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How to Add Multiple Post Thumbnails / Featured Images in WordPress

Recently one of our readers asked if there was a way to add multiple post thumbnails or featured images in a WordPress post. By default, most WordPress themes come with built-in support for featured images which makes adding post thumbnails really simple. However when working on custom projects, you might need to add a second featured image to a post. In this article we will show you how to add multiple post thumbnails / featured images in WordPress.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Multiple Post Thumbnails plugin. After activating the plugin, you need to add the following code in your theme’s functions.php file. You can add it anywhere in the file as long as you are doing it right. Read our guide on how to paste snippets from the web.


if (class_exists('MultiPostThumbnails')) {

new MultiPostThumbnails(array(
'label' => 'Secondary Image',
'id' => 'secondary-image',
'post_type' => 'post'
 ) );

 }

Once you add that, you can now add a secondary featured image to your post. All you have to do is Edit an existing post or create a new post. You should see a secondary featured image meta box right after the featured image box in WordPress post edit area.

Featured and secondary featured image in post edit area

Even though you can add a secondary featured image in your WordPress admin, it will not display on your site until you configure your theme. All you need to do is add the following code inside your post loop where you want to display it. This could be in your single.php (for single posts), archive.php (only for archive pages), etc.

<?php 

if (class_exists('MultiPostThumbnails')) : 

MultiPostThumbnails::the_post_thumbnail(get_post_type(), 'secondary-image');

endif;

 ?>

Once you do that, you are done. Your theme is now ready to display multiple featured images. This is how it looked like when we tested it:

Adding Multiple Post Thumbnails or Featured Images in WordPress

You can repeat this process to add as many featured images as needed. You can also extend the support to other custom post types instead of just posts.

Adding New Thumbnail Sizes

If for some reason you need to change the thumbnail size for the secondary featured image, then you can do so by creating additional image size in WordPress. Don’t forget to regenerate thumbnails or new image sizes. After this you can call the new image size in your multiple post thumbnails code. For example, if you created a new image size with the name secondary-featured-thumbnail you would add this code in your template:

<?php 

if (class_exists('MultiPostThumbnails')) : 

MultiPostThumbnails::the_post_thumbnail(get_post_type(), 'secondary-image', NULL,  'secondary-featured-thumbnail');

endif;

?>

We hope that this article helped you add multiple featured images to your WordPress themes. What are some use cases that you can think of for this plugin? When can you see yourself adding multiple post thumbnails in WordPress? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Reader Interactions

57 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. This is very handy for many purposes that special images might be needed (eg mobile-image).

    BUT
    Is it possible for your future plans, to provide the ability of an array of images, instead of single?

    For example, the developer might need to add an album-images instance, in order that user can select multiple images to be provided to an album.

    • We will look into possibly adding that in the future but you may need to look into a plugin for that level of customization.

      Admin

  2. hi, everything works down to this paragraph.

    “Even though you can add a secondary featured image in your WordPress admin, it will not display on your site until you configure your theme. All you need to do is add the following code inside your post loop where you want to display it. This could be in your single.php (for single posts), archive.php (only for archive pages), etc.”

    Can you explain a little more about where to place this part of the code within the theme? Thx!

    • That would depend on your specific theme, normally it should have the code to display your content and you would place the code in that area, for understanding the loop you would want to take a look at the page: https://www.wpbeginner.com/glossary/loop/
      For where to place the code for how you’re wanting it, you would want to reach out to your theme’s support.

      Admin

  3. I want to add two images; one as a thumbnail (in search engine, archives, homepage or any other place it showed) and another one as featured image (Reader will see this image only at the time of reading content).

    Is there any solution for my problem?

    • You would want to reach out to the support for the theme you are using for that type of customization.

      Admin

  4. Hi. Could you possibly update older articles? This one uses a plugin that hasn’t been updated in over 2 years.

    Just wondering.

    • Hi, Please tell me how to access the second thumbnail. For example we can access the default featured image by “the_post_thumbnail()”.

  5. Why isn’t the “Multiple Post Thumbnails” updated? It said that it was last updated 2 years ago. It needs to be updated because some people cannot use plugins that wasn’t updated since 2-3 years ago…

  6. I hope you can help me. Can you tell me if this plugin can do what I need?

    I need to be able to add a second featured image to a post (or custom post type) that is in more than one category. On the archive page for one of the categories, I need for the second featured image thumbnail to show, and everywhere else on the site I need for the first featured image thumbnail to show.

    Thanks for whatever you can tell me!

  7. I use genesis and i cannot figure out where to paste this snippet so the 2nd featured image shows only as the thumbnail on the home and category pages. Please help.

  8. Great Plugin! Could it be possible to make it so when there is a secondary image set, that only the secondary image shows?

  9. Can you add it to just one page in the admin area. Like if i wanted to just add it to the front-page.php file in the admin area so if you go to edit another page it is not on it in the admin area?

  10. Hi i’m new with wordpress and i hope you can help me :) with this

    i need to use this to my sidebar.php but now showing the secondary image

  11. Hi, I am using this plugin with NewsPaper WordPress theme but everytime it display the latest secondary image added in all post.

    Like I display 6 posts in sidebar, and secondary image was added in just first 2 posts, but the same image will display in all 6 posts.

    Please tell me how can I use this with NewsPaper WordPress theme.

  12. Is there a way to use this method to assign a secondary featured image based on a category that is chosen? I am building a site for a reclaimed wood company that does all kinds of projects and some of the project photos have multiple categories within them. For instance, one project we did has items throughout the house that we did, and we included the category “Shelves” to a posting that the featured image doesn’t show any shelves. That project will be displayed within a page of shelves and have the featured image of a counter top. Is there any way to make it display one of the photos of the shelves when it is displayed in this category?

    • there is always an id for any post type so in your case if it is “shelves” then ‘post_type’ => ‘shelves’ will be in your code.

  13. It’s really working on post. bt i wanna set it on custom post. How can i add multiple feature image in custom post?

  14. It might be very easy, but I cannot seem to get it right…
    How do I get it to show up in all my post types? The ‘post_type’ => ‘post’ only makes it available in WP Posts. I need it in ‘page’ and ‘event’ as well.

    Please advice.

  15. for multiple feature images copy this code in your functions,php

    if (class_exists(‘MultiPostThumbnails’)) {

    for($i=2; $i ‘Secondary Image-‘.$i,

    ‘id’ => ‘secondary-image-‘.$i,

    ‘post_type’ => ‘page’

    ));

    }

    }

    In order to display your featured image paste this code in your loop of your single.php/page.php where you want to display the images.

    if (class_exists(‘MultiPostThumbnails’)) :

    for($i=2; $i<=5; $i++)

    {

    MultiPostThumbnails::the_post_thumbnail(get_post_type(), 'secondary-image-'.$i);

    }

    endif;

  16. this is a very useful tutorial.. So the admins doesn`t need to go to widgets as all items could be added at once ( if the items are unique to that post ./ page ) .. Does anyone of you guys know how we could have a similar one for featured text and extra text areas within the post ?

    • I solved it like this :)

      // in function.php

      if (class_exists(‘MultiPostThumbnails’)) {

      new MultiPostThumbnails(array(

      ‘label’ => ‘Secondary Image’,

      ‘id’ => ‘secondary-image’,

      ‘post_type’ => ‘product’

      ) );

      new MultiPostThumbnails(array(

      ‘label’ => ‘Third Image’,

      ‘id’ => ‘third-image’,

      ‘post_type’ => ‘product’

      ) );

      }

      // in template

      if (class_exists(‘MultiPostThumbnails’)) :

      MultiPostThumbnails::the_post_thumbnail(get_post_type(), ‘secondary-image’);

      endif;

      if (class_exists(‘MultiPostThumbnails’)) :

      MultiPostThumbnails::the_post_thumbnail(get_post_type(), ‘third-image’);

      endif;

  17. I solved it like this (based on code provided in this article, its comments and other sources):

    MultiPostThumbnails::the_post_thumbnail(get_post_type(), ‘secondary-image’, NULL, ‘medium’);
    $mptId = MultiPostThumbnails::get_post_thumbnail_id(‘post’, ‘secondary-image’, $post->ID);
    $p = get_post($mptId);
    echo “”;
    echo apply_filters(‘the_excerpt’,$p->post_excerpt);
    echo “”;

  18. Is it possible to just return the image url without the tag when calling it up within the template file? Something similar to:

    //Get the Thumbnail URL
    $src = wp_get_attachment_image_src( get_post_thumbnail_id($post->ID), array(320,240), false, ” );
    echo $src[0];

    EDIT: Yes, there is. Use this —
    $custom = MultiPostThumbnails::get_post_thumbnail_id(‘post’, ‘secondary-image’, $post->ID); $custom=wp_get_attachment_image_src($custom,’post-secondary-image-thumbnail’); echo $custom[0];

  19. Hi, Thank you for your work :)

    Using this plugin, can I add more than 1 additional Thumbnail image ??

    Thank you.

      • Awesome! But it looks that from the back-office I can only add One secondary image. How can I achieve that ?
        Thank you.

        • Sorry, this is how we can do it :

          // To be Added in functions.php
          // Multi-Thumbnails code
          if (class_exists(‘MultiPostThumbnails’)) {
          for($i = 1; $i ‘Gallery Image’.$i,
          ‘id’ => ‘image-‘.$i,
          ‘post_type’ => ‘post’
          ));
          }
          }

          Thank you.

  20. Great article!

    Just what I’ve been looking for.

    But how I could make it work with a custom post type?

  21. got it, just copy and past this function how many time you want feature images, and change id and label…:)

    • The featured image is an image that you can attach to a post using the featured image box in the post edit area. If you want, you can set a default fallback image for your featured images. This default featured image will appear when there is no featured image set for a post.

      Admin

  22. I have created a plugin for displaying Page Title, Featured Image and the content.

    Instead of displaying featured image, I need to display the secondary image that is uploaded via plugin.

    How to accomplish this? I will share a small part of my plugin. Please go through it.

    function widget($args, $instance) {
    extract( $args );
    $title = apply_filters(‘widget_title’, $instance[‘title’]);
    $page_id = $instance[‘page_id’];
    $featured_image = get_the_post_thumbnail($page_id);
    $image = $instance[$featured_image];
    echo $featured_image;

    ?>

    post_content;
    $content = strip_shortcodes($content);
    $content = apply_filters(‘the_content’, $content);
    echo $this->break_text($content, $page_id);
    ?>

    <!––>
    <!––>

    <?php
    }

  23. I cannot get the resize part to work for me.

    I add image size in functions.php:
    add_image_size(‘small-featured-image-size’, 250, 150);

    I add my image:
    if (class_exists(‘MultiPostThumbnails’)) {
    new MultiPostThumbnails(
    array(
    ‘label’ => ‘Small Featured Image’,
    ‘id’ => ‘smaller-featured-image’,
    ‘post_type’ => ‘product’
    )
    );
    }

    And then:
    if( class_exists(‘MultiPostThumbnails’) ) {
    MultiPostThumbnails::the_post_thumbnail(‘product’, ‘smaller-featured-image’, NULL, ‘small-featured-image-size’);
    }

    The image keeps coming out on the page as its original size. Can anyone help me?

  24. Hey, I’m trying to figure out how to turn this block of code into an array that can be used outside of the loop (in a foreach loop thats after the post loop).

    if (class_exists(‘MultiPostThumbnails’)) :

    MultiPostThumbnails::the_post_thumbnail(get_post_type(), ‘secondary-image’);

    endif;

    How would you do this? Great tutorials by the way!

  25. Thank you for this article as I was looking for a long time, it turns out I found here. We will practice immediately. The tutorial is very clear, good luck!

  26. To improve on this idea, you could just use a custom meta box/fields plugin or create a custom repeatable field… To allow different number of “post thumbnails”

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