How to assign a featured image to a post

For many WordPress themes, and all themes created by EmPress, featured images are shown alongside blog posts within a feed on the Home Page or archival (category/tag/search) pages of your site. They provide a visual for each post, which helps capture reader attention and encourage them to continue reading your content. Here are some visual examples of featured images in our themes:

  • In EmPress themes, if you do not have featured images assigned to a post, no image will appear in the corresponding Blog Feed.
  • In some EmPress themes, featured images may also be featured at the top of the post. For example, in our Brevier theme, users can opt to automatically lead a post with their selected featured image. 


Featured images are typically assigned in the right hand panel of the post editor. When you're writing a blog post (or editing one later), look for the box that says “Featured Image,” usually located under the categories and tags boxes. Depending on whether you are using the Classic Editor or Block Editor, it will look like one of the following:

Click the link or button, then upload your desired featured image.

NOTE: If your previous theme did not require you to upload featured images, don't worry. Please read this article for a recommended plugin you can use to assign featured images to past content.


We maintain a quick guide for all our themes' image sizes, which can be found here.


If you have been blogging for some time and have not been assigning featured images, you can run a process to assign the first image in a post as your featured image. This can save a lot of time if you have months or years worth of content to edit! Learn how to do this here.


Featured images, or post thumbnails, are not included in WordPress automatically — it’s up to a WordPress theme to enable support for the feature and add the proper code corresponding to where the images should be displayed. WordPress includes a few default image sizes, which you can see under Settings > Media. The most common size used for displaying thumbnails is, naturally, the thumbnail size. However, themes can update this sizing in the theme code. If you try to change the thumbnail sizing yourself, and your options won’t save, that means your theme set these options in the code and you won’t be able to update them.

Themes and plugins can also register new image sizes for thumbnails. Here at <em>press, we set a thumbnail size in the theme code that works for as much of the site as possible, then we register new image sizes for featured posts that may require larger sizing, or an aspect ratio that stands out from the rest of the feed. Image sizes that are registered by your theme do not display in WordPress, but you can install the Simple Image Sizes plugin to view all image sizes currently registered to your site by your theme and plugins under Settings > Media. You can even edit registered image sizes if they aren’t the right fit for your content — you just can’t edit the thumbnail size if that’s set in the theme code.

One final note: any changes to image sizing affect images uploaded from that point forward — WordPress will not go back and resize images that have already been uploaded. This is why we recommend the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin when you install and activate any of our themes. You’ll need to run the plugin any time you make a change to your image sizing, whether you install a new theme, install a plugin that adds a new image size (like our Grid plugin), or modify your media settings. You only need to run the plugin on featured images; however, keep in mind that if you edit an old post and swap out the featured image, you’ll probably need to regenerate thumbnails for that image as well.