I want to retrieve the closest named image size (e.g. 'thumbnail', 'medium', 'large', 'full', or the name of any custom sizes added with add_image_size()) from an array of width/height values (e.g. array( 150, 150 )). I essentially want to do what wp_get_attachment_image and related functions do but without an actual image.

What I'm hoping for is something like:

$image_size   = get_named_size( array( 150, 150 ) ); // returns 'thumbnail'
$another_size = get_named_size( array( 999999, 999999 ) ); // returns 'full'

It looks like all the resizing magic in the image functions happens in image_downsize(), but as far as I can see everything that happens there relies on an actual image and only returns a new image, not a size, which doesn't really help me.

I can get all the existing sizes using something like the examples here, but comparing my array values with all the existing sizes and finding the closest is going to be a bit cumbersome so I was hoping there was an existing wp function that could help me out.

1 Answer 1


Turns out, image_get_intermediate_size() was easy enough to adapt to my needs. Instead of using wp_get_attachment_metadata to get an existing image's available sizes I use my own function to get all available image sizes (essentially the same as the function proposed here). I then simply return the name rather than the array of meta data.

It works, I need to do some more thorough testing though and may need to make some changes (not sure I actually want to return 'thumbnail' for sizes smaller than 'thumbnail' for example)...

Here is my entire function (it is a static method of a utility class):

 * Return the closest named size from an array of width and height values.
 * Based off of WordPress's image_get_intermediate_size()
 * If the size matches an existing size then it will be used. If there is no
 * direct match, then the nearest image size larger than the specified size
 * will be used. If nothing is found, then the function will return false.
 * Uses get_image_sizes() to get all available sizes.
 * @param  array|string $size   Image size. Accepts an array of width and height (in that order).
 * @return false|string $data   named image size e.g. 'thumbnail'.
public static function get_named_size( $size ) {

    $image_sizes = self::get_image_sizes();
    $data = array();

    // Find the best match when '$size' is an array.
    if ( is_array( $size ) ) {
        $candidates = array();

        foreach ( $image_sizes as $_size => $data ) {

            // If there's an exact match to an existing image size, short circuit.
            if ( $data['width'] == $size[0] && $data['height'] == $size[1] ) {
                $candidates[ $data['width'] * $data['height'] ] = array( $_size, $data );

            // If it's not an exact match, consider larger sizes with the same aspect ratio.
            if ( $data['width'] >= $size[0] && $data['height'] >= $size[1] ) {
                if ( wp_image_matches_ratio( $data['width'], $data['height'], $size[0], $size[1] ) ) {
                    $candidates[ $data['width'] * $data['height'] ] = array( $_size, $data );

        if ( ! empty( $candidates ) ) {
            // Sort the array by size if we have more than one candidate.
            if ( 1 < count( $candidates ) ) {
                ksort( $candidates );

            $data = array_shift( $candidates );
            $data = $data[0];
         * When the size requested is smaller than the thumbnail dimensions, we
         * fall back to the thumbnail size to maintain backwards compatibility with
         * pre 4.6 versions of WordPress.
        } elseif ( ! empty( $image_sizes['thumbnail'] ) && $image_sizes['thumbnail']['width'] >= $size[0] && $image_sizes['thumbnail']['width'] >= $size[1] ) {
            $data = 'thumbnail';
        } else {
            return false;

    } elseif ( ! empty( $image_sizes[ $size ] ) ) {
        $data = $size;

    // If we still don't have a match at this point, return false.
    if ( empty( $data ) ) {
        return false;

    return $data;

Which I can use (close enough to) how I initially wanted:

$image_size = My_Utility_Class::get_named_size( array( 150, 150 ) ); // returns 'thumbnail'
  • Instead of $image_sizes = self::get_image_sizes(); try use: global $_wp_additional_image_sizes; $image_sizes = $_wp_additional_image_sizes;
    – fdrv
    Oct 7, 2022 at 12:23

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