Adobe Photoshop Elements 4: Organizing Photos and Videos

There’s a couple of ways to go about this. First if this is the first time your using the program a pop up message will come up asking if you want to automatically load any pictures from your hard drives. At this prompt I would recommend you do all the hard drives attached to your system. You can also do just certain drives or files but it easier to just do all the ones on your computer and get it done and over with at one time.

This way you won’t hunt and search for that one photo you were sure was somewhere on your computer and you can also see exactly what is on your computer. For people with kids using a common computer this is particularly handy to see just what is in those files and drives. Kids are handy at hiding things from parents and this will allow you to see exactly everything that is a picture or video on your system. I’m not saying kids would do this but you can see what is all over your computer, even if no one really tried to download things.

So either you are prompted to search for photos or you can do this manually. When you start up Photoshop Elements 4 there are three different screens you can start up in: the welcome screen, editor, or organizer. Go to the organizer and you’ll see some toolbars and pulldown menus and the main photo area in the center. To get photos from your computer manually after the first start up you go to the pull down menus across the top and click on File, pause your cursor over Get Photos and move your cursor over to by searching, the little binoculars and click on it.

This will open a window with your search options. This has options to look for photos in all hard drives, Drive C, By folder or using the browse feature. The browse feature opens a tree where you can search through your computer yourself. When you find the files you want you’ll click on OK to load them.

In order to understand more about Adobe’s program there are a few things you should know. This organizer just organizes photos for you to see and edit or use. It does not change the actual location of those pictures in your computers file system. It copies the location but not the actual picture and lets you see the pictures however you specify for you to know what photos you have on your computer and organize them. This way if you are not in the Adobe organizer you can simply go to the location of these pictures using any other program and they will be where you had them originally, unless you move them using the organizer.

When you edit pictures it will save the picture or image back to the original location on your drive, if you click on the save function in the file menu. It will not prompt you to overwrite the original photo. When you go to edit a photo I recommend you leave the original alone and make a copy of it to edit. This way you have the original if you mess it up and want to start over. If you use the save as function you can change the location of that picture along with the format.

I would recommend you organize your photos into a collection when you are done editing them, and leave the originals in a file that you downloaded them onto your computer into. The organizer has a few different ways to organize photos, collections, categories with tags below them and all photos.

The collections are separate from the categories and are like photo albums or slide shows to show off and group the pictures. The categories with the tags below them are more for groups of photos you have not worked much with but have organized into groups for ease of searching. When my program searched all the drives for photos I grouped them according to who’s pictures they were, and what occasion or topic they were for. I have four people using my computer, my wife, two kids and myself. I let them make their own categories and made my own. I have several categories for each thing I do on my computer. One is for my game reviews, I need screenshots of the games and have a category for these with the tags for individual games.

The tags are a sub category below the category for you to divide the photos into. Just to clarify, it goes like this for the organizer, you have two separate groups to organize photos into, categories and collections. The toolbar for the two types has Tags and Collections on them but don’t get the major groupings confused, it’s collections of tags. Under collections you have tags for a subdivision, under collections you have collection groups.

The all photos grouping shows every photo you have loaded into the program, you can also exclude the collections or categories when viewing in this mode. It makes it easier, especially when first organizing all those photos to do this. You can go through and put photos into different categories and then exclude that category to lower the amount of photos in the all photo view.

The category icon and tags will show up on the pictures properties area and you can even make new icons for a wider variety than the dozen or so that come with the program. Using the editor or downloading some from the Internet you load or save them to a file for the program to use. In Photoshop you make a PNG picture 20 x 20 pixels in size, thats .278 inches square and save it to the caticons folder It’s like this on my computer with the adobe program loaded to default location during setup.


To make your own you need to use very simple pictures, not anything real. The size is actually 20 pixels or small square dots wide and tall. That means it’s small and will not be able to use real or actual pictures for your icons. Simple icons you download from the Internet are usable if they are the correct size or if you resize them. You can play around with getting them to work using the editor, a good practice using your new program.

The icons are only used for the category icons, not the tags. But you can make your own or save some that you download from the Internet for the categories.

Organizing photos into the different categories and tags or collections is as simple as drag and drop the picture from the center all photo area onto the bar for the collection or category. Or you can right click the photo and click on add tag and it will pull down a menu with the tree for your photos. Find the collection or category you want and click on it. Whether you drag and drop or right click the tag will appear under the photo and you can work very quickly to add tags to all your photos.

In about three hours I tagged almost 2500 photos and started my computer’s photos toward a more organized collection. I made several categories with some tags under them. And one thing I will mention, when you search photos the program will find any photos. Regardless of what they are or where they are. Any files with jpeg or gif will be loaded on the automatic setting, so if a game or other program has any photos it uses as tutorials or parts of there help sections it may load these into the organizer. Mine loaded some parts of my video card program help section and some game pictures. It loaded several maps and parts of game programs that the game uses as maps for you during game play and the splash screens while waiting for parts of the game to load.

All of these photos and such I put into separate categories so I would not mess with them. It is important that you are sure of what you are doing when dealing with these types of pictures. They are a part of another program and you should be sure you do not edit them and then save them back to the game or original program. If you do the program or game might not work or be different, or at least the picture for it will be different. If the settings for the picture is altered the program may be looking for a picture or image and not find what it was looking for and get an error.

So for these images and photos, don’t mess with them, just put them into their own category and leave them alone until you are confident you know what you are doing with them. I have them in categories and do plan to mess with them, but I will not save them back to the games folder. Some of the images are of levels of games I am playing and it would be handy to see what the level looks like, a map of the level and what leads to where.

After you get all your photos organized you can quickly search by the categories you set up. You can exclude or include categories using the check box next to the categories of the photos in the box on the right of the screen with the category levels in it. A little binocular will show up in the box when you are viewing that group, a red circle with a bar will show up when you have excluded that group. You go back to all photos from the small box at the top of the photos windows.

Above the photo windows is a bar graph that shows the dates of the photos to allow you to search for photos by date. You can exclude this bar from the view by clicking on view at the top of the menus and timeline. You can also include or exclude the details of the photos by using the details just above this.

Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 4 photo organizer is an easy to use and handy way to search and find photos that are on your computer. Once you go through all your photos it is an easy way to use the editor and save, find and create collections for you to print or show off all your favorite pictures. It also displays videos on the organizer by a little filmstrip in the corner so you know which are photos and which are videos. You can create slide shows using the organizer and show off your great collections. The organizer is a great way to automate your photos and organize them simply and easily.

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