Organizing photos can be a great pain in bum (maybe literally, given the number of hours you would need to spend behind organizing a random collection).

Windows 8 tries to help you by providing Pictures library and Photos app.

Pictures Library

Collecting all your pictures under one roof can be helpful when your pictures are distributed over several partitions or hard disks.

The Pictures library can become that “roof” for your pictures.

Pictures library maintains links to all the folders that you add to it. Thus, the space used on the drive is essentially the same as earlier; but the advantage is that now you can access all the pictures from a single place.

Open the Pictures Library from Windows Explorer’s tree pane. It is located under “Libraries”.

The library thus opened displays the contents of all the folders included in it.

In order to manage the library folders, go to Manage → Manage Library. This opens a small window that lists all the folders contained in the library.

You can add or remove the library folders from here.

Windows also provides elementary tools to manage a single picture. Select a photo and click on “Pictures Tools”. The ribbon toolbar morphs to show options applicable on the selected photo.

The tools provides options like

  • Rotating the selected photo
  • Launch a slide show of all the pictures of library
  • Set the selected photo as desktop background

Photos App

Pictures Library helps you to organize only locally stored photos. What about the photos that you have uploaded to services like Facebook, SkyDrive or Flickr?

Well, Photos app becomes the central hub by including the photos of those services, too, along with the local Pictures Library.

To launch the app, click on its tile on the Start Screen.

Click on any of the source in order to access its albums and photos. For example, I go into the Pictures library. The app then changes its view to show me all the folders and files collected under the Pictures library.

The context menu, which can be activated by right clicking near the top edge of the screen, shows various options like,

  •   providing feedback for the app to Windows Store
  •   list the folders by date
  •   start a slideshow
  •   select all the pictures of the current folder
  •   import pictures from a device

You can select one or more photos, delete them or start a slideshow of the selected photos.

Search through Photos

Photos implements the Search Charm to provide search function within the app. However, you can search only in the Pictures library of your system.

Photos of the online services are not included in the search. When I searched for the term “friends”, Photos listed 4 photos from the Pictures library.

Share Charm in Photos

You can share photos from within the app using the Share Charm. For example, I wish to mail my favorite picture to my friends.

So I select the picture in the Photos app and invoke the Share Charm. The charm gives me a list of apps with which Photos can share content. I select the Mail app.

The Mail app receives the content as a file attachment. All I need to do is to type the recipients’ mail ids in order to share the content.

More Room for Customization

Currently, several limitations bug the Photos app. For example, you can only view the photos of the online services, and can’t add or delete photos directly through the app.

However, Photos is still a preview app, and will certainly gain those capabilities in future, as Microsoft continues to add features to it.

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  1. I like this application a lot as i let me randomly browse through pictures with great facility, like leafing through an album without looking for anything specific.
    However, there has to be a way to protect directories from being shown automatically in the photos app or on the metro screen, failing that, I’ll keep my photos in an old shoe box (windows explorer)

    • Yeah I’m still looking very closely at that.

      I’m working on figuring out how things get pushed to the Metro screen by default.

      It’s very jarring and sometimes inappropriate for some content to end up on tiles…

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