Photo organization with Windows Live Photo Gallery

27 February 2017

Tagging pictures with Windows Live Photo Gallery (pdf)

NOTE: All the steps to follow assume you’ve created jpg files from scanned photos on your computer, or are going to be re-naming and tagging newly imported photos that came from your camera or smart phone. The steps also assume you have Windows Live Photo Gallery installed, and that the photos you’re working with are in .jpg format.

1. Add your pictures to the program

1. Click the File tab

Photo Gallery File tab

2. Click Include folder

Photo Gallery Include Folder

3. If your pictures are in a location other than the default locations (Pictures, Public Pictures, Documents), click the Add button in the “Pictures Library Locations” dialog.

Photo Gallery Library Locations

4. Browse to the folder you want to add. Click the Include folder button. The new location will be added to the list of folders already included in the library.

2. After the pictures appear, set up the interface

1. Click the View tab
2. Click All details. Each thumbnail will now include text to the right showing the file name, the date taken, the file size, and the file width and height. There is also a “star” control that can be used to add and remove star ratings, and also an “Add caption” prompt.

Photo Gallery All Details

3. Click the Tag and Caption pane button. A vertical pane to the right of the main window pane appears, with the following sections:

People tags: Used to add faces to a face recognition database. These are separate people tags from the descriptive tags (see below)

Photo Gallery People tags

Geotag: This is populated from a place database. Places you have recently used will appear first as you type in the location information. When a match appears, you can select it.

Photo Gallery geotag

Caption: The text can be entered here, or it can be added using the “add a caption” field next to the thumbnail in the main pane.

Photo Gallery add caption

Descriptive tags: This is the section where a tag collection will be built up. Tags can be added and removed in this section.

Photo Gallery descriptive tags

Information: There are several editable fields here, such as the file name, date taken, rating, flag, and author. Use the horizontal bar to expand and collapse the section.

Photo Gallery information section

3. A Suggested Workflow

1. Rename the file if necessary. You can rename it in either the information section or by clicking on the existing file name to the right of the thumbnail. Whatever you type in either field becomes the name of the file in Windows Explorer. A suggested naming convention:

YYYY-MM-DD City State Subject
2017-02-23 Mazomanie WI Teddy on the bed

You can see the existing date by looking at the field below the file name next to the thumbnail in the main pane.

Photo Gallery Rename File

2. If you would like to use some of the photo editing tools, double-click the photo you’re working on.

  • Auto Adjust will adjust color, exposure, and straighten the photo if the program determines that the photo needs to be straightened.  There is a blue Undo arrow available at the top of the program if you don’t like the result. All of the adjustments can also be made individually by opening the corresponding separate tool. Even more control is available under the Fine tune button.
  • Try some of the Effects filters: black and white, sepia, cyan, and orange, yellow or red filters. To discard all of the edits, click the Revert to Original button.
  • The crop tool lets you select a common proportion, such as 8×10 or 5×7. You can rotate the crop tool. The guidelines that appear will help you apply the Rule of Thirds to your photo crop. Hit the Enter key to apply the crop.

If you apply some of the effects, you might want to click the Make a copy button which will save this edited photo with the same file name, and this copy will be saved to the same folder where the original is saved. The file name will have a (2) added to it. You might want to change the (2) to something more meaningful, like “sepia”, “cropped”, or “edited.”

If you’ve saved off a copy of the edited photo, click the Revert to Original button to get back to the original, unedited version of the photo. Otherwise, all of these edits will be applied to the original photo automatically. Click the red X, upper right, to get out of the edit work area and go back to the tag and caption interface.

Photo Gallery editing tools

3. Add people tags if applicable, in the People tags section. Faces will be recognized if they’ve been tagged before, and as the program finds matching faces in new photos, it will ask you about the match.

Photo Gallery people match

Photo Gallery who is thisOtherwise, the program says, “Who is this?” Click there and either type a new name or type to search for a name which you know has already been used. As you tag people and the database grows, you will be able to click on faces in the ribbon above the photo thumbnails to filter your photos to only those containing that face-person. The program may identify more matches when you click the face in the ribbon.

Photo Gallery people ribbon


Photo Gallery geotag4. Add a geotag: Start typing the city. The program will try to find a match for what you are typing.

5. Add a caption. Write whatever you like. This ends up being written to the Title and Subject fields in the Windows Properties form for that photo.  You can see this by right-clicking the photo and choosing Open File Location.Photo Gallery Open File Location

When the folder opens, your photo should be highlighted. Right-click again, and choose Properties. Click the Details tab. The caption you added will appear in the Title and Subject fields.

6. Descriptive tags: These tags also get written to file properties. I always tag the year, city, state, and people or subjects at minimum. Although this might seem like repeat information if you’ve used these as part of the file name, the descriptive tags are differently searchable depending on the photo program you are using to try and ind the phot later on. Some of my tags include:

  • Season (summer, fall, etc.)
  • Indoor or outdoor
  • Event names (“1st birthday”, graduation, anniversary, “50th anniversary”)
  • color or “black and white”
  • detailed location (“Pope Farm Park”, home, “Park Elementary School”, kitchen, etc.)
  • Anything that uniquely identifies the specific photo (glasses, “blue dress”, “with toy train” etc.)
  • Holiday (Easter, Halloween, Christmas, etc.)

Make sure tags which consist of multiple words are put into quotes. That way the words won’t get collected as separate tags.

To actually enter a tag, click the Add descrptive tags text, type the word or phrase in quotes, and hit the Enter key.

Photo Gallery Tagging

Photo Gallery: How to find photos that have no tags at all

  • Click the File tab
  • Click Options
  • Click the General tab
  • Check the box for Show Descriptive tags under the Navigation Pane section and click OK

Now, the left-most pane will have a section at the bottom called “Descriptive tags” which is useful for filtering all the photos in the collection which share a specific tag! The side-benefif is that the first group under this section is called “not tagged.”  Now you know which photos need attention.

You might also want to populate the “Add an author” field in the Information section of the Tag and Caption pane on the right to preserve the name of the person who took the photo. This is also written to the Windows properties for the file.

7. Make a backup .tif for archiving: If you don’t already have a .tif copy as a backup, a copy made now will inclide all the title, subject, and descriptive tags you’ve created for the photo, written to the properties of the .tif file. Move the .tif files to a separate location for backup.