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How to include local and remote images in React

Mar 19, 2022Abhishek EH3 Min Read
How to include local and remote images in React

In this article, we will see the recommended way to import local images into a react component and display them. We will also see how to display remote images and images as a background.

Project setup

First, create a react app using the following command:

1npx create-react-app react-images

Add the following styles to index.css, so that the image appears in the center of the screen:

1.App {
2 height: 100vh;
3 display: flex;
4 justify-content: center;
5 align-items: center;
6 gap: 12px;

Including remote images

Including remote image is like how we include images in normal HTML pages:

1function App() {
2 return (
3 <div className="App">
4 <img
5 src=""
6 alt="lake"
7 width={640}
8 height={427}
9 />
10 </div>
11 )
14export default App

Always ensure that you provide:

  • an alt property, which describes the image and helps in accessibility and SEO.
  • width and height properties, which help in avoiding Cumulative Layout Shifts, which in turn provides better user experience and boosts SEO.

Including local images

Your first guess to include a local image would be to place it in the current directory, or in a folder called images and refer to it as shown below:

1<img src="./lake.jpg" alt="lake" width="{640}" height="{427}" />

This approach would not work, because here we are referring to the image file as ./lake.jpg, which means we are trying to find lake.jpg in the current directory. However, in react, the current directory (in this case) is public directory and we do not have lake.jpg there.

One way to fix this is to move lake.jpg to public directory. But the recommended approach is to import the image like a component, as shown below:

1import lake from "./lake.jpg"
3function App() {
4 return (
5 <div className="App">
6 <img
7 src=""
8 alt="lake"
9 width={640}
10 height={427}
11 />
12 <img src={lake} alt="lake" width={640} height={427} />
13 </div>
14 )
17export default App

If you inspect the browser, you will see that the image URL is something similar to the one shown below:

inspect local image

Each time the application is built, the URL will be unique and this will ensure that if the image changes, the latest image is loaded for the users who have previously visited the site and haven't cleared their browser cache.

Including background images

If you want to include the image as a background image, you can use the following code:

1import lake from "./lake.jpg"
3function App() {
4 return (
5 <div className="App">
6 <div
7 style={{ backgroundImage: `url(${lake})`, width: 640, height: 427 }}
8 ></div>
9 </div>
10 )
13export default App

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