UPDATE: January 15, 2013- Hello everybody, I can’t believe how popular this post has gotten! In light of this, and in NextGEN’s acquisition by Photocrati I have installed the latest version of NextGEN on this site and am in the process of putting together a new client gallery with it. I am hoping to have a new version of this guide up soon. Thanks for stopping by! If you have any questions feel free to comment below or here.
As much as everyone loves the NextGen Gallery by Alex Rabe (myself included), a comprehensive guide to how to actually use it seems to be as scarce as the proverbial hens’ teeth. The first time I installed it for a client, I have to admit the sheer amount of options and settings was a little overwhelming. At any rate, you came here for a manual so here it is.
Once you have downloaded, installed and activated the NextGen Gallery Plugin, when you go to your WP dashboard, it appears at the bottom left like so:
Clicking next to the plugin’s name will open a list of tools and settings for NextGen:
Opens a page that contains general info about Next Gen. You can see a count of your albums, galleries and images, the names of recent donors to the plugin’s author (some nice exposure in exchange for a little support-these things don’t write themselves), updates from Alex Rabe’s blog, related plugins (good to check out for ways to extend Next Gen) and your Graphic Library settings.
2: Add Gallery/Images
Fairly self-explanatory, this is where you would go to create a new gallery or add images to an existing gallery. Click on “browse” to select an image from your computer. Then, select the gallery they will be uploaded to.
3. Manage Gallery
This brings you to a list of all your galleries. Click one of your galleries to edit the following settings:
Title: The title your gallery will have when it’s displayed on a page.
Description: A brief summary of the gallery’s content
Path: The file path for your gallery.
Page Link To: When the gallery is displayed as the content of an Album, choosing a page here will create a linked image and title that can be clicked on to go directly to that gallery’s page.
Preview Image: Lets you choose which image will be displayed when the gallery is shown in an Album.
Author: Lets you show the Gallery’s author.
Create Page: This feature allows you to create a page for the Gallery if you need to.
Below those options is a dropdown menu of Actions. If you need to make changes to several or all the images at once, this will save you time:
No Action: the default
Set Watermark: Allows you to embed text onto the image to mark it as yours.
Create New Thumbnails: This is what you need to use if you have changed your Thumbnails settings under Options (see below).
Re-size Images: You may need to re-size images to fit your site’s style.
Delete Images: Allows you to perform a batch delete on selected images.
Rotate Images Clockwise/Counter-Clockwise: Fairly self-explanatory.
Copy To: Lets you copy the selected images to a different gallery.
Move To: Lets you move the images from one gallery to another.
Add/Delete/Overwrite Tags: Allows you to batch-edit tags-keywords associated with the images that can enable the images to be selected by keyword-based searches.
If you have selected one of these actions, just click on Apply to put the changes in effect. You can also choose to Sort the Gallery which takes you to a page where you can re-arrange your images. To return to the Gallery editing window, just click Return to Previous Page on the far right. Also, if you did change anything, make sure you click “Save Changes” to put all your edits into effect.
If you need to sort your Galleries into categories, then you need to create Albums. The analogy at work here is that you can have a family album entitled “Vacations” and perhaps another entitled “Weddings” and into those albums you would put collections of photos (or galleries) called “Disneyworld09″ and “Phyllis & Mike”.
Once you have selected which album you want to edit, just drag it over to the far left window to add galleries via the drag and drop method.
This allows you to edit existing tags, re-name tags, delete tags and also edit the tags’ slug (the way it will be written into the page’s URL). For example: if you had tagged an image as “Family Vacations”, the slug could be specified as family-vacations. Choosing your slugs wisely makes you site more “search friendly”.
This is where you go to control the following settings:
Thumbnails: Here you can set the dimensions and the quality of your galleries’ thumbnails. Just be sure to go to Manage Galleries > Select a gallery > Actions and select “Create New Thumbnails” after you do this.
Images: Here you can edit your images’ size, quality, enable caching of images when someone browses a gallery and also clear the cache folder in case you change certain image settings.
Gallery: You can set a large array of options for your galleries here. Deactivate a gallery page’s link, set the number of images per page, set the number of image columns, integrate Slideshow settings, choose to show either a slideshow or a list of thumbnails, simply show the imagebrowser, add hidden images, enable Ajax pagination and choose Sort options.
To see what the Lightbox effect is go here and select one of the images.
Watermark: Here you can edit your settings for displaying watermarks such as whether yo want to use an image or text to protect your images from theft.
Slideshow: Set your slideshows’ appearance. Note: you will need to download an auxiliary plugin named JW Image Rotator to get the slideshows to function.
Style allows you to choose from 7 different stylesheets for your Album and Gallery displays as well as customize the CSS to suit your site’s look and layout. The available readymade styles aren’t radically different from each other, but here is a series of screenshots with the various choices in effect.
Not stunningly different in appearance I know, but, look at things this way. You can select a style, customize it any way you like via CSS and then, if things get hairy, you can always select another style to revert your design to something similar to its original state.
8. Set Up:
This page gets a little lost in translation for me. One would expect it to contain info about folders and ports and such but this is actually where you go to fully remove any images/galleries/album info from your database. That first line you see:
“You don’t like NextGEN Gallery ?” always reminds me that awkward moment when you have to tell your mother-in-law “No thanks” when offered a helping of her special “Spam ‘n Cheezwiz Surprise”. I wish this section was called “Uninstall” instead.
This is a nice touch. If you run a site that has several administrators/editors/contributors (the basic WordPress roles), this is where you can assign different levels of access to the NextGen galleries for different people.
Here’s where the credits roll. If you are burning with desire to see who contributed to this plugin’s development and/or economic survival, then this is the section for you. And, if you find NextGen so fabulous that you want to throw some cash their way, there’s a “Make a Donation” button right under the heading “How to Support?”.
Hungry for more? Here’s a list of links to other NextGen-related articles that I have gathered in the course of working with the NextGen plugin:
And stay tuned for the next article in my NextGen series: “Customizing Your Gallery”!