Feb 112009

This is so odd. For all of my 25 years teaching computer software, I’ve repeated over and over again to “Save your work!” “Save often.” With most software that is important. But, with Picasa I never use the Save command!

You really don’t have to. Picasa remembers everything you’ve done to a picture. As long as you use Picasa, what you see is what you get. But, if you use another program to view that picture on disk it will see the original photo without Picasa’s edits. To use a photo in another program, you must either Save, or Export. I use the Export command to create a new original. Export is the only way I can make the photo a different size as well.

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If you want to use the Save command, let me tell you how it works. I’ll use the example of a photo I took of a hay field. I think it would be more artistically pleasing as a black and white, so I use the B&W effect in Picasa, and I see it in Picasa as a B&W photo. But, the original, color photo is still what’s on the disk in My Pictures. If I use Powerpoint, for example, and import the Hayfield photo from disk, I’ll get the color one.

Edited, how it appears in Picasa
Photo file on disk

You can save your edits to disk by using File | Save, or by right-clicking on the photo and selecting Save. Now the photo file on disk will also be B&W, and therefore, if you use Powerpoint to insert the file, you will get the B&W version.

But, what if you should change your mind sometime and want the color one back? No problem, Picasa won’t allow you to lose your original. When you use the Save command, Picasa creates a hidden folder called ‘Originals’ and puts your original, color photo in there. After you save a photo, Picasa’s ‘Undo’ button will show, “Undo Save.” If you click on that, Picasa will retrieve the original from the hidden folder and put it back in the file position.


So, go ahead and Save if you want to! It doesn’t hurt anything, you can always ‘Undo’ the save. It just takes up extra space on your disk for the originals. And, it certainly is less confusing when the pictures on disk are the same as what you see in Picasa!

Picasa even provides a button to save all the edits in any given folder. Look in the upper right corner of any folder in the Library view. In the example below, Picasa tells me it will save the edits on 88 pictures if I just click the ‘Save to Disk’ button. That would also put 88 originals into the Originals folder.


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  4 Responses to “Picasa Tip: To Save or Not to Save”

  1. thansk for this.
    I have 2 questions-
    1. Can I view the size of folders of the original photos and the size of photos of the ‘saved/edited photos?
    2. is there an easy way to un-save multiple folders. My pictures folders are about 100GBs.

    • Patrick, did you figure something out for #2? In some cases, I have been saving, and would like an easy way of undoing the saves without combing through the entire library.

  2. […] you’ve been reading these tips all along, you know that we advocate *not* saving. As long as you use Picasa every time you work with your pictures, you don’t need to save. […]

  3. Keep up the good work! I’ve been sending your newsletters on to friends. Hope they subscribe. John

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