How to Properly Add WordPress Image Captions 

You may struggle to add compelling WordPress image captions that complement visuals and boost SEO performance.

Adding a WordPress Image caption is often overlooked, yet posts with relevant images get a staggering 94% more views. Captions add depth, context, and SEO value to your visuals.

These brief snippets of text help search engines understand your content better. This means you get better SEO results.

In this guide, we’ll share hacks on adding, editing, and optimizing WordPress image captions for a better user experience.

WordPress Image Captions at a Glance 

Have you ever scrolled through a WordPress post and felt the images needed a voice? Maybe a captivating photo lacked context, or you weren’t sure exactly what you were looking at.

That’s where the under-appreciated WordPress image caption swoops in. Not using descriptive titles and captions is a common SEO mistake you should avoid.

WordPress image captions aren’t just a fancy label—they help search engines index your content better, improving your SEO ranking.

You might think, “Hang on, aren’t image captions the same as alt text?” Well, not quite. While they contribute to better accessibility and SEO, they serve different purposes.

WordPress image alt text is an invisible attribute that describes the image for visually impaired users and search engines. In contrast, captions are visible snippets that enhance the user experience for everyone.

Image captions are easy to implement, whether using the Block Editor, Classic Editor, or even advanced techniques like shortcodes or custom CSS.

WordPress Image Caption Not Showing: Common Issues

If you’re staring at your published post, wondering why your carefully curated captions aren’t showing up, you’re not alone. Here are some of the most common culprits behind the disappearing act:

Missing Caption Field

Sometimes, the issue is as simple as the caption field being hidden or removed from the image upload interface.


Certain WordPress themes or plugins might result in the image caption not showing, intentionally or unintentionally omitting this crucial field. It’s like trying to tell a story without words—your visuals are left without the supporting narrative they deserve.

Theme Compatibility Issues 

Not all themes are created equal, and some might have compatibility issues with displaying captions. 

If you recently changed themes and your captions are MIA, it might be a case of them not being styled correctly by your new theme. These styling conflicts can make captions appear distorted, misplaced, or not showing up.

For this reason, you might need to hunt for a new theme that plays well with captions or consult a developer to tweak the current one.

Conflicting Plugins

WordPress plugins add functionality and enhance your site’s capabilities. However, when plugins start meddling with how images are displayed or handled, they can inadvertently interfere with the display of image captions. 

If you’ve recently activated a new plugin, try deactivating it and see if your captions reappear.

Bonus Tip: While troubleshooting, remember to clear your cache.  Sometimes, cached data can hold onto outdated information, causing your captions to vanish on the live site even though they’re still in the backend.

Adding Image Captions in WordPress 

Using the Block Editor 

Adding captions to your images in WordPress with the block editor is super simple. Here’s how:

Click the “+” icon in the editor and choose “Image.” Upload your image or pick one from the library.

Click + then press Image to add WordPress image captions

Below the image is a box that says, “Add caption.” That’s your spot for adding a description.
Include a description that fits the image’s context.

Once your caption’s perfect, hit “Publish” or “Update” to save everything.

For galleries, it’s similar:

Click “+” and choose “Gallery.”

Upload and pick your images from the WordPress Media Library.

You’ll see a box for typing the caption after selecting an image from the library.

Insert WordPress Image Caption

Click “Create a new gallery” to finalize.

Using the Classic Editor 

The steps are somewhat different if your WordPress site runs on the classic editor.

Go to one of your posts, and click “Media Library“.

Go to the Media Library

Next, go to the caption text box and describe your image.

Add Image Caption

And that’s it, folks!

Editing Existing WordPress Image Captions 

Editing existing WordPress image description? Let’s break it down:

Accessing the Media Library 

The Media Library is your one-stop shop for all images (and other media) in WordPress. Head to “Media Library” on your dashboard.

Media Library Button

This will show you all your uploaded visuals in a grid or list. Use the search and filter options at the top right to pinpoint a specific image.

You can choose to create a gallery and add captions from there.

Pro tip: If you’re working on a post or page already, click the “Add Media” button above the editor to access the Library from there.

Next, add captions for all the media files right from your gallery.

Modifying Caption Text

If you spot an image that needs a caption tweak, hover over it, and options like “Edit” and “Delete Permanently” will appear. Click “Edit” to open the image details.

Look to the right sidebar—you’ll find a “Caption” field holding the current text. Click inside and edit away! Add details, remove unnecessary bits, or replace the entire caption. Don’t forget to hit “Update” after your edits to save the new caption.

Using ShortCodes and Plugins for WordPress Image Captions

Caption shortcodes are like mini commands you insert into your content to unlock extra features.

They let you control the look and feel of your captions, tweaking fonts, colors, spacing, and more. Use shortcodes if you want consistency across your site. Some shortcode plugins offer cool extras like linking captions, hover effects, or displaying image details like size.

While WordPress doesn’t include caption shortcodes out of the box, you could use a third-party plugin to fill this gap. Here are notable WordPress image captions worth mentioning:

1. Visual Composer Addon – Thumbnail with Caption (by Pixel Tribe):

This Visual Composer plugin adds a handy extension for creating captioned thumbnails directly within your page builder workflow. While super convenient if you’re already using Visual Composer, it won’t be as useful if you use a different page builder or prefer a standalone caption solution.

2. Image Caption Hover Effects (by CodeCanyon):

You can choose from over 70 hover animations, making your images come alive when visitors interact with them. Plus, the plugin offers a lightbox feature for pop-up image displays and lets you create tiled galleries. The Image Caption Hover Effects is a must-have if you prioritize interactive elements.

Custom CSS for WordPress Image Captions

Custom CSS turns your WordPress image captions into design stars. It lets you fine-tune every detail, creating a look that complements your website perfectly.

Think of it like having a toolbox filled with styling options. Using the .wp-caption-text selector, you can adjust things like font (think swapping to “Open Sans” for a cleaner look), size (16px is a good starting point), color (#333333 for a classic dark grey), and even alignment (centering can add polish).

Here’s an example to get you started:

Here’s a quick tip: Don’t edit your theme directly; it can cause headaches later. Instead, create a child theme to keep your custom CSS safe from theme updates.


Captions add context, boost SEO, and improve accessibility. Use this guide to unlock easy hacks for the secrets to adding, editing, and optimizing captions in both Block and Classic Editors. Troubleshooting common caption woes and banishing those frustrating moments when your carefully crafted captions vanish into thin air shouldn’t be a pain in the neck.

Karol Carter
Karol Carter

Karol Carter is an experienced author and expert in various aspects of web development, online business, and digital marketing. Having worked with notable companies such as Automattic, Adobe, Ahrefs, Ecommerce Platforms,,, CodeinWP, WinningWP, and Smashing Magazine, Karol has honed a wide range of skills and knowledge in the industry. From monetizing a blog to understanding the basics of SEO, designing websites, creating engaging content, and optimizing online visibility, Karol has covered it all.

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