Scald: Media Management for Drupal


Until now, when people asked us how to handle media in Drupal, we recommended a couple of solutions:

  • A WYSIWYG module with the IMCE module
  • The Media module

However, lately we’ve started to experiment with Scald which promises to be a really interesting and powerful option.

Here’s our quick-start guide to help you start exploring the power of Scald.

Step #1. Download and enable

  • You’ll also see 6 providers. Scald can handle images, audio files and video files, depending on which of these modules you enable. If you want more providers, you can download them via this page.

Step #2. Add Scald to Drupal fields

Scald needs to be enabled for each Drupal field we want to use it with.

  • Go to Structure > Content types.
  • I’m going to edit my body field for the Basic page, so next I’ll click “Basic page” and then click “edit” next to Body.
  • In the settings for the body field you’ll see 4 different Scald setting. At least make sure to check the first two boxes and to change “Scald default context” to “Full page”.

Step 3. Upload media

  • Go to Add content > Basic Page.
  • You’ll now see a toolbar on the right-hand side of the site. The buttons are:
    • Library
    • Audio
    • Video
    • Flash
    • Image

I’m going to add an image, so I’ll click the last icon marked:

  • You’ll now see a pop-up screen when you can upload an image.
  • Follow the prompts through and click Finish.

Step 4. Insert media

  • Click the Library icon as marked:
  • You’ll now see the image you uploaded.
  • Click “Insert” next to your image.
  • You’ll now see a shortcode appear inside the Body field as in the image below:
  • Click Save and the image will show in your content:

More about Scald

One of the great things about Scald is that it treats each media item as an entity (or Atom in Scald terms).

Using Scald you can add all fields or features to media that would to the other content on your site.

One very practical example of this is that you can (by default) add authors and taxonomy terms to your media:


Go to Structure > Scald and you’ll see that each type of media (Audio, Video, Flash, Image) can have it’s own settings.

Let’s see one example of how useful this can be:

  • Go ahead and click on the “contexts” link next to one media type.

You’ll now see a series of different contexts and display formats:

  • Title
  • Full Page
  • Editor Representation
  • Preview Representation
  • Library Item

This allows you to control how the media is shown across different areas of your site.


Scald also has a powerful search feature that allows you to drill down through a large library of media:


There is much more to Scald than we’ve been able to describe in this short tutorial, but hopefully we’ve been able to open your eyes a little to potential available with Scald.


  • Steve Burge

    Steve is the founder of OSTraining. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. Steve's work straddles the line between teaching and web development.

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Jean-Francois Bohemier
Jean-Francois Bohemier
9 years ago

Wow, this is very interesting… Thanks for sharing 🙂

Alison Heaphy
Alison Heaphy
9 years ago

I have been experimenting with Scald as we are getting ready to convert our website to Drupal and wanted to be sure of which media/image management module to go with. There is a lack of good starter tutorials on Scald, so thank you for providing one. I like some aspects of Scald, such as it has one less step than the Media 2.x module in associating images with core drupal image styles. But for us right now the biggest drawback is its integration with a wysywyg editor. As you show above, yes, you can insert a scald image into a wysywyg, but unless I am missing something, no matter what context you choose in the text field setup, the only context that gets inserted into the wysywyg is the editor representation. I am able to manually change that in the wysywyg (if you can figure out the machine name for the context you want to use), but that is way too much to ask of a content provider. And, i can’t get any in-editor changes to size, etc, to take at all, it just goes back to the editor representation context. Media 2.x integration with an image button in the wysywyg is just much more straight forward for content providers.
If you have any other input on using Scald with wysywyg, would love to know, thanks. I can get it to work fine as an atom reference field with different contexts/displays, but we need to give our content providers some wysywyg image options too.

Tom Lambert
Tom Lambert
9 years ago
Reply to  Alison Heaphy

I’ve played fairly extensively with the main competitors: Media, Scald and Asset (which is not mentioned in the article, but which is a contender). The downside of Media is that version 2 is still in alpha and slowly progressing to a stable solution. The plus is that it uses the core entity system instead of creating a new entity system like Scald. Overall, I feel like Media probably has the brighter future and Asset may actually be the most stable, but the most deadend. Scald is somewhere in between on both scales. It would be great to see all three join forces, but because Scald doesn’t use the core entity system, that makes it hard.
All three are powerful. All three have their strengths. At least Scald and Media should only continue to improve and be every-stronger solutions. I go back and forth myself, but I think in the long run I find myself settling in on Media, with the understanding that it is definitely in flux and that brings frustrations.

Alison Heaphy
Alison Heaphy
9 years ago
Reply to  Tom Lambert

thanks for the input … so my remaining dilemma is which version of media 2.x to use? I don’t really want to use Media v1.4. Is it better to use the alpha3/oct 2013 release, or the latest dev release? which one do you think would have the easier upgrade path if they ever get to making the 2.x the recommended release?

Tom Lambert
Tom Lambert
9 years ago
Reply to  Alison Heaphy

I’m on alpha+37dev. There was major refactoring after that and so it doesn’t work with media multiselect (drag and drop multiple image upload). There are patches to get the current dev working with it, but they don’t work for me

Sylvain Moreau
Sylvain Moreau
9 years ago
Reply to  Alison Heaphy

Hi Alison,
If you use CKeditor as the Wysiwyg integration solution on your drupal instance (with the Ckeditor module, which has the same wysiwyg technical implementation as in Drupal 8 core), you will be able to change your context for inserted medias inside the wysiwyg.
For that, you have to enable the scald plugin in your Ckeditor profile.
After that, you will be able to change the context of a drag and dropped media by right clicking on the media, and use the “Edit Atom properties” modal. You can see a brief screencast about this feature here : [url=]…[/url]

Alison Heaphy
Alison Heaphy
9 years ago
Reply to  Sylvain Moreau

Thank Sylvain, can’t believe I didn’t think to check the ckeditor settings … that would be a great tip for OS Training to add to this tutorial too!

9 years ago
Reply to  Alison Heaphy

I am wracking my brains looking for a starter tutorial on how to upload Scald videos into CKEditor from a local harddrive. All “starter” tutorials are showing YouTube, Vimeo or still image uploading, and none of those tell me what I need to know about the 3 weird areas that show up in the video upload box that I am getting. Nor do any of them explain why my video titles never show up, why my video plays in a tiny thumbnail size rather than open up to a new page in its normal viewable size, and what that “drop resource” box is all about when uploading. There is also an odd comment about adding things “within a video” which implies that something can be added to an already rendered video??

In other words, while this “starter tutorial” is a good idea, it doesn’t go far enough.

Said Bakr
Said Bakr
8 years ago

How to deal with an extra field added to an atom? i.e description field to be found in the filter options of search?

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