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What is Thumbnail | How to Make | Where to Use | Its Importance

A thumbnail is referred to as an image with a reduced file size which is used as a placeholder for full-sized multimedia content. Additionally, it depends upon the site where you want to put it as every site has its own preference of specific size. That is why there is no real definition of size of the thumbnail.

What is a Thumbnail
What is a Thumbnail

What is a Thumbnail?

A thumbnail is a small, reduced-size version of an image or video that is used to provide a preview or representation of the larger content. Thumbnails are commonly used on websites, social media platforms, video hosting sites, and file systems. They allow users to quickly preview multiple images or videos without having to load or open the full-size versions, making it easier to browse and navigate through large collections of content.

Benefits of Thumbnail
Benefits of Thumbnail

Thumbnails serve several purposes, including:

Visual Representation

Thumbnails provide a visual preview of the content, helping users decide whether they want to view the full-size version.

Faster Loading Times

Since thumbnails are smaller in size compared to the original images or videos, they load more quickly, enhancing the user experience, especially on websites and in applications with limited bandwidth or slower internet connections.

Space Optimization

Thumbnails allow websites and applications to display multiple images or videos in a compact layout, saving space on the page.

Organization and Navigation

Thumbnails are often used in galleries, image or video collections, and file explorers to help users quickly find and navigate to specific content.

Different Size Used for Different Thumbnail

Based on the organization, size of thumbnail differs, here are few examples:

Google’s Search Image

A size of 177 pixel is recommended if a user is creating a desktop version of thumbnail for Google’s search image. Smaller thumbnails also can be used.


Their thumbnails size is 200 pixel in height with dynamic width. They are generally used on the home page or start page. Amazon uses various thumbnail sizes for various applications. Preview images on category pages are 150 pixels high.


The desktop thumbnail images on YouTube have a size of 210 x118 pixels on the start page. The video suggestions that appears on the right side of a running video has a thumbnail dimensions of 168 x 94 pixels.


Pinterest’s image width is fixed at 236 pixels. Depending on the screen width of the user, more or less images are adjusted next to each other.

Why One Uses Thumbnails?

The biggest advantage that a thumbnail image offers is its reduced size compared to its original size. A website will have a remarkably faster loading times if the range of image and the video content in basically displayed in the form of thumbnails. It is the choice of the user for which content he/she wants more information and it can be obtained by clicking on the thumbnail. When a thumbnail is clicked, it directs the user to the linked url.

The thumbnails small file size makes it possible for website designers to provide visitors a lot of content suddenly without increasing the loading time of the page.

Advantages of Thumbnail

Advantages of Thumbnail
Advantages of Thumbnail

Below are few advantages of thumbnail –

Space Savers

As the thumbnails are smaller preview of the original image, more information and media may be covered on the same screen space.


Images are easy to notice and specific ones can be identified easily even when they are in large numbers. For the users to quickly find the way around, thumbnail structures a website.


By clicking on the thumbnail, they engage their users with the website. Basically, thumbnails are generated automatically by search engines, image editing programs and image management programs. For browsing the mobile, the smaller file size of thumbnails are used especially.

Where are Thumbnails Used?

The thumbnail images are everywhere on the internet such as You Tube or in Google’s search image. Online shops also use thumbnails in order to display most of their products simultaneously on shop pages. When a user clicks on a product, the original image appears in a new window along with the product details and specifications.

YouTube Thumbnails

Youtube Thumbnail
Youtube Thumbnail

In YouTube, the thumbnails attract the attention of the viewer in couple of seconds and encourage them to click on the video. The views count on the YouTube and hence the thumbnails play a vital role. As per a YouTuber, a successful preview page is the best way to gain clicks, views and possibly new subscribers.

While the thumbnails serve mainly as placeholders for images, YouTubers can use them for various purposes as well. A thumbnail on the YouTube is as useful as a cinema poster to advertise videos which appeal to viewers. Main aim is to be noticeable from the crowd even when it is available in small advertisement spaces in Youtube search.

A YouTube thumbnail is usually the first thing viewers look when browsing on YouTube. The thumbnail impression is the best impression and hence, it is important to make the thumbnail as much as engageable.

Here are few point to keep in mind while designing the thumbnail for YouTube –

  • Grab attention of the thumbnail
  • Keep a consistent style across all the thumbnails for a YouTube channel
  • YouTube thumbnail size is 1280 x 720 and hence one can make a attractive full sized thumbnails.
  • Check the thumbnails on all the devices
  • Put text on your thumbnails
  • Thumbnails can have images apart from screengrabs from the video

Thumbnails in Google Search Image

Thumbnail in google search image
Thumbnail in Google Search Image

Google search uses thumbnails rather than full size images which means that one can present a large number of various images to the users at once. When clicked on one of the thumbnail image, it displays further information and if it requires, it can direct the user is directly to the source website.

Thumbnails in GIF

When compared to video thumbnails, the thumbnail images for GIF animations are much simpler. As the GIF’s are short video loops, text and other elements of design are usually not available. These Gif images work like motionless thumbnails.

Thumbnails in Online Shops

Thumbnails in online shops are useful to display various products on one single page without slow down the loading speed. The category of overview is also available in the form of thumbnail images. This page takes users to product pages, which in turn has product thumbnails. You can open the original page by clicking on the product thumbnails and further information about the product is easily available to you. Here, they facilitate orientation on the respective page.

Designing a Thumbnail

The design of the thumbnails depend on how often a video or an image get clicks. There are certain things that requires attention while creating a thumbnail, it all depends on the how one builds the web presence. There is a minor difference between preview images and video thumbnails is very small. Normally, the video thumbnails are comparatively more complex as they contains more content. For the viewer to click, the thumbnail should match the content.

Below are some of the steps on how to design a thumbnail –

  1. To use meaningful colors.
  2. An easy way to reach the viewer is to add face.
  3. To attract the viewer’s attention, use action shots.
  4. Add a small introduction about the video.
  5. With the help of the logo, it increases the recognition value.

Below are few steps which makes a good thumbnail image by the creators –

  1. They use thumbnail like a movie poster for the video.
  2. Show a detailed picture which fits the topic.
  3. They add title or keywords to the image.
  4. Increase the value of recognition with a logo in the upper left corner.

How to Create a Thumbnail Image?

Now there are indefinite tools available online that can create thumbnails for you without any fuss. However, if you to ode it yourself, you can do it with the help of <img> element and wrapping an <a> element around it. One should style the image with a border and add a hover effect. Below is an example of creating a thumbnail image –


Img {

Border: 1px solid #ddd; /* Gray border */

Border -radius: 4px; /* Rounded border */

Padding: 5px; /* Some padding*/

Width: 150px /* Set a small width */


/* Add a hover effect (blue shadow) */

Img: hover (

Box-shadow: 0 0 2px 1px rgba (0, 140, 186, 0.5);




<a target = “_blank” href = “img_forest.jpg”>

<img src = “img_forest.jpg” alt= “forest”>



Legality of Thumbnails

The copyright law is applicable to thumbnails along with original pictures. To avoid possible copyright issues, it is important to notice the rules of image rights in the internet. Thus, if an image we wish to use is not available under a free license then one must get the author’s permission.

The thumbnail is an important part of total optimization, one can rank high in search results. Hence, one should get them right. To conclude, one should create a beautiful thumbnail that attracts the viewer’s attention to the videos.

Read Also:
The Google Doodle – Eligibility, Entry, Submission, Evaluation, Award
Task Manager – Mac Activity Monitor, How to Launch Task Manager in Mac
Chakrasthitha is a B.E (Medical Electronics) and has work experience in MatLab and Lab View Software as Design Engineer at BCS innovations and Manipal hospital as Biomedical Engineer. She is an author, editor and partner at Electricalfundablog.


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