For years Media Library was a real pain in the ass for WordPress users, especially those who published a lot of images. It was simply a mess. With newest WP releases also came better solution for publishing media but it is still far from convenient and usable system.
If you use WordPress long enough, you’ve probably got used to it but as modern WP powered sites are getting bigger and bigger and all the visuals are becoming more and more important everyday – using “classic” Media Library may be really painfull. One of the sites I currently maintain is packed with thousands of images and its library is growing bigger on daily basis. I had to find solution better than default one, otherwise I’d spend most of my time browsing through and searching for relevant images while publishing articles instead of keeping focus on text quality.
Anyway, questions about Media Library are regularly asked on the WP support forums and a lot of suggestions were made to the WordPress team regarding improvements. Until today not much has changed and there’s no known plans for more usable solution.
That being said, to make your WordPress Media Library better and easier to use you have to use plugins.
Enhanced Media Library
Among some of its most important features is that it gives you ability to use categories and tags for media files. You can add, edit and delete custom taxonomies and use existing ones. This makes organizing files a way easier. The plugin also has a convenient filtering system for media files and lets you create new MIME types (file types) like PDFs or any other that you can think of.
The plugin is Free but there’s also a PRO version that’s also equipped with bulk actions mode which is very usefull for sites with large media databases.
Media Library Assistant
This is another plugin for making generic WordPress Media Library better. Just like the previous one, Media Library Assistant by David Lingren from Fair Trade Judaica gives you the categories and tags along with very efficient search form. The first difference between those two plugins is that “Assistant”… looks far worse. But don’t judge a book by its cover – it’s really easy to use and has a lot of cool features. Personally, I prefer this solution over any other and use it on some of the bigger sites that I maintain.
What is so cool about this plugin? Apart from giving you the power of using full taxonomy and file metadata it also has bulk editing options built-in without need to buy any “pro” or “premium” version. It also has some very usefull shortcodes and integrates well with JetPack and other plugins. For photographeurs there’s a handy tool to read and use IPTC and EXIF metadata.
To quickly sum it all: if you’re looking for easier image handling solution for WordPress give these plugins a try. I prefer Media Library Assistant but you should try both of them and choose one that suits you better. Whichever you choose is up to you but I’m sure you’ll quickly come to a “I-can’t-live-without-it” state of mine.
What do you think about it? Maybe you have other proposals. Leave me a comment because your opinion matters a lot.