The new WordPress 3.5 Media Manager is arguably the biggest improvement to the WordPress core since 3.0 added custom menus, custom post-types, and the header/background customizations in 2010. That was a huge release and stands as the update that added the most functionality at once.
WordPress 3.5 is a milestone because it’s an exercise in efficiency — options and functions being removed — and improvements to existing functions. Fluff has been removed and what remains has been improved drastically.
You’ll notice as soon as you’re ready to insert your first image of WP 3.5 that the buttons above the post/page toolbar has changed. Gone are the words “Upload/Insert” with the icon of a camera and musical note. It’s also sporting a cleaner toolbar without shading or button outlines.
Once you click the Add Media button, you’re introduced to the new image experience: a full-screen drag-and-drop zone. Everything within the browser viewport is a drop zone now.
That’s just the start, though. Once you navigate to or drag in images, the new uploader shows itself. I’m putting so many images in this article, I wish I’d upgraded this install to 3.5 RC3, because it’s that much better than 3.4.2. Anyway, you’ll see all of the media in the Media Library after it’s done crunching the new images. There is a drop-down menu for various media, and you’ll most likely want to stay in the current post image, but a nice addition is being able to add a gallery using any image in the library. Prior to 3.5, only images attached to a post/page could be used in a gallery unless you edited the shortcode.
New to 3.5, you can now include/exclude images attached to the post (or just in the library) without editing any shortcode, which was one of the biggest pains of using galleries up until now. Pick and choose and sort the order. Man, I wish I was using 3.5 right now… because this sucks in 3.4.2 — I’m editing shortcode now to get 3 images above and a few below, which requires finding the image ID number. Trust me, it’s awful if you’ve ever tried.
That’s it for an overview of the changes to the Media Manager in WordPress 3.5 for now. Hit me in the comments if you want a tutorial on something specific once you update and start using it. I’m here to help. I’ll be posting some more info on 3.5 in the following weeks highlighting the other changes.
Response to comments
I have a comment below that you can’t NOT link to anything and that the insert from URL is missing. Here are screenshots that say otherwise… although both of these images are already shown in the images above if clicked to see the entire windows of the Media Manager – these are just small areas of the larger shots above.