Thinking back to when I was a paper scrapper, I remember spending hours trying to organize my supplies so that I could store them in a small section of my pantry, yet still be able to see and access them easily. I think I spent more time organizing supplies than I did scrapping pages. That’s when I looked into digital scrapbooking. It just made more sense for me. But…as I started downloading kits, organization again became an issue. I still wanted to be able to see all my supplies. Searching folder after folder trying to find just the right embellishment got old quick!
Then I discovered picasa. I’ve been using it for a couple of years now and I love it!
You can download Picasa FREE here: http://picasa.google.com
1 – Getting set-up
Once you have picasa installed, open it, and go to Tools→Folder Manager. There you can select all the folders on your computer you want picasa to scan. I select my Pictures folder and my Digital Scrapbooking folder.
Now go to Tools→Options and click on the File Types tab. Select all the types you want Picasa to display. You should select at minimum: jpg, png, tiff, and psd. Click okay.
Next go to View→Folder View. There you can select how you want your supplies organized. I prefer Tree View & Sort by Name.
Now you should be able to scroll through and see all your files. (make sure your folders on the left side are open.)
*NOTE-Picasa does not move or copy your files. It simply displays them. If you delete a file in picasa, it will also delete it from your hard drive. But if you edit a photo in picasa, you can always restore the original copy.
I like to minimize my picasa screen just enough that I can see about an inch of my photoshop screen underneath on the left hand side. (see below)
Select the files you want to use. (Press Ctrl to select multiple files.) Thumbnails of the selected files will be shown in the project bin on the bottom left of your screen. Simply drag and drop those thumbnails into photoshop and you’re ready to go!
3 – Tagging Files
Tagging your files can be a time consuming project, but will save so much time in the long run.
Pull up the tagging panel by clicking on the tag icon on the lower right side of your screen.
Select a file(s), type in a keyword/tag, and press enter. That’s it!
You can also customize quick tags by clicking on that little yellow gear next to the quicktags.
Here is a list of quicktags I use:
- preview (Most previews will already have the word “preview” in the file name so there’s no need to tag them)
- paper (I also tag specifically: solid, pattern)
- element (I also tag specifically: flower, stitching, hardware, staple, tape, ribbon, string, tag, button)
I don’t tag with colors because I think it’s easier to just scroll through and find the right color, and you can always recolor an item.
4 – Searching for Files
To search for files, simply type in the tag/keyword in the search bar at the top of your screen. If you press enter only once, it will display the tagged items in their current folder. If you press enter again, they will be displayed all together, making it easier to browse through lots of files.
*NOTE – searching with a keyword will not only pull up tagged files, but also any file with that word in the file name.
Try this: Type “preview” in the search bar. Press enter twice. Scroll through until you find a kit you want to use. Click on that preview, then delete “preview” from the search bar. That complete kit should then be displayed.
5 – Other stuff
There are many other features worth playing with in Picasa. You can edit your photos, make collages, upload files to web albums, or even your blog (blogger). You can even upload your layouts to Persnickety Prints for printing directly from picasa! How cool is that!?
If you have any questions, just head over to the Q&A Forum and start a new thread. I will try to answer as quick as possible.
Next Picasa Segment – Collages
You won’t believe all the things you can do with this!