FREE Photo Editing/Sharing Software

Today, I’d like to talk about some FREE software that you can use to keep track of your digital photos. You can also do some image editing and other fun stuff with this software. I’m talking about Picasa, available from Google. You can get a free download here.

The cool thing about this software is the range of things you can do with your photos. Not only does it keep track of where all your photos are on your computer, it offers some image editing options, slide show, different import options, a timeline, and you can create a gift CD for friends or family. The possibilities are almost endless.

Here is a shot of the startup screen:

Picasa Welcome Page

On the left side panel is a list of all the photos on your computer, and what folders they are in. To view any of the photos in a particular folder, just click on it. Or, if you prefer, you can scroll through them with the scroll bar on the right side of the page. Either way, it’s very easy.

Let’s go through the options that you have along the top of the window. There are buttons for “import”, “slideshow”, “timeline”, and “gift CD”. When you click on the import button, you will be taken to a screen that has a preview window on the right, an import tray on the left, and a “select device” button on the top left. After you click on the select device button, you will see several options below the preview window for rotating pictures, excluding pictures from the import, a help button, and buttons for scrolling through the images one at a time. You can import pictures from another folder on your hard drive, a digital camera, or a scanner. The options that appear under the select device button depend on what devices you have installed on your computer.

Select Device Screen

So, here is where you can pick and choose which photos to import, and which ones to exclude. To rotate a photo, just click on the thumbnail in the left pane, and then select one of the arrows under the preview window. I selected the import from folder option here, but if you import from a digital camera, take some time here to file your pictures in appropriate folders, and name them so you will be able to find them again, especially if it will be many months (or years) from now.

To remove the X from the pictures you want to import, check the exclude box. When you click finish, a window will pop up asking you to name the folder you would like to save the pictures to. Type in a name, such as “landscapes”, and enter the date and place the picture(s) were taken, and an optional caption for the folder, and then click finish. Be sure to name the folder something that applies to the photos that you imported to it, so you can keep things organized. The folder you just created will show up on the top of the preview window, with all the photos you imported into it, and the other relevant information about that folder. Next, we cover the slideshow option…