Featured images are key elements in any WordPress blog or store. Along with titles, featured images give visitors the information they need to decide whether to view a page or not. As your website changes, there might come a point where you want to update these images. The most efficient way to do this is by learning how to bulk edit featured images in WordPress.
Instead of replacing featured images one by one, you can use plugins to edit them in bulk. This can save you massive amounts of time if you have an extensive blog or product archive. Depending on which plugin you use, you can even pick and choose which images to edit in bulk.
Let’s get to it!
When to edit featured images in WordPress
There are several scenarios where it makes sense to edit featured images. In practice, these images should all share a similar aesthetic and fit with your website’s branding.
As your website grows, that style might change. You might prefer to start using a different type of featured image or even change the display sizes of the graphics you use.
This happens a lot when you change themes, as they can transform your site’s design. If you want it to remain coherent, you’ll need to update its key elements, such as featured images, brand colors, typography, and more.
These types of changes may require a lot of effort. If you have access to a staging website, we recommend testing major alterations before modifying your live site. That way, you can get a preview of how the new stylistic choices will look without sacrificing your website’s initial style.
How to bulk edit featured images in WordPress
The most straightforward way to bulk edit featured images in WordPress is through a plugin. In the next section, we’ll discuss two of the best options for the job and talk about when it makes sense to use either of them.
⚠️ But before we begin, with operations like this, it’s very important to make a backup of your site prior to introducing any changes. If you’re going to be performing any bulk operations on your website, there’s always a slight chance that something might not go according to plan. You need to have a backup just to stay safe and be sure that no matter what, you’re always going to be able to restore your site to its previous version. Here’s how you can back up your site for free.
- Step 1: Choose a bulk edit plugin
- Step 2: Configure the bulk edit process
- Step 3: Decide which posts and pages to edit
Step 1: Choose a bulk edit plugin 🔌
There are WordPress plugins that enable you to bulk edit almost any element on your website. However, when it comes to images, only two plugins fit the bill (and our recommendation standards). Those plugins are:
- 👉 Quick Featured Images: You can use this plugin to select and bulk edit featured images for posts and pages. The plugin also enables you to configure featured image presets, and it also works with thumbnails.
- 👉 Featured Image Plus: This plugin enables you to select and bulk edit featured images in pages, posts, custom post types, and WooCommerce products.
For the remainder of our discussion on how to bulk edit featured images in WordPress, we’re going to focus on Quick Featured Images, as it offers a higher degree of customizability during the editing process. However, if you’re running a WooCommerce store, and you need to bulk edit product images, we encourage you to check out Featured Image Plus.
Step 2: Configure the bulk edit process ⚙️
To get started, install and activate the Quick Featured Images plugin. Once the plugin is ready, you’ll notice that posts and pages now display their featured images in a column to the right of their respective pages:
You’ll find options to change, edit, and remove individual images within that column. Instead of changing images one by one, let’s go to the Featured Images > Bulk Edit page. Here you can configure how the bulk edit process works, from selecting which images to replace to adding filters, confirming your choices, and letting the plugin work its magic:
The plugin offers you two options as to what to do with featured images. You can select a single image that will replace all the featured elements you want, or replace existing featured images with multiple elements of your choosing. The downside of this approach is that the plugin will assign new featured images randomly (from your selection):
Either one of these approaches will require you to update some featured images manually afterward. However, if you use the Set multiple images randomly as featured images option, you can select specific types of graphics and use them to replace the featured images for a subset of your pages or posts. To do this, click on Choose Images and use the media selector to pick the images you want to use as replacements:
For example, if you’re replacing featured images for posts that have to do with tennis or cooking, you can find new graphics that suit those categories. Afterward, you can use the Set multiple images randomly as featured images bulk edit option to replace the images for those posts if they’re properly categorized.
For now, select the bulk edit option that you want. In the next step, we’ll select what posts and pages the plugin will edit.
Step 3: Decide which posts and pages to edit 🤔
After selecting the bulk edit option you want to use, click on Next at the bottom of the page. Now, the plugin will ask you to select what posts or pages you want to bulk edit. First, you’ll be able to choose whether to overwrite existing images or to target posts that don’t have them:
Select the Overwrite featured images option since we want to replace existing images. Scroll down to the Select filters section and choose what type of filter you want to use to pick the posts and pages the plugin will edit. You can filter elements by post type, category, or tag:
If you want to bulk edit only a few featured images, your best bet is to use either the category or tag filters. After selecting an option, click on Next and the plugin will ask you to enter the post type, category, or tag for the featured images you want to edit:
You can use the Preview filtering option after selecting a category to preview what posts and pages will be affected. Once you’re happy with your choice, click on Apply and let the plugin get to work.
The bulk edit process might take a few minutes, depending on how many images you’re replacing. When it’s done, you’ll see a list of all the images the plugin edited and a breakdown of any errors it ran across during the process.
If you’re replacing numerous featured images, you might need to repeat this process several times. However, this approach is much easier than replacing each featured image one by one.
Optional: Remove existing featured images in WordPress
Quick Featured Images enables you to remove featured images in bulk without replacing them. You can do this by navigating to the Featured Images > Bulk Edit screen and selecting the Remove any image as featured image option:
After selecting that option, you’ll be able to pick which posts and pages to remove featured images from. That process works the same as when you use Quick Featured Images to replace featured images. If you need a refresher, check out the step above for instructions.
Last word on how to bulk edit featured images in WordPress 💬
Replacing or removing featured images can be incredibly time-consuming if you have an extensive library of content. However, this can be necessary if you want to update your website’s design or branding. With the right tools, you’ll be able to edit featured images in bulk.
👉 If you want to bulk edit featured images in WordPress, here’s how to go about it:
- 🔌 Choose a bulk edit plugin (we recommend Quick Featured Images).
- ⚙️ Configure the bulk edit process.
- 🤔 Decide which posts and pages to edit.
Do you have any questions about how to bulk edit featured images in WordPress? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!