1.2.7 • Public • Published

Dynamic caption plugin for PhotoSwipe v5

> Plugin demo <

The plugin can automatically position the text below or aside depending on the available space. For small to medium sized captions. And only for images with the default fit scale mode.

For accessibility, make sure that important captions are always available without PhotoSwipe - either use an alt attribute on thumbnails or aria-labelledby.


The plugin has a single JS file photoswipe-dynamic-caption-plugin.esm.js (UMD version is in the dist/ folder) and a single CSS file photoswipe-dynamic-caption-plugin.css. Include them directly or via with npm:

npm i photoswipe-dynamic-caption-plugin --save

It can be initialized like this:

<script type="module">
import PhotoSwipeLightbox from 'photoswipe/dist/photoswipe-lightbox.esm.js';
// or 'photoswipe-dynamic-caption-plugin' if using package manager
import PhotoSwipeDynamicCaption from '';

const lightbox = new PhotoSwipeLightbox({
  gallerySelector: '#gallery',
  childSelector: '.pswp-gallery__item',
  pswpModule: () => import('photoswipe/dist/photoswipe.esm.js'),

  // Optional padding for images,
  // note that this is an option of PhotoSwipe, not a plugin
  paddingFn: (viewportSize) => {
    return {
      top: 30, bottom: 30, left: 70, right: 70

const captionPlugin = new PhotoSwipeDynamicCaption(lightbox, {
  // Plugins options, for example:
  type: 'auto',

// make sure you init photoswipe core after plugins are added
<link rel="stylesheet" href="">

Also refer the source of the demo page - index.html.

Plugin options

captionContent: '.pswp-caption-content'

Used to retrieve caption content.

Can be a selector of the element from which caption content will be retrieved, if the element is not found - the plugin will try to use the thumbnail image alt attribute.

<a href="path/to/large-image.jpg" data-pswp-width="1024" data-pswp-height="768">
  <img src="path/to/thumbnail.jpg" alt="" />
  <span class="pswp-caption-content">Caption content</span>

Or a function that should return caption content. For example:

captionContent: (slide) => {

type: 'auto'

Position type of the caption, can be 'auto', 'below', or 'aside'.

  • 'below' - caption will always be place below the image
  • 'aside' - caption will always be placed to the right side of the image
  • 'auto' - the plugin will try to automatically determine the best position (depending on available space)

mobileLayoutBreakpoint: 600

Maximum window width at which mobile layout should be used, or a function that should return true if mobile layout should be used. For example:

mobileLayoutBreakpoint: (pswp, captionPlugin) => {
  return (window.innerWidth < 750);

horizontalEdgeThreshold: 20

When caption x position is less than this value, it'll get class pswp__dynamic-caption--on-hor-edge. You may use it to apply different styling, such as horizontal padding.

mobileCaptionOverlapRatio: 0.3

A ratio defines the amount of horizontal empty space before the mobile caption switches to "overlap" layout. For example, if it's set to 0.3 - the caption will start overlapping the image when more than 30% of horizontal space is not occupied by an image. If you set it to 0 - the caption will always overlap. If you set it to 1 - the caption will always shift the image (unless it's taller than viewport).

verticallyCenterImage: false

If enabled, the image will always be vertically centered in the remaining space between caption and the rest of viewport. If set to false (default value) - the image will lift up only if caption does not fit below.


The caption has class pswp__dynamic-caption.

It can be in one of these states:

  • Below the main image - pswp__dynamic-caption--below.
  • Right side of the main image - pswp__dynamic-caption--aside.
  • "Mobile" (by default just pinned to bottom) - pswp__dynamic-caption--mobile

If the caption is near left horizontal edge - it gets class pswp__dynamic-caption--on-hor-edge.

Feel free to adjust styles in the plugin CSS file (and use media queries if you need):

.pswp__dynamic-caption--aside {
  max-width: 300px;
  padding: 20px 15px 20px 20px;
  margin-top: 70px;
.pswp__dynamic-caption--below {
  max-width: 700px;
  padding: 15px 0 0;
.pswp__dynamic-caption--mobile {
  background: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.5);
  padding: 10px 15px;

How 'auto' positioning works

  • Check if there is more horizontal or vertical free space around the image.
  • If there is more free vertical space:
    • Set caption width to the width of the image
    • Add pswp__dynamic-caption--below class, so size can also be adjusted via CSS.
    • Measure caption height.
    • Check if caption will fit without any adjustments of image position.
      • If it does - just show the caption below the image.
      • If it doesn't - reduce pan area height by the height of caption.
  • If there is more horizontal space:
    • Add pswp__dynamic-caption--aside class, so size can be adjusted via CSS.
    • Measure caption width.
    • Check if caption will fit on the right side without any adjustments of image position.
      • If it does - just show the caption aside of the image.
      • If it doesn't - reduce pan area width by the width of caption.

If mobileLayoutBreakpoint requirements are met:

  • Measure caption height when it occupies 100% width.
  • Reduce pan area height to fit the caption below the image.
  • Check amount of free horizontal space after the adjustment.
  • If there is too much horizontal space (mobileCaptionOverlapRatio) - just overlap the caption and keep the image at the default position.



  • Requires PhotoSwipe 5.3.0.
  • Caption now moves with the slide when dragged (instead of fading in and out).
  • Each slide now has a separate DOM element (before there was only a single caption element that changed content).
  • No longer uses temporary caption to measure size.
  • You may now access caption and its data via dynamicCaption property of a slide. For example pswp.currSlide.dynamicCaption.


  • No longer adjusts main image padding. If you need to dynamically change padding based on the screen size - use PhotoSwipe option paddingFn (introduced in 5.1.61)
  • Caption receives class pswp__dynamic-caption--on-hor-edge when it's on horizontal edge (x position is less than threshold). Added option horizontalEdgeThreshold to control this.
  • Reworked mobile layout. Now the caption tries to not overlap the main image if there is an empty space below. Added option mobileCaptionOverlapRatio to control this.



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  • dimsemenov