How to Use Thumbnails in WordPress


Hi everyone, and welcome to Tubetorial. I’m Lorraine Nepomuceno.

Today I want to show you how to use the new thumbnail feature. This is a new feature, because in the past to attach thumbnails to your posts, you had to use custom fields or maybe a plug-in. But the latest version of WordPress- 2.9- now supports post thumbnails. Here’s how to get started using them:

For this example, I’ll be using a theme I developed for because it’s a little bit magazine-like, it utilizes post thumbnails in the Featured section of the site.

The first thing you want to do is open up the functions.php file in your WordPress theme folder. If the file doesn’t exist, create it in a text editor. We’re going to activate the thumbnails, by adding this code:


What you’re doing here is telling WordPress that your theme supports the post-thumbnails function. Now, when you open up the post area in your WordPress dashboard, you’ll see the option to “Set Thumbnail” for the post. Let’s do that now:

Click on Set Thumbnail, and you’ll be able to choose from images in your Media Library to use as the thumbnail for that specific post.

I’ll click on Set Thumbnail, and go to my Media Library. I want to use this image called “Solitary Knife”, so I click the link here where it says “Use as Thumbnail”.

And that’s it!

Now to show the thumbnail in my theme, I’ll need to use the following code:

And when I reload my site… there it is.

There’s lots more you can do with this new feature, and I’m including some links below if you want to take this further. But as you can see, it’s really easy to start using post thumbnails in your WordPress theme.

I hope you enjoyed this episode of Tubetorial. For more video tutorials, please visit us at

Useful Links:

Using The New Post Thumbnail Feature In WordPress 2.9

New in WordPress 2.9: Post Thumbnail Images



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  1. Thanks for this update on thumbnails. You all are the best!
    This babyboomer is going to take her time and follow your instructions.

  2. Oh dear !

    3 hours trying to activate it ! Thanks a lot you’re saving the rest of my night and reduicing the maintenance time of my blog 🙂