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Working with pictures in Windows Vista

Vista has made some major changes in the method of handling photos. In XP, photos opened by default in Windows Picture and fax manager. In XP, that has been replaced by the new program called Windows Photo Gallery. You can learn more about the program by searching the web.

What I want to cover here is how to prepare photos for e-mail.

The first thing you need to do is have photos, know where they are and how big they are. Sounds obvious but it's not as simple as it sounds. For this discussion, I will assume you have some photos in your computer that you want to e-mail to someone.

(If you have photos in a camera and don't know how to get them in the computer, you need to read the instructions that came with the camera. If you have photos that hyou want to scan & send, you need to look at my scanning instructions.)

You may also want to review this page for tips on importing photos.

The reason you need to know the file size is that the larger the file, the longer it takes to e-mail it. And if it is too big, you may not be able to send it at all. Yahoo has a limit of 10 MB of attachments per e-mail. And it makes it easier for the recipient to open the photo if it is small.

Again, assuming you know where the photos are on the computer, open the folder containing the photos. You may use the Start menu/Pictures or Windows Explorer. Vista Explorer looks different, but operates much the same.

There are some new settings in the Explorer program that are not obvious to beginners. So lets start by learning about these settings and modifying the way Explorer displays information about photos.

First open the Pictures folder from the start menu. If you have not changed anything, the window will open like this:

Note that I resized it for this discussion. Yours may open full screen and you may see the list of photos differently. You have more View options than previously in XP. Click Views and look at the list. Click on each option to see what it does. Where you leave it is personal preference and does not matter for this discussion. My display is in Tiles.

The new item that I want to cover here is "Organize". Click on the Organize button to see a list of options as shown in the next picture.

The Layout selection provides some nice information and actually replaces the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer (WPAFV) in XP when set properly. Notice the expanded menu that has 4 items. Typically the menu bar is not checked. Check it and see the difference. Then uncheck it and see which way you like it. I'm from the old school and still like menus.

Next item on the list is the "Details Pane", typically off by default. (You do know what Default means don't you? Look here if not sure) Likewise turn it off and on the see the result at the bottom of the window and choose your preference.

 

You can resize the details pane by dragging the mouse pointer on the horizontal border as shown here. Again, set the picture viewer as you like it.

Third is the item that replaces the WPAFV. This is really neat. You may have to enlarge the window to get the best effect. Actually maximizing the window is the best view. When turned on and you select a picture, it is displayed in the right pane. And you can resize the pane by dragging the vertical border between the main pane and the preview pane. It provides a view like this:

The last item on the list is the Navigation pane which controls the left information pane, sometimes referred to as the folder tree. It is on by default, but try it and see what you like. The next picture shows the Navigation pane deselected.

Lastly for our discussion here, please turn on the Details in the View menu. This will display a number of columns of information. The column we will concentrate on is the Size column. But I want to digress for a monent and point out some other features in the use of columns. You can resize them by dragging the vertical divider line between columns and you can sort them ascending or descending by clicking on the title of the column. These are standard Windows features that have been around from early on.

Now after you have played around for a while, please sort the Size column so it shows the largest sizes at the top. If your photos are already small, you can e-mail them directly with no change. By small, I prefer 200K or less. If your pics are over 200 and maybe as large as shown in my pics above, you really need to downsize them to send them via e-mail. This is actually a very easy process, but it does have to be done one at a time.

First select the picture to resize. Open it in your photo program and look for the File. Save As selection. See if it has a choice to save as an e-mail attachment. some programs use File-Export to e-mail. Vista has a way to do it and I'll cover this when I have more time.

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