A Movable Type plugin to assist in the generation of a set array of thumbnails conforming to size requirements defined by the user.
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Image Cropper Plugin for Movable Type

The Image Cropper Plugin provides a simple user interface for managing and generating custom thumbnails from your image assets.

The plugin was specifically designed to addressed the case where publishers want the ability to produce different thumbnails designed specifically for certain different locations on a web site. Furthermore, for each of these locations it is not sufficient simply to scale the asset in question; rather the publisher would rather crop the asset in a custom manner for each thumbnail generated.

Finally, in order to properly annotate thumbnails to credit the photographer and preserve any required copyright notices, this plugin allows you place some text on the image accordingly.

This utility facilitates that process.


  • Movable Type 5.1 or greater
  • Movable Type 6.x

Movable Type 4.x is supported with version 1.1.3.


  • Define a set of "prototypes" which in essence are a prescribed set of allowable thumbnail sizes.

  • Manage all related thumbnails from a single dashboard.

  • Create alternate thumbnails using a simple drag-and-drop cropping interface -- without ever leaving Movable Type.

  • Automatically create thumbnails based on prototypes for allowable image sizes.

  • Annotate thumbnails with a custom message.

  • Place annotations using the orientation and location you specify on the generated thumbnail.

  • Hooks for designers to define thumbnail prototypes for their themes and template sets so that their users don't have to.


To install this plugin follow the instructions found here:



Managing "Prototypes"

To manage the list of allowable cropped thumbnails for your web site, select "Thumbnail Prototypes" from the Preferences menu from within Movable Type.

Then simply add and edit thumbnail prototypes by defining the following properties for each:

  • Max Width
  • Max Height
  • Label (used later for selecting and placing cropped images on your web site)
  • AutoCrop

AutoCrop's yes/no property belies greater capability. A prototype with AutoCrop enabled will automatically crop and scale the image to the desired size. This happens under several conditions:

  • When the image is first uploaded. An AutoCrop job is added to the Publish Queue where it will be processed as soon as possible. Hopefully, when you are ready to insert an image into your Entry, for example, a new asset based on the AutoCrop prototype is ready for you to use!

  • From the Manage Assets or Edit Asset screen you can use the Automatically Generate Thumbnails option to create a job in the Publish Queue to build any AutoCrop-enabled prototypes.

  • When publishing a template, if an asset with the desired prototype can not be found and if the desired prototype is AutoCrop-enabled, a job will be added to the Publish Queue.

Additionally, when publishing, if no asset can be found for the desired AutoCrop-enabled prototype then a dynamic URL can be returned instead of the expected asset URL. (Enale the use_dynamic_url argument, described below.) When hitting this dynamic URL -- such as when visiting a page that has an image tag with the src property set to the dynamic URL -- Image Cropper will insert a job into the Publish Queue if an AutoCrop-enabled prototype is found, and will also republish the desired page after the new cropped assets have been created.

It's also worth pointing out that AutoCrop won't overwrite any existing thumbnails, which is particularly important if you've gone to the trouble of creating a manual crop already!

Managing Thumbnails

Once you have defined a list of prototypes you can begin creating thumbnails. To do that, navigate to the Edit Asset screen associated with the asset in question. In the sidebar you will see a link called "Generate Thumbnails." Clicking that link will take you to the cropping dashboard.

Adding Cropped Images to your Website

Once you have created a cropped thumbnail, you can display it on your web site using the following template code:

<mt:Asset id="136">
  <mt:CroppedAsset label="Square">
    <img src="<mt:AssetURL>" />

It is quite possible however that you need to display the cropped version of an asset only if it is available and fall back to a simple scaled version of the thumbnail if a cropped version cannot be found. The following template code shows how you can use <mt:else> to do just that:

<mt:Asset id="136">
  <mt:CroppedAsset label="Square">
    <img src="<mt:AssetURL>" width="100" height="100" />
    <img src="<mt:AssetThumbnailURL square="1" width="100">" />

Config Directives

  • DefaultCroppedImageText - Determines the default text to be used when annotating images.

Template Tags

  • <mt:DefaultCroppedImageText> - Returns the default cropped image text as specified by the DefaultCroppedImageText config parameter.

  • <mt:CroppedAsset> - Places the desired cropped image asset into context. This tag must be called with an existing asset (the parent asset) already in context. See example above. Allowable arguments:

    • label - The label to filter by.
    • no_autocrop - Use this argument when a prototype has autocrop enabled but no thumbnail is available to ensure that some asset is returned. Effectively, this is like using the "Else" in the CroppedAsset tag. Set to 0 by default; enable with 1.
    • use_dynamic_url - Use this argument to generate a dynamic URL for assets that use a prototype with autocrop enabled but no thumbnail is yet created. As described above, the dynamic URL will return an asset, insert an AutoCrop worker, and insert a republish worker to eliminate the use of the dynamic URL. It is also worth noting that the dynamic URL can cause a significant load on the server, particularly when many thumbnails from AutoCrop-enabled prototypes are requested. This feature works best when you know that only a few assets are going to be needed at a given time.

Designer Guide

The Image Cropper plugin exposes a simple set of hooks that can be embedded in a theme's config.yaml file so that designers can specify the exact dimensions of their fixed image prototypes. When prototypes are defined in this way, they will appear automatically on the Preferences > Thumbnail Prototypes screen for blogs using the corresponding theme.

To define thumbnail prototypes via config.yaml, consult this super simple example:

  label: 'Generic Blog Theme'
      label: 'Featured Thumbnail'
      max_width: 100
      max_height: 90
      label: 'Homepage Feature'
      max_width: 350
      max_height: 300

As you can see you can define one or more prototypes easily for a theme. Designers can specify the label for the prototype as well as its dimensions.

Help, Bugs and Feature Requests

If you are having problems installing or using the plugin, please check out our general knowledge base and help ticket system at help.endevver.com.

If you know that you've encountered a bug in the plugin or you have a request for a feature you'd like to see, you can file a ticket in Github Issues.


This plugin was created from the kind support of Talking Points Memo (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/), who supports and appreciates open source. We <3 TPM.

Copyright 2009, Endevver, LLC. All rights reserved.


This plugin is licensed under the GPL v2.

About Endevver

We design and develop web sites, products and services with a focus on simplicity, sound design, ease of use and community. We specialize in Movable Type and offer numerous services and packages to help customers make the most of this powerful publishing platform.