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When [gallery link="file"] is used, it calls the original image file source.

It it possible to create a shortcode filter that links to a specific size, like:

[gallery link="medium"]


[gallery link="custom-size-name"]

(referring to an additional image size created with add_image_size() in functions.php.)

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core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/18178 is different patch for [gallery] shortcode enhancement. From the looks of it, I think patching this feature into the core shouldn't be much of an issue complexity wise. – lkraav Mar 15 '12 at 21:10
+1. even 3 years later, and after the recent gallery revamps, this is still an issue - especially if you use a lightbox in conjunction with the wordpress gallery. there needs to be a size option here to stop users having to download 4 meg images to view in a 800x600 lightbox... – jammypeach Oct 7 '14 at 9:51

Short of de-registering the built in shortcode tag, copying the function and re-registering it with some modifications you could filter on wp_get_attachment_link. The problem is this affects everywhere that function is used.

Saying that it might not be such a bad thing:

add_filter( 'wp_get_attachment_link', 'my_attachment_link', 10, 6 );
function my_attachment_link( $link, $id, $size, $permalink, $icon, $text ) {
    if ( !is_admin() ) {
        // if we're linking to the file itself
        if ( ! $permalink )
            $link = preg_replace("/href=\'([^\']+)\'/", "href='" . wp_get_attachment_image_src( $id, 'my-custom-size', false ) . "'", $link );
    return $link;

This will override any links generated to the original size file on the front end with a link to the size you specify in the second argument in wp_get_attachment_image_src().

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Just realised this is basically what the oikos.org.uk example is – sanchothefat Mar 8 '12 at 18:35

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