Navigating the My Pictures Folder

When your PC slurps in pictures from your digital camera, it automatically places them inside a folder called My Pictures (Figure 5-1 ). The considerate designers at Microsoft have customized this folder for your photo-handling needs. For example:

• The folder is factory set to Thumbnails view, so you actually see miniature snapshots (thumbnails), instead of generic file icons. Even subfolders within My Pictures sport one or more images to hint at their contents.

• The task pane, along the left, provides options for working with pictures, like "View as a slide show," "Print pictures," and "Copy all items to CD."

• The Details box at the bottom of the task pane shows the photo's resolution in pixels along with standard file information (name, size, and the date it was last edited).

Note: You can apply these picture-friendly options to any folder on your computer. See "Customizing Windows Folders for Photos" in Section 5.1.4 .

Figure 5-1. Windows XP's My Pictures folder is factory-set to work with photos and other images. To open it, go to My Computer —> My Documents —* My Pictures, or simply choose Start —» My Pictures. If you don't see thumbnails of your images, choose View —» Thumbnails.

Before you begin moving and copying photos between folders, you can set up your folder window to make the job easier. Click the Folders button on the toolbar (Figure 5-2 ) to display a list of file folders where the task pane used to be. (If you don't see the Folders button, right-click the toolbar and choose Standard Buttons from the shortcut menu that appears.)

There's a hierarchy to Windows folders, and the folder list in the left pane (now called the Explorer bar ) maps it out for you. The plus sign next to a folder icon tells you the closed folder contains subfolders. Click the + button to reveal the folder's contents. When you do so, the plus sign changes to a minus sign (like the ones next to My Documents and My Pictures in Figure 5-2 ). Click the - button to collapse the folder, hiding its contents.

Figure 5-2. The Folders toolbar button (circled) toggles the Explorer bar in the window's left pane. Clicking a folder at left displays its name in the title bar ("Lola at the Beach") and its contents at right. With this setup, you can easily drag photos to move them. Windows highlights your destination folder ("oregon") as your cursor approaches.

Tip: Another way to open a new window like Figure 5-2 is to choose Start1 Windows Explorer.

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