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Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10.0 review: Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10.0

Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10.0

Susan Glinert Stevens
4 min read

Digital Image Suite, Microsoft's comprehensive set of photo-management tools, has a lot to offer the entry-level photographer. All of the applications--Microsoft Digital Image Library (organizer), Digital Image Pro (image editor), and Photo Story 2.0 (simple video creator)--are equipped with loads of features, slick interfaces, and seamless help for newcomers. None of the programs take more than five minutes to master, and the entire suite, which encompasses just about every potential use for a digital photo, is a bargain at $99. Note that the typical install takes 380MB--and that's without clip art, which can be accessed from the second CD in the set.


Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10.0

The Good

Simple interface; solid image-editing and image-organizing tools; a wealth of clever photo projects.

The Bad

Takes a minimum of 380MB of disk space; lukewarm animation and photo-sharing features.

The Bottom Line

A reasonably priced suite of programs that is a snap to master.

When you first load Digital Image Library, the program searches your computer for photos, then drops them into a folder view on the left side of the screen. The main desktop area displays image thumbnails, while a small information panel takes up the bottom of the screen. As you browse through the folder panel, you can opt to show all the images found on your system or choose specific folders. A few buttons scattered about the main window let you increase thumbnail size, change the display order of the images, and add more pictures to your library.

Digital Image Library's simple interface is easy to learn.

Digital Image Library lets you organize your files to your liking. Images may be sorted by a wide range of critera, including keyword, date, size, file type, event, or camera. You can flag individual thumbnails with keywords such as for review or needs touch-up, and the program's default list of tags can be easily customized. The information associated with a thumbnail is displayed on the bottom of the screen and is editable by clicking an individual entry. We give Digital Image Library's interface a perfect score; it's polished and intuitive, and we never had to consult a help file to figure out how to use it.

Add, delete, edit, and assign keywords with a single dialog box.

Perhaps most importantly, Digital Image Library provides tools for archiving your photos. When you select the Archive button on the toolbar, a wizard appears to help you select photos and choose an archive destination: CD, DVD, or an external hard drive, for example. The program also allows you to schedule automatic backup reminders, so you'll never forget to safeguard your photo library.

To touch up an image, launch Digital Image Pro from the Start bar, or right-click a thumbnail and select Edit Picture. Even though all of Digital Image Pro's tweaks, effects, and project options are accessible from the Menu bar, we found the program's Common Tasks panel--located on the left side of the display--to provide easier access to most tools you'll need while editing.

To adjust your image, use Digital Image's toolbox. There's a standard array of automatic fixes for contrast, color, and exposure, as well as a selection of manual controls for sharpening, red-eye reduction, and the removal of wrinkles or scratches. Sophisticated tools, including layering, transparency, and a panorama-stitch wizard, allow you to do more than make a pretty picture. You'll also find a few artistic special effects and several preset borders and shapes to add to your image. These tools are accompanied by unobtrusive wizardlike walkthroughs that take the guesswork out of image editing.

Adding special effects is simple and effective.

One of Digital Image's most amusing features is its Project mode, a collection of photo-related activities that can easily distract you for hours. There are hundreds of projects; you can use your photos to create playing cards, magazine covers, stationery sets, labels, stickers, awards, albums, cards, flyers--you get the idea. We detoured from writing this review long enough to make a 12-month calendar and several sets of postcards. The process is so basic that almost anyone can slap these together in a few minutes. The template designs are attractive, if a bit simple, but they can be modified to suit your individual tastes.

We were less impressed with Photo Story, which lets you generate an animated, narrated filmstrip out of a series of static photographs. Entirely wizard-driven, the process begins by selecting the pictures you want to use. The next screen asks you to record a narrative; as you speak, you move the mouse to point out important areas of the image, then step to the next photo in the series. The program automatically generates panning and zooming from your mouse movements, but you can also manually specify which effects you want and when you'd like them to occur. Next, you set up the title page for the show and optionally add background music. Finally, you select the quality and encoding settings for the show before saving it. The process is fairly straightforward, but the resulting presentation didn't thrill us; still, if you want to tell a story and send it to friends and family, it's a perfectly adequate option.

All in all, Microsoft Digital Image Suite is an excellent value. Its sharing features are a bit thin, but if you're looking for tools to help you organize, archive, and edit your digital photo library, Digital Image Suite offers those functions. What's more, it wraps them up in a graceful interface that's simple for beginners to grasp and operate.


Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10.0

Score Breakdown

Setup 7Features 6Performance 7Support 4