Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

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Windows Photo Gallery: Navigation Tree

Windows Photo Gallery: Navigation Tree

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Before you can do anything in the Gallery, you have to be able to find the photos (or videos) that you’re looking for, and that’s where the Navigation Tree (or Nav Tree for short) comes in.

The Nav Tree in the Windows Photo Gallery allows you to find your photos in a number of different ways, by clicking on the part of the tree that makes the most sense for how you want to search: ‘All Pictures and Videos’, ‘Recently Imported’, ‘Date Taken’, ‘Folders’, etc. Click on a ‘Date Taken’ node to find all of the photos taken on a specific date (your camera typically supplies this information automatically), or click on a ‘Folder’ node to see all of the photos in that folder - pretty straight forward and familiar.

Tags may require some explanation. They can be any word or phrase that you use to describe the picture that you might later use to find that picture. For example, if I took a picture of my mom by the Space Needle, I might add the tags "Mom", "Space Needle", and "Seattle". Then, if someday I go looking for a picture of my mom, or of Seattle, I can just click the "Mom" tag or the "Seattle" tag in the Nav Tree and the picture will be there.

Obviously, this has a big advantage over just folders. If I had created folders for Mom, the Space Needle, and Seattle, I would have to either choose which folder to put the photo in or make three copies of the same picture. With tags, I can organize the same picture in as many different categories as I need to.

Of course, one of the huge advantages of tagging is that you can search based on your tag, which makes it even faster and easier to find that photo of my mom at the Space Needle without having to browse through multiple folders or tags in the Nav Tree.

The Gallery uses a 5-star rating system to help you find your best photos. You can add a rating to any photo while you’re viewing it by clicking on the rating control in the info pane (look for more on that in future posts). Then, when you want to find your best photos, just click on a star in the Nav Tree, and we’ll show you all of the photos with that rating (and above to show your ‘best’ photos). If you only want to see photos with a specific rating (maybe you want to delete your 1-star photos), you can use the control key to de-select the stars you don’t want to see.

Selection in the Nav Tree
One thing that may not be immediately obvious is how selection works in the Nav Tree. Let’s say that you have a tag "Family" and you’ve create sub-tags under it like "Mom" and "Dad". When you click on "Family" in the tree, we’ll automatically also select "Mom" and "Dad" for you, so that all photos tagged with either "Mom" or "Dad" will show up, even though you never explicitly added the "Family" tag to any of those photos.

If this isn’t what you want, you can right-click a parent node to select it by itself and not its children.

That’s all for now, in the next article we’ll dive into some techniques for advanced searching using the Nav Tree.

Scott Dart - Program Manager