Featured Image Column in the WordPress Admin

Add Featured Image Column in WordPress Admin

Would you like to see the feature image thumbnail in the post and page overview in the WordPress Admin? The images give you a better visual overview and you also see immediately where the featured image is missing. I always add the post image at the very end, so I can recognize unfinished posts.

Featured Image Column in the WordPress Admin
Featured Image Column in the WordPress Admin

This article will show you how to add a column with the featured image in the WordPress admin.

There are three different ways to add this new column to the post overview:

  • Paste the code into functions.php
  • Paste the code into a plugin like Code Snippets
  • Use a ready-made plugin

First I’ll show the variant where you add the code to your functions.php file because that’s the variant I use too. Also, you save the most resources this way, because the code really only does the most necessary.

First, you need to use add_image_size to set the desired width and height of the post image thumbnail. In the example code, I chose 60 px. This way the image fits nicely in the table.

Then we strive the WordPress filters manage_posts_columns and manage_pages_columns, with which we extend the listing of posts and pages by one column. In our case, I labeled the new column “Image“. WordPress will translates that in every language.

If you want the thumbnails only on posts or pages, you can just omit that add_filter statement.

 * Add featured image column to WP admin panel - posts AND pages
 * See: https://bloggerpilot.com/featured-image-admin/

// Set thumbnail size
add_image_size( 'j0e_admin-featured-image', 60, 60, false );

// Add the posts and pages columns filter. Same function for both.
add_filter('manage_posts_columns', 'j0e_add_thumbnail_column', 2);
add_filter('manage_pages_columns', 'j0e_add_thumbnail_column', 2);
function j0e_add_thumbnail_column($j0e_columns){
  $j0e_columns['j0e_thumb'] = __('Image');
  return $j0e_columns;

We can’t use a new column without data and content. So now we need to assign a value to the j0e_thumb column.
To do this, we need the WordPress action hooks called manage_posts_custom_column and manage_pages_custom_column.

First, I still query whether the article has a post image assigned to it at all. If not, the function is terminated with a break.
If an image is present, the image address is queried and output with a <img> tag.

// Add featured image thumbnail to the WP Admin table.
add_action('manage_posts_custom_column', 'j0e_show_thumbnail_column', 5, 2);
add_action('manage_pages_custom_column', 'j0e_show_thumbnail_column', 5, 2);
function j0e_show_thumbnail_column($j0e_columns, $j0e_id){
    case 'j0e_thumb':
    if( function_exists('the_post_thumbnail') )
      echo the_post_thumbnail( 'j0e_admin-featured-image' );

Move the Image to the Beginning of the Table

If I had just added the new column, it would be appended at the very end. I don’t like that though, I want the featured image right at the beginning.

So I rebuilt the $columns array again with all the columns and put the j0e_thumb column right at the beginning before the title.

// Move the new column at the first place.
add_filter('manage_posts_columns', 'j0e_column_order');
function j0e_column_order($columns) {
  $n_columns = array();
  $move = 'j0e_thumb'; // which column to move
  $before = 'title'; // move before this column

  foreach($columns as $key => $value) {
    if ($key==$before){
      $n_columns[$move] = $move;
    $n_columns[$key] = $value;
  return $n_columns;

Adjust the Column Width

Last but not least, I adjust the column width. Without a limit, the column would be about 300px wide, which would be way too much.

// Format the column width with CSS
add_action('admin_head', 'j0e_add_admin_styles');
function j0e_add_admin_styles() {
  echo '<style>.column-j0e_thumb {width: 60px;}</style>';

You’ll see the post image in the WordPress admin.

I also provided all the code on Github as a gist:

Variant 1: functions.php

Find the functions.php file
Find the functions.php file

We make the changes in a special theme file.

Using an FTP client like Filezilla, you can download this file and edit it with an text editor.

Copy the four snippets above into your functions.php, save and upload again.


Variant 2: Code Snippets

Code Snippets Plugin
Code Snippets Plugin

Below that, select the option “Execute only in the administration area” and then click “Save changes and activate“.


Variant 3: WordPress Plugins

If you don’t know how to use a text editor and some PHP, there are also some ready-to-use plugins that offer you the same functions as the code snippet.

Featured Image Admin Thumb

This plugin comes with most of the features. Unfortunately, the featured thumbnail is displayed in the last column. But what I find good is the feature to set a featured image directly in the post list. The competitors can’t do that.

Featured Image Admin Thumb is available for free from the plugin directory.

Add Featured Image Column

I like the Add Featured Image Column plugin. It inserts the image in just the right position and is apparently maintained as well.
I think that’s what my choice would be.

Featured Image Column Plugin

The WordPress plugin Featured Image Column does the same as my code above. There are no settings.
The plugin is free, but has not been updated in four years. No recommendation!

Featured Image Column Display

Here the new column is displayed at the end of the list. But too big for my taste, which wastes a lot of space.
Featured Image Column Display is also downloadable for free.


If you know what the functions.php file is and how to put additional code in there, the easiest way is described at the very top.
This way you don’t have to install an additional plugin and you have full control over the new functions.

For less technical readers, the plugins are well suited. Install directly from the WordPress admin and have fun with the new feature.

For premium plugins, check out CodeCanyon.

Read on…

If you want to dig deeper, or extend my code even further, you can find all the information you need in the WordPress Reference:

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