I've never really been comfortable with the on-board image editor in WordPress, and here's a good example of why:

I'm just setting up a vanilla WP installation and am using the TwentyTen theme. I've uploaded an image, rotated it 90 degrees (using the Edit Image feature), saved it and have used it as my Featured Image.

The image that appears in my header and featured image area is still the original, rotated version.

When I go back to the Gallery for this page, by clicking on the Featured Image in the Edit Posts section, the image is rotated correctly. But back on the Edit Posts section, or on the actual site the image is not rotated.

I've hit "Save all changes" a dozen times, I've switched sizes a few times, and I'm using "Apply changes to: All image sizes" in the Edit box. I'm running out of options.

Can someone walk me through the correct process to upload, rotate, and set a featured image?


2 Answers 2


AFAIK, the featured image ignores all on-site edits. It just takes your base image, and applies crop/resize based on your add_image_size defs.

  • Wow, well if that's the case, that's totally BOGUS! haha. I wonder why that is? Maybe this should be a feature / bug request in WP...
    – Tom Auger
    Mar 25, 2011 at 13:30
  • Well, when the feature was added back in 2.8 I believe, it was cool. I had hoped it was perhaps a case of getting basic functionality in place, and expanding on the idea in future releases. It was definitely a cool addition. I had hoped it would mature some, by letting you use the editing capabilities. I don't keep up on the dev chats too much to know if it's anything being planned. It would be a nice enhancement for sure. Mar 25, 2011 at 13:51
  • Agree it's a horrible bug at this point. I can't believe I didn't notice it until now. It's both obnoxious and confusing because it's so hard to believe that it would work this way! The radio buttons that say "apply all changes to" and offers 'thumbnail' and 'all other sizes' is particularly heinous in that it teases the obvious functionality, but no combination of them will fix the custom intermediate sizes :S
    – jerclarke
    Apr 10, 2013 at 23:48

I'm writing this answer answer so there can be one that has an actual solution to the problem. As Rev. Voodoo said in his reply the simple answer seems to be "No, it doesn't work like it should, the custom image sizes are only created once on upload and cannot be made to reflect edits made in the WP image editor".

Workaround #1: Install Viper007bond's Regenerate Thumbnails plugin and use that. On the Media Library screen (that lists all media) the plugin adds an action button to each item to regenerate thumbnails. Opening this screen and regenerating thumbnails for your featured image will cause the changes you made in the editor to be reflected. Problems with this: Extra plugin is a nuissance and the button is inconvenient to press. Viper should add a button in the image editor somewhere for this purpose.

Workaround #2: Download the edited image to your computer, re-upload it and use that as the featured image. Problems with this: It sucks and is a waste of time and server space.

Both of these fail if you want to actually make it easier for your users to edit and preview their images using wp-admin, but succeed in that you aren't totally screwed.

  • Thanks for circling back on this, Jer. Sigh. Maybe we push for this in 3.7
    – Tom Auger
    Apr 11, 2013 at 14:54

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