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Published on 05.28.07 by Brent Trahan

Organize Your Digital Pictures in Windows Photo Gallery

Learn how to organize your digital pictures in Windows Photo Gallery included in Windows Vista using tags, ratings, and captions to make finding them a piece of cake.


If you have lots of digital pictures organizing and finding them can be a nightmare. Windows Photo Gallery for Windows Vista takes care of all of this and makes organizing and finding pictures easy.

Windows Photo Gallery uses a few features new to the Windows operating system but used for years in professional photo organization software. A few of the new features are:

Tags: Forget naming each picture. Leave the default name your digital camera gives to it and just give it a few tags. Tags are keywords that describe a picture. Examples of tags are Sunset, Jim, Lake, and Beach. Each picture can have multiple tags. You could search for photos of Jim at the Beach using the tags Jim and Beach.

Ratings: Give each picture a rating from 1 to 5 stars. You could search for pictures of Jim at the Beach that only have 4 or 5 star ratings to show the best pictures only.

Captions: Do some of your pictures have a story behind them? Use captions to tell it.

All of this data is saved (embedded) in the picture file. If you move the pictures to another computer this extra data always goes with it.

Windows Photo Gallery Overview

Before I go any further there are a few things you need to know about the Windows Photo Gallery.

To open Windows Photo Gallery click the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Photo Gallery.


The left column is called the Navigation pane, the center area is where the pictures show up, and the right column is called the Info pane.

Note: The Info pane can be removed by clicking the X located at the very top right of the Info pane. The Info pane can be brought back by clicking the Info button located at the top center of Windows Photo Gallery.

Tagging Pictures

Tagging your pictures instead of giving them a name and placing them in a folder associated with the event the picture was taken is a much better way of organizing your pictures.

Here is an example of how tagging helps you find pictures much easier:

Let’s say you want to find all the great pictures of John taken in the last 5 years that were only taken on the beach during a sunset.

You could perform a search for pictures taken in the last 5 years that are only rated 4 or 5 stars and have the tags John, Beach, and Sunset.

Creating New Tags

Tags can be created or added to pictures multiple ways.

To create a new tag:

  1. Click Create a new tag under Tags in the Navigation pane.
  2. Type the new tag name.
  3. Press Enter on your keyboard to save it.

Or you can

  1. Click Add tags while a picture is selected in the Info pane to add the picture to an existing tag or create a new one.
  2. Type the new or existing tag name.
  3. Press Enter on your keyboard to save it.

Assigning Tags to Pictures

Tags can be assigned to pictures a few ways.

When you select a picture and create a new tag in the Info pane like the example above the tag is automatically created if it doesn’t exist and it’s added to the picture.

Note: You can assign a tag to multiple pictures at one time by selecting all the pictures you want to add the tag to at one time and then type the new tag in the Info pane like the example above.

You can also drag a picture into a tag already created in the Navigation pane to add it to that tag.

Note: You can add multiple pictures to a tag by selecting them all at one time and drag them to the tag in the Navigation pane.

Rating Pictures

Digital cameras allow you to take many pictures without worrying about having to develop all of them to pick out the good ones. You can simply import all the pictures to your computer and then pick the good ones to print or develop.

Ratings help you separate the good from the bad when searching for pictures.

To add ratings select a picture or multiple pictures if they will all have the same rating and select 1 through 5 stars in the Info pane.

Adding Captions

You might want to add a few details about a particular picture.

For example:

You have a picture of uncle Frank in the swimming pool with all of his clothes on. Twenty years from now you might look at that picture and wonder why he was in the pool with all of his clothes on. You can add a caption to the picture that tells why he was in the pool. If you’re wondering why uncle Frank was in the pool, Billy pushed him in as a joke.

Add Captions

  1. Select a picture or pictures that will have the same caption and click Add Caption located at the bottom of the Info pane.
  2. Type your caption.
  3. Press Enter on your keyboard to save it.

Note: Captions are indexed by the search engine in Windows Vista. If you search for a word or phrase in a search box in Windows Vista pictures with that phrase in its captions will show up also.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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One Response to “Organize Your Digital Pictures in Windows Photo Gallery”

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  1. Julie says:

    Why can’t I make the caption box bigger?
    When I type the caption and press enter, I can’t see the whole caption. The caption box is too small to show the whole caption at one time – why is this?
    Can I adjust the size of the box so that I can see the whole caption telling my why “billy pushed uncle frank into the pool as a joke”.

    it seems a bit pointless if the caption box is so small that you have to try and scroll around it just to be able to read the whole caption.

    Thank you for your help


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