From the Kenosha News on 5-28-06

Manage your digital pictures using Picasa from Google

Recently, a reader e-mailed me and asked me a question about getting pictures from his e-mail into Picasa – a picture management program he had gotten free from Google. I hadn’t heard of it but was curious. I like to take digital pictures, and software that could help me manage them could be useful.

Picasa provides a single interface with tools that allow you to: 1) import pictures from a camera or other device, 2) view pictures in a folder on your computer, 3) easily do a slideshow or collage of pictures, 4) print pictures in various sizes, 5) do some basic editing to your pictures, 6) send your pictures via e-mail, and more. I’ve not used all of the features yet, and some – like the e-mail feature – only work with other selected Google products.

To get Picasa, go to picasa.google.com. The site tells the features of the software, offers a link for a “tour,” and allows for a free download. Note that Picasa only works on Windows 2000 and XP. Click on the Download link, and run the executable to install the software.

Once you’ve installed Picasa, it will automatically “discover” your photos and create folders for them. If it finds folders you don’t want to use Picasa for, you can remove them from Picasa (which does NOT remove them from your computer) by using the Folder Manager under the Tools menu. It might take you a bit of fine tuning to get things organized the way you like.

If you get new pictures via e-mail that you want to manage in Picasa, you’ll first want to save them into a folder on your hard drive. In most e-mail systems, this is done by right-clicking on the attachment and then clicking the Save option. If you save the pictures into a folder that Picasa already knows about, then the photos will automatically appear in that folder the next time you open Picasa. If you save pictures into a folder that Picasa does not yet recognize, then you will need to follow these few steps in Picasa: 1) Click on the File menu and select “Add Folder to Picasa,” 2) On the folder list at the left, find the folder and click on it, 3) On the right, click on the Scan Always option, 4) Click OK. The next time you launch Picasa, you should see your new folder in the list at the left.

The feature of Picasa I’ve found most useful is the slide show. Often, when I save a number of pictures to my computer from my camera, I want to look at all of them in order. Double-clicking on them one at a time to open them in a program like Photoshop takes a long time. Picasa will show you the pictures one by one using the full screen. You can pause the slideshow and change the timing simply by moving the mouse during the slide show. Make your adjustments and click the Play button to resume your show.

Picasa also facilitates printing of your pictures in convenient sizes from wallet to 8x10. You can print two different 5x7 pictures or many different smaller ones on the same sheet.

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 5-28-06