General discussion

8/6/05 Simple solutions for organizing your digital photos

Thank you for all the submissions this week. I encourage all of you who have more recommendations or questions on this topic to post below in this thread. This way we can all learn the best way we can get our digital photos nice and organized.

Thanks again everyone!
-Lee Koo
CNET Community


Hi, CNETers! I hope you can help me out. I've been saving
digital photos on my XP system for about three years. Now they
are scattered throughout my hard drive, and I can never find
one when I want to (I'll admit, I'm unorganized). I'm open to
any solution or tips (with or without the help of a good
software utility) that will help me organize my pictures. I
need something simple so that my mother can click through them
when she visits. Thanks.

--Submitted by: Dusty K. of Baltimore, Maryland

(Answers by members are found in the thread below.)

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Picasa is great but

Picasa is great, but when it comes down to making a collage, it lacks versatility. Microsoft picture it has it beat hands down. Non of them have it all together yet.

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cutting peoples ideas and heop down is the dumb thing to do!

The Google program is great but knowing different ways is better. He also taught the people who don't understand about computers how to organize and make thumbnails. You show your incompetence when you put others down.

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The quick way

Get a product like Picasa2 which will search for all common picture formats and display them in folders in its own browser where you can view them, tweak them and print them or organise them into a new directory while you browse through them in the the thumbnail viewer. It took me an afternoon to find all 10,000 photos on my hard disk, get them into one directory tree and back them all up to cd-roms.

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Picasa was great the first time I installed it ...

It found all the photos on my computer. Alot I didn't even know I had. My question is how do I get Picasa to rescan my computer and find new pictures or can that be done? When I download from my camera the pictures goes into the camera's folder. I want to get them into Picasa too but don't know anything about moving folders. Also I have scanned pictures into picasa but when I try to save them to a folder, it erases the folder with every new picture. I have to make a seperate folder for each picture I scan in and then go in and move the pictures into the same folder. Does this make sense to anybody. That's one thing I dislike about free software, is the directions aren't all that great for a new beginner.

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A couple of suggestions

If you are going to do it this way, then you probably want to use ctrl key when clicking. Shift allows you to pick a range of continuous files. Ctrl allows you to click one at a time to add it to the files selected.

The other suggestion is to clear your internet cache before you do this so you are not looking at hundreds of web page inmages. (In IE click tools - internet options - delete files - check "delete all offline content" - OK)

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Simple solutions for organizing your digital photos

Why go through all the bother of making new folders and such. Now on your desk top there is a selection called My Documents. Click on My Documents and there is a folder already there that says My Pictures. Problem solved!

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Organizing Photos on the hard drive

Another option that I found to be useful is Picasa 2. It can be downloaded from Google. It searches your hard drive and automatically organizes your photos in such a manner that allows you to see folders and files within those folders.

I have not used it enough to know whether or not you can add captions and search your photos using criteria that can be found in those captions.

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Copy? Why not cut?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't cutting and pasting make more sense than copying. Copying would double the amount of hard disc space used for these files and since there were 3 years worth that could be significant. Even if you have a large hard drive it makes sense to keep it lean and mean.

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copy before you cut

It is possible to lose a file by hitting the wrong key. After all files are copied then cut all that have been copied. Just an extra precaution for us with alzheimer's.

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Goofproof Image Management


well, that's the reason why I like It's designed to be "goof-proof". Not only can you undo any action (including deleting things), it NEVER deletes the original image.

Also, if you make modifications to your images (such as cropping, color corrections and other edits) - it saves those actions in a "stack". Even months later you can take back any of your actions - or you can copy the entire stack of actions to other/similar images.

And, the stack is revisable, that means you can tweak any of your actions in case some pictures need "individual" attention.

Ideally, software should know about our typical mistakes - and try to protect us.

Best Regards

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Use Picasa 2

Without going through all that hassle, Picasa will solve your problems.

When you run it for the first time, it will search and find all your pictures.See it workign!!! It will scan your H.D. and detect a photo anytime a new picture is added. You don't have to do a thing, just download it, install it, and start using it.

Immediately, you will see al your photos, arranged by folders.

You can add keywords, edit them, move them, create posters, and much more.

It has many features for intermediate users, like directly posting to blogs form Picasa and sending photos through e-mail.

Give it a try, you will NOT be disappointed.

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Photoshop Elements 3

I have the above program installed on my new Media Center Computer and have made some use of it.
Would there be any duplication or conflict if I were to add Picasa to the mix?

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Using Picasa

I have Picasa and used it to find all of my photos on my computer and other drives. Some of them were repeated many times, since they were on various drives. My question is, how can I pare down to just one copy of each photo on Picasa? I have been very intimidated by it and am afraid to try something that might mess things up.

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If you see dupes, just delete one of them. There are two ways.
1 Click it (to SELECT) and hit the Delete key. Then confirm.
2 Right click and select Delete from Disc, click

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Find/Remove Duplicate Photo Files

I had a lot of duplicate files too. I think you have to go back to Harley's method.

The camera saved my files as IMG_nnnn.JPG. I used explorer to search for IMG*.jpg. Then sorted by date. I did this and deleted files with the same date, size, and name. If there were two files with different sizes but same date and time they were different files. I looked and checked them to be sure.

Time consuming but it did work. As I worked through my list (18,000 files) I started renaming them (NatchezTraceAug22_0010.JPG or BajaMar25_0010.JPG). With the renaming I could then search by name and sort into folders and copy to CD.

I like being able to define my own naming process

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Find/Remove Duplicate Photo Files (UniqueFiler)

I have thousands of pictures on my HD and it is time consuming to actually try to look for duplicate images in each folder. (I have the folders organized in categories). My suggestion is using a third party software that looks for duplicate files. I use UniqueFiler ( which actually looks into the pictures and compares them to find duplicates. It also works for audio and video files which is great.

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Removing Identical Files

Deleting files based on the parameters defined below can be dangerous. You need to verify that they are truly identical.

I use IMATCH from Photools. Among many other things that it does, it checks to be sure that the files are really identical based on the CRC code for the file.

I use FileMonkey to rename my files. This enables sophisticated renaming to be done easily. Compared to this, the batch rename in Adobe Elements which I used to use in feeble.


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duplicate files data etc.

I would appreceiate some help in in fnding an inexpensive way to find dup. files not only for photos.

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Yes it also find files under hidden folders

Thanks for your comments

Yes there is an option for hidden files/folders download the trial version and check yourself.

Thanks once again

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duplicat photoes in My Picture folder

When I click on a photo to delete from file, I go thru allthe correct procedures, but instead of deleting the photoes, it makes more copies. After many many times of trying to delete just one picture, I had 210 copies. It reads 120th copy of a copy of a copy oc a copy etc etc. How can I delete these unwanted photo's?

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MS Search, Picasa2, or Try PaintShop Photo Album 5

I have been into the computer and the Internet for over 20 years and into photography for longer than that. Finding the best "photobase," or photo database, was always a problem. I have tried the original method described here and still do for short searches. However, I think that Picasa2 is a great "free" cataloging program for photos that also allows you to fix, or adjust each photo to your liking. I used it for some time, until I discovered that I was unable to fine-tune the catagories, or keywords that one uses in finding their shots after creating the photobase. That's when I tried PhotoShop Album 2 and then PaintShop Photo Album 5 (PSPA5), settling on the latter over the "free" Picasa2. The reason. PSPA5, and again I am referring to someone who may wish to fine-tune their search capabilities later on, has a feature called "Keywords," which allows you to create your own catagories and sub catagories such as COLOR > Red, Blue, Green - and LOCATION > Home > Living room, Kitchen, Bedroom. You can go as deeply as you wish. When you do a search later on, this makes it possible to, for instance, type in "Blue" and "Kitchen" and come up with as many of your photos that meet that combined description. It certainly allows you more freedom, but additional some work in advance, but I think it's worth it. One major hitch, for those who want everything for "free" as much as I do, but who is willing to try to save up for it, PSPA5 costs about $49.

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Rapid Reminder Pro 2006

I recommend that you get a copy of Rapid Reminder Pro 2006 available from This software will allow you to organise your digital pictures regardless where they are stored on your hard drive. You can create organised digital albums for your contacts, your Profiles, in fact anything at all. It is also reminder software and comes with some excellent features.

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Organizing Photos

You suggested creating a new folder; however, this method would double the number of pictures you have on your PC and put many items on the desktop, slowing down the system.

I am sure I have thousands of photos on my PC. I have created various folders in "My Pictures" directory to cover varying items: Work, Play (camping, birthday parties, trips), etc.

It would be good to have a way to remove exact photo duplicates.

Any ideas?

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Linda, I just posted another to Harley's idea elsewhere - to summarize: Do a cut & paste instead of a copy and paste. It's also a good idea to back up you photos (and data)! If you have a CD burner that is one of the easiest methods.

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Dusty's question on organizing photos

I have additional suggestions to Harley's excellent response. After you have captured all your photos in one file, and assuming that after 3 years you might have accumulated 4000 photos, you really need to organize them further: akin to the subject catalog file in the library (does anybody go to the library anymore?). A few examples:

I have created additional folders under My Pictures with the following names: Family, Friends, "My Business", Alaska, Nepal, Kayaking.

Now, assuming Dusty is a doting parent or grandparent and has some 403 photos of kids or grandkids, create another folder by names of the kids or by the year the photos were taken, or a combination of the two: Kids 2001; Kids 2002, etc. Under the Kids 2002 folder you can name individual pictures by their activity (Birthday party) or add 1, 2, 3, suffix numbers to the names of the children: Buster1, Buster2; Annie3, Annie4, etc.

Assuming the family goes on vacation and takes lots of pictures, create folders under vacation placenames. Create additional folders for other activities to fit your life style.

I use Windows Explorer (not to be confused with Internet Explorer) to view my Desktop breakdown on the left side of the screen. Now, with the photo file opened to see the thumbnails of your pictures, drag them and drop them into the appropriate folder. Then, when your mother comes she can quickly find the section under Kids (and her Grandkids), or check out your latest vacation photos.

Once this folder/sub-folder list is created, it is a simple act to Save As your photo directly into the appropriate folder.

Hope this helps.

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Photo Organization tool

I purchased a program called ACD 7. It works great is not too expensive and you can also do some editing of your photos with it. Nancy

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Organizing pictures

Hi Dusty

What about to try download Picasa2 from the Web. I do have a friend who takes lots of pictures. After my experience with Picasa2 she is now more than happy to use this program which is free to download from:

Good luck to you with organizing you pictures

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lost and scattered photo's

Harley answered the question with the same answer as I was going to submit.So well done Harley its the best and most thorough way I know

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Photo orgainizing on the computer

The answer that was submitted has one fault. With the use of Digital Camera's sometimes the camera names the photo the same. Example DCP_0001.JPG. Everytime the camera is emptied the first photo on the card is DCP_001.JPG. If you were to do as instructed and move all the photo's, even if there are 30 photo's named DCP_0001.JPG the computer will overwrite these files leaving you with only one. And deleting the remaining.

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Photo orgainizing on the computer

The answer that was submitted has one fault. With the use of Digital Camera's sometimes the camera names the photo the same. Example DCP_0001.JPG. Everytime the camera is emptied the first photo on the card is DCP_001.JPG. If you were to do as instructed and move all the photo's, even if there are 30 photo's named DCP_0001.JPG the computer will overwrite these files leaving you with only one. And deleting the remaining.

My suggestion is to go to the search window and type in (.JPG) this will bring up all the .jpg's. If you put the thumbnail view up you will be able to see the photo. In winXP you can select several photo's do a right click and rename them. Then you can right and send to folder of your choice.

What I do is have a digital photo file on my computer and have years dated and then months inside of the year folders. Helps with the orgainizing for sure.

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