Today, I’ll be talking about the various ways that you can tag your photos and videos using the Windows Photo Gallery.

Info Pane
Clicking on the ‘Info’ button in the toolbar opens the ‘Info Pane’, which allows you to view and edit metadata for the selected photos and videos. In addition to Tags, you can edit the following metadata just by clicking on it:

  • File name

  • Date and time taken

  • Rating

  • Tags

  • Caption

But let’s focus on tagging for now. After making your selection, click on the ‘Add Tags’ control and start typing. If you have any tags on any of your photos, you’ll notice that an auto-complete menu pops up with a list of any tags that match what you’re typing. This makes it easy to add frequently-used tags to photos over and over.

Power-user tip: This auto-complete behavior works even if you have a complex tree of tags. And if you haven’t created a tree structure yet, you can create one just by typing a backslash character (“\”) in your tag name (e.g. Friends\Bob).

Drag and Drop
The Navigation Tree is also an easy way to tag your photos and videos. You can quickly create new tags here by clicking on the ‘Create a New Tag’ node (which is always the first entry in the tag tree), and typing the name of your new tag. You can then drag-and-drop to place your new tag where you’d like it in the tree.

Once you have a tag created in the tree, just drag and drop photos and videos to it to assign that tag to them. You can drag items one at a time, or as part of a multi-selection.

In addition to using drag and drop to assign Tags, you can also drag and drop photos and videos to other parts of the tree as well. Drag items to a date on the tree to change the date taken. Drag items to a rating to set the rating for those items. And you can drag and drop items to folder the same way you’re used to in Windows XP.

– Scott Dart

Comments (9)

  1. In my opinion, one of the coolest new Windows applications in Windows Vista is Windows Photo Gallery.

  2. Kdbertel says:

    I agree. This new Photo Gallery is just awesome.

    Is the tag functionality also exposed to other apps, or do they have to do the database searching themselves? That is, it would be really cool if in Paint.NET, I could open a file by browsing through tag views to find the one I want, as opposed to where it is in the directory structure.

  3. Scott Dart [Microsoft] says:

    Tags are written back to the file whenever possible (not all file formats support metadata writeback, and you must have write access to the file).

    Any application can access this metadata through the published APIs

    We’ll be posting more on metadata in coming weeks since it seems to be a very hot topic!


    – Scott Dart [Microsoft]

  4. Alex Danvy says:

    Tagging is great. It really change the way we use digital photography. You guys did a great job on Windows Photo Gallery.

    Actually, you have to select photos and drag’n’drop them to the tag, which mean litterally "I put photos on this tag". I’d like to be able to select a tag and drag’n’drop it of photos wich means "I put tag on photos".

    In Microsoft Imaging Suite, wich I am sure was a great source of inspiration, I could "tag photos" (select tags and click on photos I wanted to tag.

  5. Scott Dart [Microsoft] says:

    We thought about the ‘drag tag to photo’ scenario, and decided not to implement it simply because it was such an inefficient way to tag (you can only apply a tag to one photo at a time, with a lot of mouse movement).

    The ‘Label Painter’ mechanism in Digital Image Library that you refer to is much more efficient, but was a complicated feature for many users. We always had problems with users confusing the ‘painter’ mode from the ‘editor’ mode, not knowing when or how to use which tool since they looked so similar but behaved so differently.

    In Vista, we wanted to have a clear model for tagging that made sense for the majority of users, and was efficient as well (the new Tagging control in the Info Pane).

    Drag and drop to the tree just makes sense, and was repeatedly requested for Digital Image Library, so we were able to get that implemented as well. If we hear enough feedback that people want to drag tags to photos, we’ll keep it in mind for future releases.


    Scott Dart [Microsoft]

  6. interscape says:

    Tagging is pretty cool, but what Photo Gallery is lacking is a way to reorganize your photos physically on the hard drive. Since the Importer tool does not give you a whole lot of control over where your pictures go (you might have more than one event still on your camera, but you can only download everything, and you can only do it to one location), it is possible you might have several different events in one directory.

    But Photo Gallery won’t reorganize your photo files based on tags, like Media Player will reorganize your music files based on their metadata. Which means that Photo Gallery can be a real pain in the butt, depending on the scenario.

  7. Why does ‘drag tag to photo’ imply tagging only one at a time? You could support multi-selecting tags, and dragging-and-dropping those on multi-selected photos, hence applying all the selected tags to all the selected photos.

    The UI for dragging photos onto tags makes it sometimes difficult to see the tags, especially with multiple photos selected, because the photos obscure the tags.

  8. Do you support undo of tagging? What if you accidentally dropped on a date and reset the dates of all your files? That would be impossible to recover from manually.

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