©2021 Donald R. Snow -- This page last updated 2021-09-28

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ABSTRACT:  In another class we discussed digital photo file naming which is a major step in organizing photos.  Here we discuss some free programs that help with organizing, editing, and making albums of your photos.  In particular, we discuss the free programs PICASA and MICROSOFT PHOTOS, both of which work offline and form groups by facial recognition.  We also discuss briefly other features of these programs such as editing.  The notes for this class, with active links and related articles are posted on my website .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo and St. George, Utah.
  2. The notes for this class with active URLs, as well as additional information in other notes and articles, are posted at .
  3. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for these notes, or any webpage, just drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser onto your desktop.  (2)  To open a link, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. The problem for today:  How to organize your digital photos to be more useable for searching, viewing, editing, and slideshows.

  6. Old program, but free and still available from -- this website also has the history and info about PICASA
  7. Works offline, so you can use it without being on the internet; is a major help with photos; includes facial recognition to group people automatically; also has basic photo editing features 
  8. Tutorials and helps
    1. -- Installation
    2. -- Overview
    3. - Tour
    4. -- Video slideshows 
    5. -- PICASA pdf tutorial
    6. Google Support info --
  9. PICASA does NOT change your photos, only stores the grouping and editing info in a file without changing the originals themselves 
  10. "Folders" in PICASA are the folders on your computer, so don't delete a folder nor a photo in PICASA, if you don't want to delete it from your computer
  11. "Albums" in PICASA are collections of links and info about photos and can be deleted, if you want, without deleing the photos 
  12. "People albums" in PICASA are collections of photos containing a person; it uses facial recognition to find all photos the person is in  
  13. When you first run PICASA, set preference so it only works on specific folders on your computer; I put my digital photos in a folder called "Photos by Date" with the years as subfolders
  14. PICASA finds all photos in folder(s) you specify and forms thumbnail views of all faces and uses facial recognition to organize these into People Albums
  15. Clicking on any thumbnail shows list of all photos with that person across top; click on arrows to go through them
  16. "People" icon (at bottom, 4th from right) toggles lists of other people in these photos 
  17. Double click any thumbnail to see the photo it came from so you see it in context; double click again (or use ESC) to get back to the thumbnails
  18. Edit the name of the people group from "Unidentified Person" to the person's name, so it has the right name  
  19. Can tell it to ignore people such as strangers in the background  
  20. Confirming suggestions of who it thinks belongs in that group gives PICASA more info about that person, so it then finds more thumbnails for them; click the X, if that thumbnail does not belong in that group  
  21. If a face is not "thumbnailed", there is a way to add their thumbnail yourself.
  22. The "i" icon (lower right corner) shows the metadata for that photo
  23. To edit a photo show full photo and in upper left of screen are tools for cropping, straightening, color correction, red-eye removal, etc.
  24. Additional features of PICASA include backing up your photos, making slideshows and videos, transfering PICASA database to another computer, and more 

  26. Free and built into Windows; type in"photos" in search box at bottom left - click on PHOTOS
  27. Tutorial --
  28. Settings are in the 'More" icon (3 dots in upper right corner)
  29. Set Import to the folder(s) you want included - I suggest storing your photos in some folder and then importing that folder and subfolders, so you always keep your originals and it only works on the imports
  30. When it runs, it collects the photos and start organizing them into groups by date, location, events, etc., and "thumbnailing" the faces
  31. To see the face groups click on People (upper left corner); you can type in their names as titles for the groups; I can't find a way to change the "title photo" that shows for a person 
  32. On the right is a vertical timeline with dark dots to indicate the dates of pictures; click on any dot to see that picture
  33. Besides the automatic collecting for common features, you can form albums of any pictures you want and any album can be shown as a slideshow or video or exported  

  35. Photos are a major part of family history and these programs help with them.
  36. PICASA is old, but still free and MICROSOFT PHOTOS is free and built into Windows 10 (and Windows 11, presumably).  Both are helpful in family history and PHOTOS is being updated.
  37. Both of these have facial recognition to help you with organizing. There are also a few other such free programs and many commercial ones.
  38. Good luck with your photo collection.  Organizing it will make it more valuable to you and your descendants.