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Reorganizing Pictures in Picasa
February 26, 2012
12:21 pm
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MrsGeek
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I have been muddled about folders and albums and have made on the tree my own sort of arrangement similar to how they are in My Pictures. On the flat view it looks like a total mess. If i want to start again and do it the way you show us in the lessons should I try tagging thousands of pictures ( huge job)or should I just uninstall Picasa and start all over again with a new leaf as it were.

 I expect if I do that I will lose any edits already applied but not exported back to My Pictures. It feels like a total spiders web.  Heeeeeeeelp!

message from Pamela

February 26, 2012
1:32 pm
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MrsGeek
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Pamela,

This is a 'muddle' that many people go thru.  Let me see if I can clear it up.  First lets get our words clear: Folder and Album.  They are two very different things.

Folder: this is the location in your computer where the picture files are physically located.  Usually in your My Pictures Folder, but it could be anywhere on your computer.  Even on an external hard drive.  Whatever folders are specified in Picasa's Folder Manager.  Picasa sees them there and works with them there. Picasa does NOT store your pictures, it is just your tool for working with them wherever they can be found.  If you think of a real library, with books on shelves, your folders are the physical bookshelves.  If you uninstall Picasa it will have NO effect on your folders of pictures, they exist outside of Picasa.  If I can take a small liberty with spelling, lets say that Folders are Fysical.

Album: this is an imaginary grouping of pictures created by Picasa.  It is simply a listing of pictures that you want to see grouped together.  The list is made up of pointers to the actual pictures in their folders.  There are no actual picture files located in Albums.  If you think of a real library, Albums would be like the card catalog.  In the card catalog you can see all the books whose title starts with an A.  But you know that the books themselves are not in the card catalog under A – that is just a listing of the actual book and one book can be listed several times in the card catalog – under A for the title, under the author's name, under a category etc.  With Picasa's Albums there are no actual pictures there.  Let's say that Albums are made up of thin Air.

So .. just to make it easy to remember:  Folders are Fysical, Albums are Air.

Ok, now – only Folders can have a tree structure.  On your computer, you can have a folder within My Pictures for National Parks, and within National Parks you can have folders for Grand Canyon, Everglades, and Yosemite.  Then a similar folder structure for Presidential Museums. In Tree view that would look like:

Folders in Tree View

My Pictures
  National Parks
      Everglades
      Grand Canyon
      Yosemite
  Presidential Museums
      Roosevelt
      Eisenhower
      Carter 

So, if you have your folders all organized and nested in a way that makes sense to you.  My recommendation is just to stick with Tree View.  The reason for Flat View is to be more flexible – it is just a View – it doesn't move your physical folders around.  In Flat view, Picasa ignores the parent folders … you don't see a folder called My Pictures or a Folder called National Parks or Presidential Museums because they don't actually have any pictures inside them.  The pictures are in the folders called Everglades, Grand Canyon etc.  Flat view would look like:

Alphabetical sort on Flat View
Carter
Eisenhower
Everglades
Grand Canyon
Roosevelt
Yosemite

That's in alphabetical sort order.  However, what if you went to Yosemite and the Carter museum in 2011 and the other parks and museums in previous years.  Flat view allows you to also sort them by date:

Date sort on Flat View
Yosemite 2011
Carter 2011
Everglades 2010
Grand Canyon 2009
Eisenhower 2009
Roosevelt 2008 

You can't do that in Tree View, because if you ask for the folder tree structure then Picasa has to show you Everglades under National Parks, not under Carter.  

Once again – if you like nesting your folders – just stick to Tree View.  I like the flexibility of Flat View, so I no longer nest my folders.  I put all pictures from February of 2012 in a folder called 201202, so it is a top level folder, not under a year or any other category.  See the video Tree Folder Structure

Tags and Albums: Now, with all my pictures physically in folders by month, I can use Tags/albums to mark ones that are pictures of National Parks or Presidential Museums.  Then, any time I want I can see all the presidential museum pictures, or the national park pictures grouped together in an Album.  I even delete albums when I'm done looking.  Remember Albums are just Air, the pictures are in their Folders.  Now … Tags are stored with the physical picture files and can therefore be used to create an Album at any time. See video Using Tags

Your Edits
Your edits are safe even if you uninstall Picasa.  Edits are stored in the same folder as the picture.  Edits are stored in a little overlay file called picasa.ini So, as long as you re-install Picasa and use it to view your pictures, you will see the edited version.  If you decide not to use Picasa any more, you can save the edits to the picture itself.  You can even do that whole folders at a time with the save folder button. See video How Picasa Handles Edits  and Ways to Save

Reorganizing your Pictures
If you agree with me and want to simplify your use of folders, you don't have to redo all the folders you already have.  But, just start doing it that way now.   I understand that going back and RE-organizing is a LOT of work.  For myself, I just know that before 2006 I used nested folders by my current sense of categories.  After 2006, I put every picture in a folder for the month it was taken.  In either case, I can go back and apply tags to all pictures that I may ever want to group together.

Whew!  Sorry about the longwindedness 🙂  It's just that I've explained this so many times that I have a lot of material!  If anyone else knows an easier way to explain it – please jump in!

Meanwhile, I'll work on designing a new video to cover this.

July 19, 2012
4:40 pm
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Priscilla Ware
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These are wonderful examples that clearly show the difference between Tree View, Flat View – alpha sort, and Flat View – date sort.  This example works for me better than your choir and families example.  However, a video would help a lot.  Another problem has to do with keeping a list of keywords I’ve used and getting rid of the keywords I no longer want.  Do you have some guidelines for building a good set of keywords?  I do try to only use singular and present tense to cut down on near duplicates.  Thanks for all you do!

July 21, 2012
8:13 am
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MrsGeek
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Thanks for the comments Priscilla!  I do try to come up with different analogies since I know that different ones will work with different people.  Someday soon, I want to make a whole series of videos on organizing – just like my series on Collages … a Short Course.

As for keywords – Picasa doesn’t give you enough tools (in my opinion) for working with them … “Tags” is what they’re called now – although Ctrl-K will still bring up the sidebar 🙂  There is no feature to show you a simple list of all the Tags you already have … that makes it oh-so-easy to Tag one picture with a different keyword than you’ve already established.  

If only Tags would have some more support in Picasa – they would actually be the BEST way to identify pictures.  forget about albums – cuz you can always ‘Show Tag as Album’  … IF they’re tagged correctly.  I don’t have any guidelines for building a good set – but that’s a great idea.  If you’ve come up with something I’d like to see it.

Tags is one area that I really like in Windows Live Photo Gallery.  You can easily view all your pictures By Tag.  When I want to work with tags on my pictures, I use Photo Gallery.  Tags are part of the .jpg file, so what you see in Photo Gallery is also the Tag in Picasa.

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