Photo Captions

Photo Captions in WordPress Blogs

While Windows Live Writer has been essentially orphaned for several years, blogging providers have made progress and refinements in many areas. WordPress blog posts can have captions below photos that can make a post attractive and professional looking. The WordPress online editor is, like pretty much all other blog editors, an awkward to use non-WYSIWYG contraption. The finished blog post, however, can be quite good looking. Can the new feature be inserted when using Live Writer? Indeed, it can be done. It is not particularly elegant, and the process requires some added steps. Before I get into the details, here is a captioned photo.


The car carrier Hoegh Delhi coming up the St. John’s River on its way to the port at Jacksonville, Florida

You can see that WordPress has added a frame background to the photo and the caption is in gray below the image.

The procedure for adding captions to photos

There are some constraints and gotchas, but the procedure in its most basic form is simple and straightforward.

WordPress supports this feature by specification text in square brackets. For the photo above the specification text is this:


The image is then inserted right after the first closing square bracket. It will then look like this:


Basically that is all it takes. The bracketed text ahead of the image tells the WordPress editor to insert the background field and caption. You do not need anything in the id attribute. The align attribute will be mangled by the WordPress editor, so it really doesn’t matter much what you put in. In the WordPress editor it will wind up as “alignnone”. More about this farther down. The width attribute specifies the field size. This should be the same as the the size of the image that you insert.

The text following the image is the text that you want to appear as the caption. You can apply some editing features, like bolding. Even forcing a line break in the caption will work. You do that with Shift-Enter. The end of the caption is specified by /caption in square brackets.

If you want your image either left or right justified with text alongside, that can be done. Prepare it just like above, but with the appropriate width specification and apply the normal image alignment and margin settings. You will need to do some editing in the WordPress online editor.

There are some additional steps needed. If you do as I explained and you publish the post, the caption may not be there. My procedure is to not publish it, but to “Post draft to blog”. Then log in to your WordPress Dashboard and edit the post. If you just click back and forth between Visual and Text view, the WordPress editor will do its magic. If you have left or right aligned images you need to take care them in the WordPress online editor. In Text mode you can just correct the align attribute to alignright or alignleft. Use the preview option, View Post, to make sure that everything got taken care of.

To see an example of a blog post with captioned photos take a look at my article Museum Photography 2 in my Café Ludwig blog. I intentionally allowed some of the images to “stick out” from their caption fields, just an added little feature that you might also want to experiment with. Hint: Use different width specifications for caption field and the image.

Have fun, and good blogging!


© 2014 Ludwig Keck

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  1. #1 by Vanessence on July 15, 2014 - 12:12 am

    Great info here! I always wondered how to do this!

    By the way, did you know that MS is no longer linking to the plug-ins from within Live Writer? I went to look for something the other day and they were gone. I really hope they’re not planning on doing away with WLW. I don’t think I’d know how to blog without it anymore!

    • #2 by Ludwig on July 15, 2014 - 2:43 pm

      Thank you Vanessence,
      Microsoft discontinued the Live Writer plug-ins and removed the download page some time back. Their excuse was the large risk in plug-ins since they generate HTML code and potentially can do harm. Microsoft is now undergoing some “house-cleaning” and I am sure WLW will be on the chopping block again. They haven’t done anything to improve it in two years, so it may already be in the “orphanage”. It is still the best tool around. I too would not want to be without it, but I guess there are not enough of use enthusiastic WLW users to get any support inside Microsoft. After all, they no longer provide a blog service of their own, so Live Writer only supports others, including, gasp!, Google’s Blogger service. I used to know some folks inside Microsoft, but they all seem to have disappered. I did form a Live Writer Fan Club, gasp again!, over on GooglePlus. Please join me there ( LWFanClub ), there are just a few of us.

      • #3 by Vanessence on July 16, 2014 - 3:09 am

        Ah. I didn’t realize it’d been some time back. Guess I’ve been pretty happy with all the plug-ins I had. 🙂

        I will definitely join your Google+ site! Thanks for the invite!

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