Photo Gallery

Microsoft Photo Gallery

why it’s still my favorite photo management tool

It started way back in the Windows Vista era as Windows Live Photo Gallery. It became a very capable image organizer and editor. But sadly, Microsoft discontinued it after the last version in 2012. It is no longer available from Microsoft and it is no longer supported.

That said, it is still my favorite tool. It still works in Windows 10 and does most of the things it could do years ago. Here I will discuss just some of the reasons.

1) Importing photos – camera to computer

There is no better importer tool around that I know of. The import function in Photo Gallery actually still lives on and comes with Windows 10, although you have to jump through hoops to find and use it. In Photo Gallery it is a pleasure to use.

With Photo Gallery running, connect your camera to the computer with its USB cable. There will be a ding and a camera icon pops up in the navigation pane.

Just click the camera icon and the importer starts looking for photos in the camera, showing those that have not been imported already as selected. It is just a matter of making some decisions and the importer creates one or more new folder, located and named as you have previously specified.

I will not go through the import procedure in detail, that may be a topic for another article.

2) Organizing photos

The import function creates folder to your liking, but beyond that you can create new folder in Photo Gallery, you can drag and drop photos, individually or in selected batches, as you please. But PG really shines when it comes to finding photos. Its tagging tools are topnotch. You can assign tags to batches of photos being imported. See the illustration above, note where it says “Add tags”.

Assigning tags individually or in groups is another easy task. When you click “Add descriptive tags” in the Tag and caption pane, a selection of the most recently used tags is shown in a drop-down menu. When you type two characters the menu shows tags starting with those letters. This makes tagging extremely easy.

Finding photos with a tag is just as easy. The navigation pane can show all the tags in alphabetic order. Select the folder to search, or search all, and click the tag name and those photos will be displayed.

There is much more to this, and it is a very efficient way to organize. annotate and search. I find it a joy.

3) Edit photos

Photo Gallery is a fine basic editor. There are sliders for the basic tasks and they do a good job. The Retouch tool works as well or better than the “healing brush” and similar tools in other editors. Even the panorama tool is outstanding and compares well with the best.

4) Invoke another program

Back in the glory days a number of other programs could be called directly from Photo Gallery. This still works fine with the Microsoft Image Composite Editor, if it is installed.

When another program is called for, dragging the thumbnail out to a desk icon is very easy. Some of my other favorites on the desktop need to be opened first before dragging, but that is just a click away.

For me, Photo Gallery is the Swiss army knife of photo editors. It does most everything, and does it reasonably well. It serves as my “home base” for image processing.

See the Sources tab for how to get Photo Gallery for free – just as it always has been.

.:. © 2020 Ludwig Keck

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