Tags are one of the most useful features of digital images. Tags make finding a photo really easy. With the date being automatically recorded and maybe some additional fixed data, the photographer does not have to worry about that data. Tags are different. Tags need to be assigned manually. That sounds like more of a chore than it actually is. This blog is about finding pictures, but since you need to assign them first, I will start with that task. Windows Live Photo Gallery recognizes two types of tags: people tags that identify persons shown in the photo, and descriptive tags that are used for everything else. In this blog, I will stick to just descriptive tags, leaving people tags for another day.
Descriptive tags can be assigned during the import process. That is easy when groups of photos cover the same subject matter – that is very often the case. Once the pictures are on the computer, tagging is easy in Photo Gallery. There are several ways.
Assigning a tag.
After importing, the pictures are now in separate folders as you grouped them. You can find them by folder or date. When a group is shown in the gallery, you can right-click the group name (shown in the picture here with a red pointer), and click Select all. Of course, you can select a group the same way you select files in Windows Explorer. Naturally, you can just select one photo at time as well.
Once the photos are selected, click Add descriptive tags in the Info pane at the right. As soon as you start typing in the text entry box a little menu scrolls down ad shows all existing tags that start with that letter or letters. If the tag you want exists, just click on it and press Enter. You are done.
If the tag is a new one, finish typing and press Enter.
If this isn’t easy enough, there is another quick way to assign an existing tag to one or more selected photos. Display the list of tags in the navigation pane – just click on Descriptive tags, scroll the list so you see the one you want, then drag the selected photos to the tag (with the pointer on any of the selected photos, press and hold the left mouse button to drag). Make sure you see the little Apply … message as illustrated here:
Easy enough? So let’s get back to the subject of this blog.
Finding photos by tag.
Again there are a number of ways.
1) In the gallery you can display the thumbnails in different order. The default display is auto. Click there and one of the options is Tag:
You can then scroll your gallery and see the thumbnails arranged by tags.
2) Click on the name of the tag in the navigation pane (with descriptive tags expanded, you may need to scroll the list). Oh, yes, you can select more than one tag! Hold down Ctrl as you select the tags you want.
3) You can find tagged photos with the search tool.
In you have selected a particular folder, or date, search will only show the photos in that selection. And yes, you can select several folders in the navigation pane the way you can select individual items – hold down Ctrl and click the folder or date.
Well, I trust that I convinced you that tags are an excellent tool for finding your pictures. In my next blog I will discuss People tags – really, really neat!