Jan 132010

As a follow up to last week’s ‘Five Deadly Sins’, I thought I’d revisit a topic originally covered in our Geeks on Tour newsletter.  I’ve received more than one email from readers telling me that Picasa is responsible for creating several sets of duplicate photos on their computers. If you experience duplicate photos, and you use Picasa, there are a couple things you should know.

Don’t import duplicates

Picasa will exclude duplicatesIf you use Picasa to import your photos from the camera to the computer, make sure you have the ‘Exclude Duplicates’ option checked. Picasa will mark with a red X the pictures it has already imported previously, and it won’t import them again. I prefer to delete all photos from my camera after I import them so there are no duplicates possible.





Pictures in ‘Albums’ are not duplicates

Picasa screenshot of albums vs foldersNotice, in the image at the right, that there are two sections in Picasa’s ‘Library.’ The top section is referred to as ‘Albums’, and the bottom section is ‘Folders.’ You could have thousands of photos on your computer without one Album. Albums are just pointers to photos. You create albums for the convenience of viewing groups of photos together such as all your beach photos. The actual photo files ‘live’ in the folders.

Think of it like a juke box full of records and imagine that this juke box has the ability for you to make a list of your favorite music. You can push a button on the juke box to play ‘Chris’ songs.’ But that list of songs is not a copy of the records, it is just a list that points to the records to play. Same thing with albums. The picture is not copied into the album. The album is just a list of pointers to the actual photos. The actual photos live in the folders. If you delete the photo from the folder, it will be gone from the album. If someone removed a record from the juke box, it will no longer play as part of Chris’ songs.

Picasa can help you find real duplicates

If you have exported photos to another folder, or if you have imported without checking the exclude duplicates option, you may have real duplicates on your computer. Picasa cannot automatically erase duplicates – and I wouldn’t trust any program that says it does – but it can help you find them.

Click on Tools, Experimental, Show Duplicate Files. This is a special search in Picasa.  Although labeled as experimental, I find it works pretty good.  With all your duplicates displayed, you can study them and delete the duplicates manually. Just click on the photo to remove, or Ctrl-Click on multiple photos, and then press the delete key on your keyboard.

BE CAREFUL! I’d rather have a few duplicates than accidentally delete too much. But then, you DO have a backup right?! Make sure to note what folder each of the duplicate files is in – you may find that you have a duplicate folder and you can get rid of a lot of duplicates by deleting the entire folder.  Also make sure to note the file size and resolution.  Many times duplicates exist because you exported a picture to a smaller size.  Make sure that you delete the smaller size picture not the original, higher resolution picture.

  1. To find what folder a picture is in: you should be able to see the folder name above the picture, or click on the picture and see what folder is highlighted at the left.  But the sure fire way to know what folder a picture is stored in is to right-click on the picture and click “Locate on Disk.’  You can also open the Properties panel by clicking the i in the lower right corner.
  2. To know the file size and/or resolution of a picture: When you click on a picture, the status bar (blue bar at the bottom) displays details about the picture, including resolution and file size.  To have the resolution showing for every picture you can: View | Thumbnail Caption | Resolution.
  3. To see duplicates side by side: When you use the ‘Show Duplicate Files’ command, it filters all your pictures to show you only the ones that have duplicates, but it keeps the view organized by folders.  Usually the duplicates are in different folders, so you won’t see them side by side.  In the upper left of the screen, at the top of the Album list, you will see “Search Results.”  If you click on that, you will be viewing all the search results (duplicates) in one group regardless of folders.

When you’re ready to view all your photos again, just click on the button at top that reads, “Back to View All.”

Here’s Google’s official info on managing Duplicate Photos.  And, here’s a Google forum post I wrote to someone trying to manage duplicate photos.

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

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Not a member?  Join now.  You can also  buy the ‘Beginner’s Guide to Picasa 3.5’ complete with a DVD of all the basic videos.

  18 Responses to “Picasa Tip: Finding Duplicate Pictures”

  1. I have much expertise in excel, so i can’t help you, but I used DuplicateFilesDeleter to fond and remove duplicate files.

  2. “DuplicateFilesDeleter” is the best solution for this problem.

  3. DuplicateFilesDeleter did a great job with me.

  4. […] I found a source of good info on the feature here: Picasa Tip: Finding Duplicate Pictures […]

  5. Hello ,
    I am using duplicate files deleter.com that can find and delete all duplicate files by one click. Thanks.

  6. I am also using DuplicateFilter.com to find and remove duplicate photo files from my computer. Fast and easy! Nice job!

  7. I love Visual Similarly Duplicate Image Finder by Mindgems. More than 300 image formats supported.

  8. I am using Duplicate Filter to find and delete duplicates in my hard disk.

  9. I have used CleanGenius to remove duplicate files. It helped me much.

  10. when you said “In the upper left of the screen, at the top of the Album list, you will see “Search Results”… you nailed it and saved me HOURS of work! thank you for this little…yet HUGE..tip!

  11. deleting duplicate files
    I am also facing the same issue of duplicate files. i got the solution when i used a utility http://duplicatefilesdeleter.com/ and it worked for me.

  12. I tried using the Tools > Experimental technique to remove duplicates and then used Locate on disc to show the duplicates side by side. I then found you only need to use Locate on disc without the Experimantal bit. It showed that ins some cases I had 5 copies of the same image (even though I religiously check the do not import duplicates box when importing new images). If one uses the “list” view after the Locate on disk, the duplicate images have an extra number showing which multiple of the image. It is then easy (though tedious if there are lots) to highlght these and just delete them.

  13. Hi,

    I have an issue with Picasa. I have been using Picasa and Picasaweb simultaneously and Have syncd both of them. I had to do a complete re-install of my PC and after that, When I mapped my photos in Picasa and tried Syncing, It is creating a lot of duplicate folders in Picasaweb with the same Album name. It seriously becomes a pain to delete them online. Is there a solution for this?
    Pls advise. Thanks in Advance.

  14. Duplicates. I always x on the area not to copy duplicates. But when working with pictures in Picasa, for some reason, next thing I have a picture that says, copy 2 of … and copy 3 of… and even copy 4 of…. I have had to manually take them out and that is when I am sometimes trying to get rid of copy 2, the next thing I have another copy. I think I have gotten rid of the copy 2’s and when I get to the bottom of my screen they are now copy 3. I have just transferred pictures from my 35 mil slides onto Picasa planning on making a Gift CD and I already have more than one copy of these pictures. So before going any further I have to clear my computer of the extra’s. It is very time consuming and has really put me off of the job. But I want to make a CD of our children when they were younger and we were using a 35 mil camera. The projector no longer works and this way they each could have copies of the pictures.

    One day I will get back to it, but have to take a break and rethink my plan.

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