ACDSee Image Browser
- ACDSee was among the best early image organizers. Even though Microsoft has added image organizing capabilities to Windows, and most graphics editors have added image organizers to their editors, ACDSee is still my favorite image organizer and version 7 even comes with a very nice graphics editor that's great for the beginning user.
- In it's documentation ACDSee calls their image organizer the Image Browser.
- Each image is stored on your computer in it's own file (usually of type JPG).
[Don't get too confused by the next three screen shots, they have nothing to do with
ACDSee, they are just an attempt to relate the ACDSee Image Browser to Windows.]
- To organize the files on your computer you learned to use a file organizer ... in early versions of Windows the organizer was called Windows Explorer, but then Microsoft confused things by calling their internet browser Internet Explorer. The old Windows Explorer is still part of Windows, but it's hard to find ... instead Microsoft expects you to organize files using "My Computer". If you click on My Computer you get a window something like:
- Since you want to organize files in folders, just click on the Folders button (top middle) and viola, it looks almost like the old Windows Explorer:
(Here we have already clicked on the C: Hard Drive.)
- If you go to your My Pictures folder and if necessary under View, choose Thumbnails, you get:
(On my computer I've renamed the My Pictures folder Albums so it moves up near the top of my C: drive where it is easy to find ... I purposely move it out of the My Documents folder because of the different backup techniques I use for documents and images.) Renaming My Pictures is best done with a program called TweakUI ... we'llcome back later ... maybe I'll even add a page showing how to do this.
[OK, now we'll get back to ACDSee ... below we're looking at the contents of a folder named
nikon04o inside the folder Original, which is in the Albums folder on my H: drive.]
- When you first start ACDSee you get the ACDSee Browser which might look something like:
[If you have ACDSee on your machine I recommend you open it while you're reading this and
try to duplicate each step ... learning to use all the power of this program takes a while, but just
trying to repeat each of the steps shown on all these pages will teach you a lot.]
- In addition to the menu bar and tool bars at the top, in the screen shot above there are three other windows. The one on the top left shows your folder structure, the one on the right shows thumbnails of pictures in the selected folder, and the one on the bottom left shows a preview of the selected image.
- By placing your cursor over the boundary between two windows it should turn into a couple of short lines with arrows. When it is shaped like this you can left click and drag to change the relative sizes of the windows, with a result something like:
- Here we made the preview window larger so it's easier to see the image without going to the image viewer. In the top screen sample above you see a little slider above the thumbnails to the right of the word Select ... you can change the size of the thumbnails by moving this slider. (In the screen sample just above this slider is missing because it doesn't fit above the thumbnail window ... if you need to, you can still get to it by clicking on the green arrow to the right of the word sort.)
- One nice feature of digital cameras is that in the original picture some information about how the picture was taken is hidden inside the image. (If you edit the image, many editors will loose this information which is another reason why it is so important to save the original images.) ACDSee shows you this information in a properties window. You can turn it on by choosing View on the menu bar and selecting Proprieties. You may get a screen something like this:
- The internal information stored in the JPG's is called the EXIF data (you may have to click on the little EXIF tab at the bottom to make it visable) ... some of the most interesting fields are the exposure time: 1/320th of a second in this case, the F stop: f/8.5 here (aperture of the lens which determines both the depth of field and the amount of light admitted into the camera), the zoom setting (here a focal length of 52mm), and all kinds of other settings depending on the camera used to take the picture.
- The nice thing about the default placement of this window on the right is that the window is long so you can see most of the useful information without scrolling. But the problem is that to put it there you give up room on you screen for more thumbnails.
- ACDSee makes it easy (well fairly easy) to rearrange windows. If you grab the Properties windows by left clicking on it's title bar (the word Properties) you can drag it to another position. Try dragging it on top of the Preview window. (As you drag a window around, you notice an outline showing where the window is going to end up ... the outline changes size and shape, depending on exactly where you put it. If you do this just right the Preview and Properties windows sit on top of each other, with a tab below to allow you to switch between them ...
- Note the orange Properties tab below the properties window on the left ... by clicking on the Preview tab next to it you switch between the properties and preview windows. Also note the tabs below the Folders window above this. By clicking on the Calendar tab you can view ALL your pictures (no matter what folder they are in sorted by date). The Organize tab is only useful one you specify Categories for each of your pictures ... once again the nice thing is this is independent of the folder your pictures are stored in.
- Note: If you're like I am, every once in a while you find the windows won't go back where you want them ... when this happens, under View you can choose Reset Layout (but don't do this unless your really have to because it will also undo all the work you did customized your toolbars).
- Under the Menu bar, by default there is a context sensitive toolbar ...
I'm not totally happy with the way it works. In particular, I don't like the way the Rotate Left and Right buttons work ... see Rotating Images for my recommendation. Also see how to replace the context sensitive toolbar with a Customized Main Toolbar.
- But the first thing I recommend you do after transferring images from your camera to your computer is to Rename Your Images.
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