When WordPress 4.7 was released at the end of 2016 most of the response was around the new REST API endpoints for posts, comments, terms, users, meta, and settings. However, it was one of the new smaller features that caught my eye: PDF preview images. In this post I’ll take you through what that entails, why it’s useful, and how to get it set up on your own site. Real World Use The new feature means WordPress now has the ability to create an image from the first page of a PDF when it is uploaded to the Media Library, as long as your server has the necessary requirements (more on that later). The release post boasts that the new feature allows you to “more easily distinguish between all your documents”, however I instantly recognized a better use for the preview image. For the last 4 years my wife has been running an educational resources website which allows teachers and parents to download free PDF teaching resources. Naturally I was roped in to build and maintain the site! It runs on WordPress (of course) and is powered by Easy Digital Downloads. Every time she adds a new resource, the workflow includes: Create the PDF resource Use a program to generate an
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