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How to Crop, Rotate, Scale, and Flip Images in WordPress

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How to Crop, Rotate, Scale, and Flip Images in WordPress

Did you know that you can do the basic image editing in the WordPress backend? What do we mean by basic? Well simply cropping, rotating, scaling image sizes, and flipping the vertically or horizontally. When using WordPress for micro-blogging or when writing a quick post on the go, you will often find yourself limited to softwares. One example would be when you do not have your own computer and have to rely on public computers to publish a post. Why use a third-party image editor just to resize or crop your image when WordPress can do the job for you. In this article, we will show you how to use WordPress as a basic image editor that lets you crop, rotate, scale, and flip images.

Video Tutorial

If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, then continue reading.

First thing you need to do is upload your image. You can add it while you are writing a post or by going to the Media » Add New tab.

WordPress Media Uploader

Then once your image is uploaded, you just need to click on the little button that says Edit Image.

Edit Image in WordPress

You will be taken to an screen that looks like this:

Editing Images in WordPress

Just select the area you want to crop. Or click on the rotate / flipping icon. You can click to scale. You can even crop based on ratio. Pretty handy little feature right?

Have you used it before? We know we have.

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. Linda Strader says:

    Does this work with the free version? I see NO options to edit photos, and all the ones I uploaded are rotated the wrong way.

  2. Ra. says:

    Does nt work, anymore. It is just not there.

  3. Matteo says:


    when you scale an image from the media library, does it automatically reduce the quality of the image in every post/page where it was previously published or is it necessary to load it again in each single page to speed up the site?


  4. mike cooper says:

    Anyone had the issue when you rotate an image you get the following. ‘Could not load the preview image. Please reload the page and try again.’??

    I have GD and ImageMagick installed..

    flip works ok just not rotate and crop.

  5. Craig Canapari says:

    I just discovered this yesterday. However, it seems to scale it on the fly as GTMetrix said that scaling images (that I had scaled using the tools above) was slowing down my page loading. I turned off Photon to be sure it wasn’t a cached image and also cleared my cache.

  6. Jason says:

    I must admit, the editing of photographs is not very clear. I thought I had it all sorted and when I published it the image was huge and you only saw our eyes. I understand that the scale image has to be adjusted, but come on guys, we are all not up to speed with stuff like that. We want idiot proof editing and there are plenty on the market that do such. please have a look at it or you will lose this customer very quickly

  7. Ron Strilaeff says:

    I’ve played with that edit feature, but cannot figure out how to get it to lock the aspect ratio. Let’s say I want a contributor to upload an image and then crop the part to show as the thumbnail before saving it. The numbers under “Image Crop -> Aspect Ratio” don’t seem to do anything and sometimes won’t let me enter any values. What are they for anyways?

  8. Ed Power says:

    This crop does not work when I try to save the crop as thumbnail only – I want to show a cropped image as a thumbnail in a gallery page, and then show the full version when launched in the lightbox. Is this possible

  9. IgorPureta says:

    Thanks for the good post. So far I figured out what you have written. What I can’t manage is following:

    My featured image is 960×332 to fit into home page slider. When I crop the picture I want to save cropped part as thumbnail so I can include it in the post. That is all managed by WP itself. What I didn’t mange is to change thumbnail from default crop to the crop I selected. No matter how many times I have cropped, saved, deleted or whatever is possible I can’t complete it. Could you please, explain it. Thank you!

  10. KreativTheme says:

    I already use a few times this feature, but today I learned a few more tricks. Thanks a lot for the great tut …

  11. Roderick Dunne says:

    Nice feature – never noticed it.

    One thing to ponder: Does it save an updated version of the file which is then referenced (i.e. if the edited pic is in a post)?

    I’d just be concerned that page load times could be increased if an inserted image in a WP post needs to be dynamically cropped/edited for correct display on each users page request.

    • Otto says:

      @Roderick Dunne The final result replaces the existing image. It doesn’t need to perform those operations every time.

  12. AnTo says:

    Well, it’s nice but if more functions can be provided for photo editing that would be amazing! However, it might consumes more web space or usage if it goes!

  13. petebocken says:

    Crop has never worked for me. The Save button never works. It’s always grayed out. Actually in your post screenshot, the save button is also grayed out. Anyone else get crop to work?

    • Otto says:

      @petebocken The save button is greyed out because the selection is still being made. Make your selection, then click the “Crop” button in the upper right to confirm the selection. Then it will perform the crop and you can save the result.

      • BarryFuchs says:


        I had been confused by this, too, and though that crop either didn’t work on my installation or only worked for certain file types (ie jpg but not png). The process of selecting first and clicking “Crop” second seems opposite of other programs that I’ve used, such as Acrobat and Picasa. But, at least I know how to do it now!

        • Chris Howard says:

          Yeah, it’s ridiculous that I have google to find out how to do something that should be intuitive

    • Otto says:

      @petebocken Sorry, I meant upper left, of course.

  14. Brad Dalton says:

    Only used it once but will probably have another go next time. Prefer using MS picture manager but nice tutorial. Pics look good

  15. dunfalach says:

    @tonyjalicea When I see WP, my first thought is Wordperfect. #youmightbeanoldnerdif

  16. Moe_NYC says:

    @tonyjalicea Whoa. How did I miss that? I had no clue. You think you know someone. WordPress, she’s so sexy! :)

  17. itravelwithlove says:

    @wpbeginner how to upload 2 or more photos at once in a New Post? Pls reply.

    • wpbeginner says:

      @itravelwithlove Just drag two photos or as many you want at once in the drag drop media uploader.

      • itravelwithlove says:

        @wpbeginner that’s what I do, but after that, I still need to upload it in my post one by one. :|

        • wpbeginner says:

          @itravelwithlove You mean insert it in your post one by one.. Yes because most of the time you insert images at different spots.

        • wpbeginner says:

          @itravelwithlove if you want to add all images one after another perhaps in a gallery format then u can do this:

        • itravelwithlove says:

          @wpbeginner I was able to try that too. Thank you for the help!☺

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