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How to create gallery with popup images in WordPress

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If you want to create an image gallery in WordPress you probably noticed that WordPress content editor has a Gallery block.

Gallery block lets you create a nice looking image gallery which automatically adapts to post width. And it’s quite intuitive to use for administrators. But it has a serious problem – it is not convenient for website visitors who want to view large images.

By default WordPress gallery images can be viewed as small thumbnails, or you can link all the images to their own pages or media file pages. But it would by way more convenient if you could click on any images, it could be enlarged in a popup window, and then you could use arrows or next/previous buttons to view all the images without going out from the gallery page.

Here I’ll show you how you can make any WordPress gallery great to use without any coding and without adding any complicated gallery plugins.

How to make WordPress gallery images popup in a lightbox

The best way to turn a boring and inconvenient to use WordPress Gallery to a great one is to add a lightweight lightbox plugin. It will use an existing Gallery block so you won’t need any new blocks or pages for galleries.

Go to Plugins >> Add new, and search for WP Featherlight plugin.

best wordpress lightbox plugin

WP Festherlight is probably the lighest and easiest to use lightbox plugins in WordPress. You just need to install it, activate it, and it’s ready to use. It won’t mess up your WordPress admin menu or content editor in any way.

Now the only thing you’ll need to do is open a page or post where a gallery is, select a gallery, and change it’s Link to setting to Media File.

how to make images popup in WordPress gallery

Once you save the changes you can open page with the gallery. Now you’ll probably notice that when you click on any images in WordPress gallery, image will show up in a lightweight and minimalistic popup window (technically – in a lightbox).

wordpress open gallery images in a lightbox

You can navigate through the gallery using arrows, swipe images on touchscreen using smartphones and tablets, or using keyboard arrows on the laptop.

The greatest thing is that you don’t need to recreate already existing galleries in your WordPress website. You just need to make sure that gallery images link to Media File.


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