Thursday, August 20, 2009

How to create a Flickr slideshow (on Blogger) of any set of photos you want

Or, how to customize Blogger's Slideshow gadget...

Or, how to add an RSS Feed to a Blogger Slideshow...

Oh you say, you can do that really easily by going to Flickr, setting up a set of photos and then choosing Slideshow, and then clicking Share. Poof, there's your embed code, no problem.

Hmm. But that doesn't fit in a Blogger sidebar. Nor does it start automatically. It's not nearly as nice as Blogger's Slideshow gadget.

So how do you get Blogger's Slideshow gadget to show only the photos from a particular Flickr set? Maybe you have
several different blogs and you want each one to feature photos from a different set on Flickr.

If you choose Flickr in Blogger's Slideshow gadget, you can then choose a Flickr username or a keyword, but not both.

The answer lies in Flickr RSS feeds.

An RSS feed is way of subscribing to an often-changing Web site, like a blog, or a frequently updated Flickr set. It's a text file, and generally you link to it by referencing its URL.

Flickr automatically creates RSS feeds for your entire photostream, for each of your photo sets and groups, for your contacts' photos, even for each tag. You can also customize an RSS feed to include only those photos from a particular person with a particular tag.

Once you find (or customize) the Flickr RSS feed that includes the photos you want, you'll add it to the Blogger Slideshow gadget. You'll also need a bit of extra code, which I'll explain shortly.

Let's begin by using the RSS feed from a particular photo set. Go to Flickr and display the desired set. It can be a set that you created, or a set that someone else created. The RSS feed will only include public photos.

When you display a set, you'll see the index photo for the set to the left, and thumbnails of each photo in the set in a group to the right.

Viewing a set

Scroll down to the bottom of the page until you see the RSS feed icon:

RSS feed link

Right-click (on Windows) or Control-click (on a Mac) the Feed link and choose Copy Link Location (or whatever your browser calls it). You've now got most of the RSS feed. It'll look something like this:

In a perfect world, you should be able to open Blogger's Slideshow gadget, choose Other for Source, and then paste in the RSS Feed code in the Feed box. Unfortunately, it doesn't work.

Fortunately, Rick Klau at Blogger sent me the solution (provided to him by Brett Wiltshire, a Blogger engineer): append &format=rss_200 to the end of the feed code.

The RSS feed URL will then look like this:

Go to Blogger, click Layout under the desired blog, and then click "Add a Gadget".

Blogger :: Add a Gadget

Choose Slideshow from the list that appears.

Blogger: Slideshow

In the Blogger Slideshow box, choose Other from the Source box. (You'd think you'd want to choose Flickr, but you'd be wrong.)

RSS Feed Choose Other

Next, paste the RSS feed into the Feed URL box. Make sure you append &format=rss_200 to the end of what you copied from Flickr.

RSS Feed Choose Other after

Note: A couple of my photo set feeds didn't work. When I wrote Rick and Brett again, they told me that sometimes you have to append &format=rss2 instead. And indeed, that solved the problem.

You'll know if the feed is working because Blogger will show a preview of the slideshow right in the dialog box.

And you're done. Now you can create a Blogger Slideshow from any photo set from any Flickr user!

Next, I'll explain how to customize the Flickr RSS feeds to use tags, usernames, and sets.

(Thanks Rick and Brett!)


  1. Can I modify the script to use in SharePoint as a rolling slide show? instead of the out of the box photo viewer?

  2. OH I LOOOOOVEEE UUUUUU! You have no idea how loooong I looked and finally found your page (dont ask how)I APRECIATE the time you took to post this I wasted all day looking, visit my blog any time:

  3. Hi Giovanna, I'm so glad you found it! Your site and your paintings are beautiful.

  4. After googling my ass off about this, you actually solved my problem. You can checkout my London Reviews slideshow at my blog now!

  5. Thank you soooo much for this!!

  6. Thank you, this was really helpfull. I couldn't understand why the flickr option doesn't work. Also I didn't need to add this format_rss2 part, it was already in the adress

  7. thank you, thank you, thank you!

  8. This solved all my problems. You did an awesome job explaining it clearly. Thank you!

  9. Thank you SOOO much for posting this - you have no idea how long I messed around with trying to get just one set to play on Blogger! I never would have figured it out!
    Worked perfectly!! :)

  10. Very clearly written. Works, too. Thanks. Haiti slides are up

  11. Thank you so much! These instructions were clear and exactly what I was looking for.

  12. Thanks for this post. Does the blogger slideshow gadget only allow 20 photos? I have 44 in the flickr set and only 20 show up? Thanks

  13. Thanks for the instructions!

    greetings from the Netherlands!


  14. Thanks for this - it worked a treat on my blog

  15. Awesome -- that last appendage worked for me. Cheers.

  16. Bless you indeed!

    Thanks a lot for the tip! :)

  17. Thanks! The clear writing and great pictures of this tutorial really helped me set up a one-set slideshow.

  18. Absolutely great! Just what I was looking for. Thank you!

  19. Thank you so very much! So glad I came across your blog and clear instructions on how to make the slideshows work on Blogger using sets from Flickr. Thank you for your help! Cheers!

  20. thankyou so much! it has taken me quite a few days to try and get my slideshow to work! Then I googled and found your website!! Thankyou so much!!!!!!! :)

  21. Thank you for this post! I found it through Google and was just what I needed to add my Flickr set to my blog. Thanks!!

  22. This was excellent! I have a book blog and couldn't figure out why the book covers weren't showing up- this did the trick!

  23. Thank you! This was incredibly helpful!!

  24. Thank you as well. Tried other ways with no success. Also, is there a way to make the photos show up larger? Thank you.

  25. You are my new best friend! Thank you so much!

  26. Thank you, is there a way to customize the size of the flickr' slideshow on blogger?

  27. I Thank You a million Times i was just looking for this :-)

  28. YOU ROCK!!!!! I was about to give up after trying numerous blog/youtube video instructions, and then I bumped into your blog and you saved the day. THANK YOU!!!! Now, I'm trying to figure out how to add an "About" page that actually works.

  29. Wonderfull! It works perfectly great! Thanks for your help!

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