You’ve tagged them, now here’s how to find them fast

If you read John’s recent post, an introduction to “people tags”,  you now know that you can quickly  tag  the faces in your photos– using either the  contacts in your contacts list, or any name you want.  So hopefully by now you’ve played around with people tags in our beta, adding them to photos of your friends, family, and that “celebrity” you’re stalking.

One reason you tagged all those photos is that at some point you’ll want to find some of them quickly. So, now the fun part: here’s how to do it.

Turns out you can find photos that have a people tag pretty much the same way you find a photo with a descriptive tag.  You can use the navigation pane on the left, use the info pane on the right, or search and arrange by people tags.

In the navigation pane (hint: left side of the window), when you select a contact or other person, you’ll see all of the photos they’re tagged in.  It’s that simple.


Maybe you’re more likely to browse your photos a different way.  If you’re browsing by date, for example, and you find a photo with some friends in it. If you want to find all the pictures you have that contain one of the people from that picture, select the name of that person from the pane on the right, like this:


The gallery will switch to the first view, with the person selected in the navigation pane and all of the pictures of them ready for your perusal.
The third way to find people is with search.  Let me walk you through it.

Search looks at all of the properties (or tags) of your photos, including your descriptive tags, the camera model, the author, etc.  Here I’ve selected the folder “All Photos and Videos” and then searched for “john.”  So in addition to the pictures tagged with “John,” there are a few photos with the caption “John and Fairview,”, which is the street address of the Seattle Times and the clock featured in this blog post.  And there are also some photos from a team evet that I got from John, where he’s tagged as the author.


After that, I would have to sort through all of these search results to figure out which ones are tagged “John.”  Kind of a pain. So, this is a great time for me to use the “arrange by” view.  Over to the left of the search box, I can arrange by several properties.  If I select Person, the people-tagged photo floats to the top.


Voila!  Now I can publish them, print them, fix them up, or do something creative.  My teammates will be blogging about new and old ways of doing these things over the coming weeks.

Robert Ketcherside, Program Manager

Comments (16)

  1. jaxim says:

    I’d love an ability to select multiple tags to find photos with ALL of those tags rather than finding photos within any of the tags selected.

    In other words, I’d rather have an "AND" search than an "OR" search when selecting multiple tags.

    I’ve said this before, take a look at PhotoShop Elements on ways to perform easy advanced boolean searches of tags.  I just bought Elements 7 and I am afraid that I may be reverting back to Elements from Windows Photo Gallery b/c of the lack of features that Elements has had for many years.

  2. MovieBlog says:

    I actually had this same comment about PicasaWeb (and their face tagging feature).  I would think that consumers are going to want an easy way to refine their filter to include/exclude specific tags.

    For example, what if I wanted pictures with me or my wife, but not any with the kids?  Is there a way to do that easily?  I wouldn’t want to have to say something cumbersome like "(Mike or Carol) and not (Greg or Peter or Bobbie or Marcia or Jan or Cindy).

    Cool feature, but it’s limited until I can easily get to the set of photos I want without getting too many.

  3. SeanMcLeod says:

    Any reason that the new People tags aren’t indexed by Windows Search? I’ve been using the regular tags for tagging people and locations and often make use of Windows Search for finding/filtering photos outside of Live Photo Gallery.

    For others interested in the actual XMP meta-data that is being stored for the new People tags including the rectangular regions of the faces take a look at the following blog entry.!B5D803CBC24E8221!294.entry


  4. Thriol says:

    I absolutely agree with jaxim that using OR between the tags is completely useless. I have also repeatedly said so. For instance here:

    Microsoft obviously knew how to do it right in the Microsoft Digital Image Suite, which has unfortenately been discontinued.

  5. theorbo says:

    Where does the associated name for the "That’s Me" come from? I can’t figure out how to change it … anyone know?

    I think the product is getting better, however.  Keep up the great work!

  6. pdfw says:

    Is the information of Photo Gallery saved in file Pictures.pd5? I want get the information like all tags used and all folder included in Photo Gallery. How can I get? I think I can get these information from the file Pictures.pd5, but how can I get information from this file? Has some API to access this file using C# or C++?

  7. pdfw says:

    If you have any suggestion on getting information from the file Pictures.pd5, you can mail me. My mail is


  8. gcoupe says:

    I’ll add my vote to the voices of those who are asking for an AND function in place of the almost completely useless OR function…

    I’ve ranted on about this "feature" way back in 2006 when I found that it had been implemented this way in Vista’s Photo Gallery:!6AA39937A982345B!2133.entry

  9. Criss.AC says:

    I would like to know if maybe in the future, the people tags will appear as the so-called notes on Flickr? Or if we could drag a rectangle on the picture, but not necessary to associate it with a person, but instead to write a description? And that description to be indexed by Windows Search? [Just like the "notes" on Flickr?]

  10. johnthor says:

    This is John from Microsoft.  Thanks for all this great feedback.  Here are responses to all the questions in this thread thus far.

    @ Jamix : Agreed, a All view would be useful.  I filed a bug on this.  Stay tuned 😉

    @MovieBlog: Excluding a tag from search would also be useful.  I’ll file a bug on this as well.  Our wordwheel today is really a filter, but you could imagine it being a query.  I think that’s the real feature I hear you guys asking for.  Speak up if that assumption is wrong.

    @SeanMcLeod: Re indexing.  It’s a chicken and an egg thing.  People tags are new and the previous version of Windows Search doesn’t know where to look to index them.  We have filed bugs on this.  It will get better over time.

    @Theorbo: The name for “me” is derived from your liveid in the beta.  It’s your email alias – the part of your live id before the @.   For various technical reasons we had to do it like this in the beta.  We have bugs on this.

    @pdfw: Yes, that pd5 is the db we use.  The DB is really just a perf optimization for us and it’s not intended for anyone but the photogallery to use.  We always try to write metadata back to the file which any application can read from.  We don’t have a public interface into it today.  Depending on what you want to do the Windows Search SDK might be a good starting point for you.  If you are just interested in getting metadata out of the files you can find samples by searching “photo metadata” on msdn.

    @Criss, AC: We thought about this and chose not to do this.  Flickr notes aren’t really strongly typed to people.  Notes are generally used on Flickr to comment on a specific part of the photo.  It seemed like placing people tags in them would be a misuse of the field.  That said our publish path is now open to any developer to extend and the sample publishes to Flickr.  Hint hint.  

  11. wallyMa says:

    I live by CNTRL-T

    PLEASE tell me there is a keyboard shortcut for adding people!

    if I have to take my hand off the keyboard and move that mouse around for every new person in each photo i will be carpalized!


  12. coldacid says:

    @johnthor: Then when the new Live Photo Gallery is RTW, I’ll start seeing "Chris Charabaruk" rather than "chris" for photos tagged as me? What part of our Live profiles will the RTW use for "That’s me" tagging? (If it uses something like the Live Messenger nickname, I’ll continue avoiding using "That’s me", and continue tagging myself under my full name.)

  13. torfason says:

    Sorry if I’m slightly off-topic, but as tagging becomes more and more feature-rich, I worry more and more about losing my tags. Jpegs are fine, since "truth is in the file", but what about my Mpegs (and pngs, since metadata-in-file is not supported for them either)? How can I backup the tags (and other metadata) for file types where it cannot be stored directly?

    Would it perhaps make sense to introduce a setting to have Live Photo Gallery write a sidecar file for file types that do not allow metadata? I guess such a structure would be proprietary, but it could be in XML form so that it was readily readable by other applications that want to interact with Live Photo Gallery.

  14. neil_m_stoker says:

    In relation to the discussion between @johnthor and @SeanMcLeod:

    It does seem a real pity that the People tags weren’t implements in a way that was gracefully backward compatible with regular Tags (expose the names as regular Tags, put the extra info in some hidden section??)

    I appreciate that this might simply be too complicated within the bounds of the formats, but it does now mean that tagging will be useless for me in Vista (at the OS level) until it gets fixed, and that it also doesn’t work in Media Center / on my Xbox 360 in Media Center Extender (which was a really useful thing to be able to create slideshows based on tags – and since I had hiearchical tags for people (manually done), I could do stuff like show all family tagged stuff – I doubt this is easy with the new People tags unless you capture more info / adjust the UI significantly).

    I suppose more irritatingly is that whilst the stuff within Windows will no doubt be fixed (I’m guessing it needs a tweak to the search iFilter) things like electronic picture frames won’t ever get fixed to handle this stuff – you’ll just need to shell out more money to the manufaturers and ditch the old one.  Unless… you can put some sort of intermediary service to "downconvert" to old style tags into the Media sharing (I think my Momento frame gets it’s data shared out via a service that has it’s UI in Media Player)… that would be smart.  But a pipe-dream I guess?!?

  15. bigforrap says:

    My suggestion is for the ratings system in WLPG.

    Currently you can rate a picture as a whole. I personally tag everyone in a picture, even if it’s only the back of their head is showing. This is irritating, as when I search them up, WLPG turns up tons of pictures that actually don’t show that individual’s face. The ‘filter by rating’ system doesn’t work because the picture itself is rated high, it’s a great picture. Just THAT individual had his/her head facing the other way for the shot, and THAT individual looks bad. But the rest of the photo is fine.

    Therefore it’d be cool to allow us to rate each person that has been tagged in a photo based on what they look like in that particular shot.

    WLPG could rate the whole picture based on the collective ratings of the individuals tagged, or could allow the user to do the conventional rating as is.

    PS: If there is a workaround already featured in the software could you please let me know? Thanks

    Great Blog. Great Software

    Take Care

  16. bigforrap says:

    Could there possibly be a feature such as ‘Item tagging’, or the ability to add notes to certain areas of the image. It’s just a concept in case it hasn’t been thought of yet. I’m not aware of the methods used by other software and hosts.