Mar 112010

When you have thousands of photos on your computer, it’s hard to keep track of them even with the best of tools.  I’ve had some questions lately from people who have just imported their photos and they seem to have disappeared into computer La-La Land.  This happens in Picasa because there are so many options for ways to view your library of photos.  For example maybe the particular options you have set is sorting your new folder down toward the bottom and you don’t realize it.  When it doesn’t appear at the top, you think they’re lost.

Notice the Recently Updated Album

One simple solution is to take a look at the ‘Recently Updated’ Album.  This is an automatic Album that does just that – shows the pictures that were most recently updated.  Automatic albums are displayed as a green folder icon with a star.  Other automatic albums include ‘Starred Photos’ and ‘Recently Emailed Photos.’  These exists at the top of your albums collection – and they are automatically generated just for your convenience.


Use the Date Range Filter

Another way to find photos by date is to use the Date Range Filter.  That’s the slider to the right of the filter section.  It usually is placed all the way at the left end which means, “Show me all pictures no matter how old they are.’  As you drag the slider toward the right, you will be filtering your library of photos to newer and newer ones.  In the screen shot below, notice the position of the slider and the text that indicates the date range is all pictures up to 10 days old.


The problem with this filter is that you can set a beginning for your date range (e.g. 10 days ago) but the range end is always set to today.  I can’t find a way to filter for all pictures taken in September 2007 for example.

You may be saying, “But my folders are already sorted by date.”  Well, yes, but that is Folders.  What if you have a Folder called Christmas and every year, you put your Christmas day photos in there?  That Folder will be sorted according to the date of the Folder which is usually the same as the earliest picture within the folder.

View *ALL* of your Pictures in Order by Date

An advanced trick would be to get all your pictures listed in a Search Results ‘Temporary Album. How?  By searching for .jpg – *every* photo will end in .jpg! If you sort this Album by date, every individual picture will show in order by date regardless of its folder.  Now you need to scroll thru them to find the date in question – a bit of a pain, but do-able.

I have not been able to use the Search feature to look for photos by date, if anyone else has – I’d love to hear from you.

Use Windows 7

Outside of Picasa, using Windows 7, you can view the ‘Pictures Library and view by day or month.  Pretty cool, and certainly a worthy technique if you think you’ve lost some photos but you know when they were taken.  This technique arranges them by date regardless of the folder in which they’re stored.


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Need to learn the basics?  Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Picasa

  11 Responses to “Find Pictures by Date”

  1. You’re able to search for pictures made on a specific date with typing the date into the search field in following format: yyyy:mm:dd. Or just typing a part like yyyy:mm. So to find pictures taken on 15th September 2010 type 2010:09:15.


    • Andrea: Awesome tip!! I did not know that! Following your example, it worked perfect to find all pictures for a given month like August, 2011 by searching for 2011:08 I’d like to pass this on – is there a website I could link to for giving you credit?

    • I’d like to buy you a beer (or whatever beverage of your choice). This is an *awesome* tip and something I’ve been trying to figure out for a while.


    • This is the exact tip I’ve been looking for. I have used Picasa for years, but always felt frustrated that I couldn’t search for a date or month.

      Thank you

  2. That sounds good but reality is Picasa should NEVER mess with your original data information in the first place without asking clearly. And no I don’t want to go into some place to try and find out what went wrong after Picasa messes it up.

    You shouldn’t have to set anything. Picasa should see the date of origin and adjust accordingly. As with other google services you end up paying for it in one way or the other with all the time you lose trying to figure out what Google would like you to do with your data and files. Nonsense. I spend more time being instructed by Google for day to day stuff than anything else I do online. Sure it’s free and everyone is grateful, but seriously. Picasa does not OWN MY STUFF.

    • Same issue here. My Sony Camera has Picasa preloaded and when I transfered pics from camera to PC, folder on PC shows current date as ‘Date Created’ and actual date created as ‘Date Modified’. Can someone please help me switch the two columns pls…

  3. This is really an atrocious “feature” of Picasa. When I modify a 10-year-old picture in Picasa today, that 10-year-old picture will have a “Modified Date”, which is shown in Details View in Windows Explorer, of today’s date and time — not its original date. It’s gone! And if I try to show the “Date picture taken” date that exists in the picture’s metadata, it refuses to show up in Windows Explorer. So, therefore, I cannot sort my pictures by their original “picture taken” dates in Windows!!!

    How can this “feature” be undone so that I can sort my pictures in Windows — outside of Picasa — by the date they were taken?

    Frank D

    • I think you must have something set differently in Windows. Your picture includes several dates, ‘Date Taken’ and ‘Date Modified’ are two of them. In my Windows Explorer the ‘Date’ column *is* Date Taken. If I wanted to see Date Modified, I would right click at the column headings and check Date Modified. So – yours must be already set to Date Modified. You need to add a Date Taken column – then you can sort by that.

  4. Recently 200 or so of my 2700 Alaska pictures had had the date taken dates changed which puts the pictures out of order. The date modified dates remained correct. Picasa does not use the date modified. How can I change the date modified to date taken so Picasa will put the pictures bac in the proper order? Thank you for your help.

    • You’re right that Picasa uses the Date Taken for it’s sorting purposes. You can change this date with Picasa: select the picture(s) you want to change, then click Tools, Adjust Photo Date. Maybe that’s how your pictures got changed in the first place?
      I don’t know of any way to automatically change the Date Taken to the Date Modified. There are many utilities available to edit this data – just google for ‘file date editor.’ I haven’t used any of them, so can’t recommend. Let us know what happens OK?

  5. Does Picasa consider the “date” to be the created/modified date or the EXIF timestamp?

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