Windows Photo Gallery: Navigation Tree

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

Comments (7)

  1. oZZy says:

    Hi Scott!

    It’s very interesting to read ur blog about Microsoft Photo technology and it’s very important to bring us this useful information about what’s rolling around Photo Gallery soft…

    Ok, but my main question is not about MS Photo Gallery exaclty, but about ‘Phodeo’ project.

    1) Can u expalin me something interesting and new about Phodeo?

    2) Does Photo Gallery brings some features from Phodeo project? Like Face recognition? Will be there powerful organizing core that we saw in "Media Browser" video sometimes ago on Channel9? (sorting by keys, by face recognition filter, by other parameters)

    3) Will be Photo Gallery support only images viewing or it will be more complex soft? For example to edit, to making presentations, to making other sweet things with user’s photos, videos and other images.

    4) And last about Phodeo. It was very cool features in that Phodeo project(somewhere called as Media Browser) like some kind of new UI presentation. It could make views by timelines, it could organize image galley as nice 3D preview and so on…

    Scott, can u disclose any information about that nice and really cool Phodeo/Media Browser?

    For those who don’t know what about i’m talking, download this video –

    Best regards, Scott

    from oZZy

  2. Scott Dart [Microsoft] says:

    Thanks for the questions Ozzy – The project that you mention is a research prototype that was done a few years ago. Our team works closely with the Microsoft Research group that developed this prototype (and others).

    You’ll find that a lot of the functionality shown there has made it into the Windows Photo Gallery. In particular, the Nav Tree uses the same concepts of creating ‘virtual’ sets of photos based on metadata (tags, date taken, ratings, etc).

    The Photo Gallery does more than just photo organization and viewing. It supports basic photo editing features, as well as features for sharing photos and creating movies. Stay tuned for more details!

    – Scott Dart [Microsoft]

  3. oZZy says:

    Hi Scott once again 🙂

    and thx 4 quick react!

    Yes, i know that Phodeo was mostly concept project, but it was so powerful and flexible as hell!

    And yes, i noticed that MS Photo Gallery has few similar features that Phodeo had, but…

    What about that very interesting feature as ‘face recognition’ mechanism? Will it be sometimes in any MS photo soft? Anyway, does MS dropped and forgot about face recognition?

    And btw, of course you know other very interested feature like(it was in Media Browser) DVD organizer.

    It was very very cool feature to making every user his own DVD collection by library of images(like dvd covers) andf not only as images. It was more useful, it could find, search and organize DVDs by actors, timelines and directors like branch from one dvd jumping to another by filters! Very iteresting feature!

    And last nasty feature of Phodeo was that cool organizing core: it could organize photos by faces, by nature and it was not just keywarded images, Phodeo digged every image by specials filters and recognize it according to filter and after organize it to special "Bins" that was created by manual or automatically! Very great org system! It was very powerful and great i ever saw!

    Please Scott, tell, will we see something so powerful and flexible organizing engine as Phodeo had? (not only standart sorting by keywords as many other soft has)

    Thx 4 ur support Scott, please keep posting here!

    It is very interesting post!


  4. oZZy says:

    Hi again Scott,

    Yes, i know Phodeo was just concept project of Next Media Group(MS Research).

    But the most interesting thing Phodeo has was powerful and flexible organization engine! It could organizing not only by metadata(like keys, comments, time dates and etc.), but even by scanning and digging images by special mechanism according to ebnabled by user filters and after sorting images to special ‘Bins’ by groups! Does MS Photo can do it so as Phodeo?

    And of course the best feature i ever saw was ‘face recognition’! Wow, it was really cool! Phodeo could sort photos by faces, group of peoples and organize it to one group and other photos to another groups. Will MS Photo someday bring it to us? Really?

    Anyway, i’m really hope that most cool researches from MS research tema won’t be forgotten! Use it…as i saw and know it is very cool!

    P.S. Will MS Photo be independent app too or it will be part of Vista OS only?

    Scott, thank you for support. Keep posting here, it’s very interesting and popular blog for me! (i decide for many others too 😉


  5. oZZy says:

    Opps, sorry 4 double posting…but…more posts – more info! 😉


  6. Scott Dart [Microsoft] says:

    The Windows Photo Gallery is only available as part of Windows Vista.

    Our group is in close contact with Microsoft Research, and is always looking for opportunities to ‘product-ize’ their great ideas.

    As for what future features we may or may not include, I wish I could tell you, but I’m afraid you’ll have to wait and see 🙂


    – Scott Dart [Microsoft]

  7. Although we talk a a lot about the Windows Photo Gallery, the photo experience in Vista also includes…