Update: This article was last updated in 2014. As you know, the web is constantly changing, which means some of the advice on this page may become out of date. For the latest digital marketing insights from the RocketMill team, please visit our main blog page.


Whilst working on a client’s website based on WordPress, I found it pretty inconvenient that I had to manually crop many images to be used before uploading them into the CMS. I could have used WordPress itself to crop the images but by default, it crops the registered image sizes from the centre of the original. That’s how the idea of a plugin that would allow a user to manually select the area of the image was born.

The plugin has received a very positive reviews from the WordPress community so far and has been downloaded over a 12.000 times.

At the moment of writing I just released a 1.06 version which among many small tweaks added:
-French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish interface translations
-Settings page with possibility to control the quality, visibility and adding a custom label for each registered image size
-Compatibility with “Retina/HiDPI (@2x)” plugin

So there you go, use the link below to get the fresh baked version of the ‘Manual Image Crop’ WordPress plugin:

Click here to download the plugin

I will appreciate any contributions to this plugin code on GitHub:
Click here to open the GitHub repository

Frequently asked questions:

How to change the default featured image dimensions?

You need to use a set_post_thumbnail_size( $width, $height, $crop ) function in your theme functions.php file
Please note that the plugin supports only ‘hard crop mode’ sizes ($crop = true) at the moment.

How to crop the image?

There are several places where you can find links to the cropping interface (then just select the image area and click ‘Crop it!’ button):

  • Media library elements list link3
  • List of uploaded elements link4
  • Media insert modal window on the post editing screen link1
  • “Crop featured image” link right below the current post or page featured image thumbnail link2

How to register a custom image size in the WordPress theme?

You need to use a add_image_size( $name, $width, $height, $crop ) function in your theme functions.php file
Please note that the plugin supports only ‘hard crop mode’ sizes ($crop = true) at the moment.

Can I change the quality of the thumbnail?

Yes, this functionality has been added in version 1.06. The default quality of the specific image size can be set globally on the plugin’s Settings Page (/Settings/Manual Image Crop) and then adjusted in the cropping editor for a particular crop.

Can I hide some sizes form the cropping editor?

Yes, this functionality has been added in version 1.06. By default all the registered sizes are visible, go to Settings Page (/Settings/Manual Image Crop) to change it.

Is the plugin available in my language?

At the moment of writing the plugin goes with French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish translations.
If you want to contribute translating the plugin in your language please submit a pull request on GitHub or contact me directly.

What is the ‘hard crop mode’?

‘Hard crop mode’ sizes are being cropped based on on the most-restrained dimension, when ‘Soft crop mode’ are simply resized retaining its original dimension proportions.

I registered a new image size, will my manual crops be overwritten if I use “Regenerate Thumbnails” plugin?

Yes, that’s why I recommend to use “AJAX Thumbnail Rebuild” where you can specify particular size you want to regenerate (newly added one in this case)

If you’ve spotted any problems or if you have any queries about the plugin,  please feel free to use the comments box below.