for WordPress images? By default, WordPress has predetermined image sizes, so when you upload an image it creates additional files for these default sizes. However, having your own custom image sizes can save you hours editing your photos outside WordPress. In this tutorial, we will share how to add custom image sizes in WordPress.

Note: This tutorial is advanced and will require you to edit the code of your WordPress theme. Additionally, this is an enhanced version of the add_image_size() function in WordPress.

To add custom image sizes in WordPress, you’ll need to follow these 4 steps:

  • Step 1

    Edit your theme’s functions.php file to add custom image sizes

  • Step 2

    Edit your theme’s functions.php file to add the custom image sizes to WordPress Admin

  • Step 3

    Regenerate thumbnails for previously uploaded images

  • Step 4

    Use your custom image sizes in WordPress pages and posts

Step 1: Edit your theme’s functions.php file to add custom image sizes

To add your custom image sizes to WordPress you must first edit your theme’s functions.php file by ensuring your theme supports custom theme images and then defining your custom image sizes and then registering them to the WordPress core.

Enable Theme Support for Post Thumbnails

The fastest way to add theme support for post thumbnails is by going to Appearance » Editor and edit the functions.php file of your theme. Be sure to back up your website, or make a copy of this file first. Next paste this script in that file:

add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );

Define custom image sizes in an array

The first function you will need to add will define your custom image sizes in a large array. This is based on the add_image_size() function and allows you to keep all of your custom image sizes defined in a singular place. The parameters are defined by the following:

  • $name
    • (string) (Required) Image size identifier.
  • $slug
    • (string) (Required) Image size identifier in slug format
  • $width
    • (int) (Optional) Image width in pixels. Default 0.
  • $height
    • (int) (Optional) Image height in pixels. Default 0.
  • $crop
    • (bool|array) (Optional) Image cropping behavior. If false, the image will be scaled (default), If true, image will be cropped to the specified dimensions using center positions. If an array, the image will be cropped using the array to specify the crop location. Array values must be in the format: array( x_crop_position, y_crop_position ) where:
      • x_crop_position accepts: ‘left’, ‘center’, or ‘right’.
      • y_crop_position accepts: ‘top’, ‘center’, or ‘bottom’.
    • Default value: false
 * @desc Define custom image sizes
 * @var array
$custom_image_sizes = array(
	array('Gallery Thumbnail', 'gallery-thumbnail', 475, 475, true),
    array('Portfolio Image', 'portfolio-image', 1000, 600, true),

Register custom image sizes to WordPress

Secondly, we will loop through the array you previously created using the function below and register the image size using the add_image_size() function. Be sure to call the function at the end, otherwise, the function will not run.

 * @desc Register custom image sizes to WordPress
function register_custom_image_sizes()
	global $custom_image_sizes;

	if (!empty($custom_image_sizes)){

		foreach ($custom_image_sizes as $custom_image_size){

			add_image_size( $custom_image_size[1], $custom_image_size[2], $custom_image_size[3], $custom_image_size[4] );





Step 2: Edit your theme’s functions.php file to add the custom image sizes to WordPress Admin

Next add the below to your functions.php file below the items outlined in Step 1. This function will take the image sizes and use the array_merge function to add your new image sizes to the WordPress default array of image sizes. Similarly, be sure to add the add_filter at the end, otherwise, the function will not run.

 * @desc Add custom image sizes to WP Admin
 * @return array
function add_custom_image_sizes($sizes)
	global $custom_image_sizes;
	$addsizes = array();

	if (!empty($custom_image_sizes)){

		foreach ($custom_image_sizes as $key => $value){

			$addsizes[$value[1]] = $value[0];



	return array_merge( $sizes, $addsizes);


add_filter( 'image_size_names_choose', 'add_custom_image_sizes' );

Step 3: Regenerate Thumbnails For Previously Uploaded Images

Next you will need to regenerate thumbnails in WordPress so that all of your previously uploaded images will be updated with the new image sizes.

Regenerate Thumbnails

We recommend you use the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin. It will update your WordPress images to the custom sizes you added in the previous steps.

Install and activate the plugin. After activating the plugin, you need to go to Tools > Regen. Thumbnails and hit the Regenerate All Thumbnails button. This step may take some time depending on how many images you have previously uploaded to the WordPress Media Library.

Regenerate Thumbnails Settings

Step 4: Use your custom image sizes in WordPress pages and posts

Finally, there are 2 methods to use your newly created image sizes. First, you can add the following code in the theme file inside the post loop where you want to show your image. Be sure to use the slug (second item in the array).

<?php the_post_thumbnail( 'your-new-image-size' ); ?>

Additionally, you can select the image size when adding an image in the WordPress editor when creating or editing a Post/Page.

Image Size Dropdown Selection
Image Size Dropdown Selection

We hope this tutorial has helped you to add custom image sizes to your WordPress installation. There are many benefits to creating custom image sizes, but don’t overdo it; remember that each image size you create is another image that needs to be regenerated and stored and take up space on your server.

Last updated on by Joshua Holdeman

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    About the author

    Joshua Holdeman is a DevOps Engineer, Sr. Software Engineer, and Digital Marketing Consultant. With over 15 years in the industry and backed by hundreds of digital marketing projects and websites developed under his direction, he brings experience and knowledge allowing for the recommendation of high-impact business software, tools, and programs to help non-profit organizations, small businesses, and entrepreneurs to launch or grow their business. Before starting this blog, Josh was the Sr. Software Engineer for a world leader in a marketing and graphic communications franchise system.

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