Aug 102016

picasaI know that Picasa has been retired by Google, but it is still available, and it still is the best free software for managing pictures on your computer. If you’re going to use it, you need to understand that the pictures must come from your computer. Picasa works with the pictures that are stored on your computer’s hard drives.

Your first Stop in Picasa should be Folder Manager!  It is a common misconception that once you install Picasa, your pictures are ‘IN’ Picasa.  But that is not true.  Picasa is not a container.  It is simply a tool for working with the pictures that are on your computer.  If you use Picasa to delete a photo, you will be deleting that photo from your computer.  If you remove Picasa from your computer, your pictures are still there. You can tell Picasa which folders of pictures you want it to display by using Tools->Folder Manager.  It starts out scanning your whole computer for pictures, but you should go into Folder Manager and remove the folders you don’t want to see in Picasa.  Here is a video that shows you how to use Folder Manager.

Understand Files and Folders! Many years ago our computer training company helped people computerize their accounting systems.  The first thing we had to do was review their manual accounting system.  If their manual system was a mess, computerizing it would just be a bigger mess and getting messier faster!  The same principle applies with your organization of pictures.  If you don’t understand the folders on your computer where your pictures are located, you really won’t understand where they are once you start using Picasa!  If you use a Windows-based computer, that means learning to use Windows Explorer.  If you use a Macintosh, that means learning to use the Finder.  Your pictures are most likely stored in the My Pictures folder on your computer – with or without Picasa!

Please read thru these articles:

Happy Computing!
Jim and Chris Guld

Geeks on Tour

Sep 112015

picasa-vs-photosby Chris Guld,

First of all, what is the same about Picasa and Google Photos? Why are we talking about them both in the same article? And, why are both Picasa and Google Photos the subject of this website? It’s because they are both photo management tools by Google. But that’s where the similarity ends. Saying that Picasa and Google Photos are both photo management tools, is like saying that a car and a jet are both transportation tools. Although it’s true, the two serve very different functions.

  1. Mature vs. New:
    has been around since 2003. Actually it started well before that, but it was purchased by Google in 2003 and became extremely popular in the following years.
    Google Photos is a brand new product by Google, built from the ground up to be a tool for photos and videos in today’s mobile and cloud world. It’s official announcement was in May of 2015. Watch the Google Photos launch video for a great overview.
  2. Computer vs. Cloud:
    is software for your PC or Mac computer to manage photos on your computer. Picasa is for people who want to organize and work with photos on their computer.
    Google Photos is web-based storage (in your Google Account) of all your photos and mobile Apps and Web interface to work with them. There is no computer software for Google Photos, you use a web-browser interface and, photos must be uploaded to your Google account online to work with them in Google Photos. Google Photos is for people who, potentially, don’t even have a computer. They use smartphones, tablets, and cloud (Internet) based resources.
  3. Software vs. Service:
    You get Picasa by downloading the free software to your computer from After downloading it, you no longer need the Internet. It is old-fashioned computer software, like what we used to buy in boxes and install from disks. It does have a feature to upload photos to the Internet, but that is secondary to its main function. In its early years, when you uploaded pictures to your Google Account, that was called Picasa Web Albums. Now it’s called Google Photos. It is this history, from PIcasa Web Albums (2006-2012) to Google+ Photos (2012-2015) to Google Photos (2015…) which causes much of the confusion.
    You have the Google Photos service simply by having a Google Account. Get Google Photos for your Android devices by installing the free App from the Play Store. You get Google Photos for your iPhone or iPad by installing the free App from the App store. You use Google Photos on your computer thru a web interface at – you must be logged in to your Google Account. If you want Google Photos to upload all the photos currently on your computer, you also need to download the Desktop Uploader from
  4. folders-shoeboxFolders or One big Shoebox:
    works with photos, on your computer, in folders. The folders are those folders that you create on your computer’s hard drive, usually within the My Pictures folder. Every photo must be in a folder. I keep 50 – 500 photos in each folder. If you delete a folder of pictures from your hard drive they are gone from Picasa’s view.
    Google Photos works with pictures on the web, in your Google Account. There are no ‘folders.’ Your Google Photos library is like one giant shoebox of all your photos. I have roughly 50,000 pictures in my account. All 50,000 are in one big dump simply called “Photos.” Google Photos then gives you tools to view those photos in different groupings: by day/month/year, by person, by place, by thing. It’s magic. You do not do anything except click on the view you want. If you want custom groupings, you can also make Albums in Google Photos, but it is not required. If you make Albums, they are simply pointers to the pictures in the main library – like a playlist. If you delete photos from an Album – or even the entire album, the photos are still there in your Google Photos library. If you delete pictures from your Library, they are gone, they will also be gone from the Albums.
    If you are accustomed to dividing your pictures into folders, this is something you need to UNlearn in order to understand Google Photos.
  5. Different Features
    Picasa has some features that Google Photos does not. Picasa can add captions to your photos that are stored with the picture file itself and can be viewed by other software. I love captions. I cannot live without captions! Picasa can add a watermark to your photos. So, I will continue to use Picasa – then upload my pictures to Google Photos after adding a caption and a watermark. Picasa can add text directly to the picture. Picasa can create custom collages.
    Google Photos has many features that Picasa does not. Google Photos can share photos directly to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or with a link it creates. Google Photos can combine photos and video clips into movies with automatic transitions and music. I LOVE the movies! The movies that Google Photos can make have revitalized my enjoyment of my pictures. Google Photos can make “stories” of a series of photos, video clips, and maps.

There’s LOTS more to understand, but I hope this gives you a foundation to understand the difference between Picasa and Google Photos. If you’re just starting to take photos, Google Photos is probably all you need. If you’ve been using Picasa for a while, keep using Picasa, but ALSO start using Google Photos – it is the way of the future.

Here’s a 7 minute video on what I think is so special about Google Photos:

Aug 312015

Business visionIn 2008, I decided to start writing a weekly Picasa Tip.  Picasa is free software by Google for managing all the pictures on your computer.  This site has been called “PicasaTutorials” and “PicasaGeeks.” In May of 2015 Google released the smartphone apps called Google Photos. I Love Google Photos! So I am now also writing about Google Photos and you can get to this site by typing in! If you subscribe to our free email Tip of the Week, you get an email every time we post a new tip.  you’ve probably read a bunch of them!  But, what if you wanted to find a past tip?

Search the All Articles Page

My favorite way to find an article on this site is to visit the All Articles page.  There you’ll find a complete listing of all 250+ articles alphabetically by title.  You can scan thru the entire list, or, if you remember something about the title, you can use the browser Find function – Ctrl-F (Cmd-F on Mac) to open up a Find: box.  You’ll see a box open up in the upper right corner of your browser window.  Type what you’re looking for and it will search the text of the current page..  For example, if you type Tag into the find box, it instantly highlights in bright yellow all places on the page where tag is found:

Seaching full Text

If the term you’re searching does not appear in the title of an article, you can use the Search box at the top right of every page.  Type a word in there and it will search the text of every article.  Be aware that this is a literal search of each word.  So, if you enter How do I resize a picture into this box, it will return every page that has the word “How” in it, or do, or I etc.  – all 200 articles will be returned. And, if you put quotes around “How do I resize a Picture?”  You will get 0 results because no article has that exact phrase.


Using Google

Probably the best way to search is using Google because you can ask conversational questions like “How do I resize Pictures” … to limit the results to just pages in the website, add the option like this:

How do I resize a picture

Note: it is important that there be no space between site: and

Searching for Tutorial Videos on

All these same techniques work on our Tutorial Video site as well.  So, if you’re looking for a video on Picasa and resizing pictures, you could go to the Learning Library page for Picasa and use Ctrl-F (Cmd-F on Mac) and type resize.  Now scroll down the page and you will see the video(s) with ‘resize’ in the title.

Or use the Google search with the site option:  How Do I resize a picture

This will give you results from the video library as well as the newsletter articles and the forum posts, and they all will be from the website.

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 using smartphones and tablets, managing digital photos with Picasa or Google Photos, using Google Maps, 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.

Oct 152010

In Picasa’s Library view, there are many symbols/icons you may see on the picture thumbnails.  These are indicators of certain attributes of the pictures being marked.  They are not part of the picture – they are simply informational.  This article will discuss each one.

image Starred: Shows that this picture has been marked as a Favorite picture.  See this article for a discussion of Stars and Tags.
image Uploaded: Indicates that this picture has been uploaded to your Web Albums.  You can right click on this picture and choose ‘Online Actions.’  This gives you options to: View Online, Copy URL, Update Online Photo, or Refresh Online Status
Sync Sync’ed: This shows up on any picture in an album or folder that has been ‘Sync’ed’ to your Web Albums.  See this article about synchronized folders/albums with Picasa Web Albums.
image Movie: This thumbnail is a Movie clip.  If you double-click it, the movie will play. Picasa will play any movie file type that is checked in Tools | Options | File Types
image Geotagged: Indicates that this picture has latitude and longitude coordinates of the location where it was taken.  See this article on Geotagging.
image Block from Uploading: This indicates that you have marked this picture as one that Picasa should definitely not upload, even if it’s in a folder or album that is being synchronized to the web.  To do this for a picture, you right-click on it and choose “Block from Uploading.’

So, I have picture thumbnails in my Picasa Library that look like those below.  Notice the icons in the lower right – or lower left.  Each one is described below the picture:

This picture has been uploaded to Picasa Web Albums, and has been marked as a favorite.
This picture has been geotagged and will be properly placed on a map in Places view.
This one has been geotagged and uploaded
This thumbnail is a video clip.
This thumbnail is in a Sync’ed album or folder.  Therefore it is on the Web in addition to the computer.
This picture has been Blocked from Uploading and will not be on the web even if it is in a Sync’ed album.

When you double-click on a picture to see it in Edit/Single picture view, the symbols disappear from the picture itself.  Instead, they are displayed on the blue status bar below the photo.  That status bar starts with the folder and name of the picture file, then the date and size, the tags (if any) and at the far right you’ll see the icons for Star, Upload,

Mount Raniew

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.

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.

Library View

Single Picture View



Upload Photos to the Web

Add Captions to your Photos

Sync Photo Sort Order









Apr 062010

I’ve heard many people say they don’t know where Picasa puts their pictures.  I’m here to tell you that Picasa only puts pictures where *you* tell it to.  If you don’t tell it what folder to import your pictures to, they don’t get imported.

Here is Picasa’s Import screen.


It gives you two places to specify where you want the pictures to be.

  1. Import to:
  2. Folder title:

Notice that, until you specify something in these boxes, you cannot import your pictures.  the ‘Import all’ and ‘Import Selected’ buttons are grayed out.  You can’t click on them.  As soon as you put something appropriate in the first 2 boxes, then the Import buttons become available.

File Drawer and File Folder

If your computer is your filing cabinet, then box #1 is the drawer, and box #2 is the folder where you want the picture stored (or #1 is folder and #2 is sub-folder).  Notice that box #1 reads ‘Pictures’.  That means, unless you change it, your pictures will be imported to the ‘Pictures’ aka ‘My Pictures’ area of your computer.  Then, you can create a folder within ‘My Pictures’ by typing something into box #2.

This means to import pictures into a *new* folder called South Carolina within My Pictures area.

Import to an Existing Folder

After you have created a folder, it will appear in the drop-down for the first box.  So the next day, when you’ve taken more pictures in South Carolina, you can just click on the ‘Import to:’ drop-down arrow and choose South Carolina from the list.



Now, you can leave the Folder title box blank and click ‘Import all’ or ‘Import Selected.’  Your pictures will be stored in PicturesSouth Carolina.

If the folder you want isn’t on the drop-down list, you can click ‘Choose.’  This will open up a dialog box where you can navigate to any folder on your computer.

Picasa is just your Tool

You can tighten a screw with your thumbnail, or you can use a coin, or you can use a swiss army knife, or you can use a Craftsman screwdriver or a Stanley screwdriver.  They are just different tools for accomplishing the same task.  Once you learn to use a screwdriver – you will probably prefer it.  But the screw doesn’t care – it gets tightened regardless what tool you use.

Picasa is just a tool – it doesn’t actually store your photos – it just helps you put them where you want.  You don’t need to use Picasa to get pictures from your camera to your computer.  You can use the software that came with your camera, you can use the software that came with your computer.  Picasa doesn’t care how the pictures get onto your computer.  As long as the pictures are in a folder that Picasa is watching (see Folder Manager) then Picasa will display them for you.

You can even completely remove Picasa from your computer if you should decide you don’t like it.  Your pictures will remain in whatever folder you put them.

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.

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.




Feb 022010

I’ve written (and said on video) many times that, when I import pictures from my camera, I like to Import All into a folder for the current month.  Two points to be made here:

  1. Import All: It’s just a one-click, no choices method.  This way, I know that I’m getting all the pictures from my camera card – I can delete any bad ones later in Picasa.  If instead, I selected photos to import into separate folders, I may miss some pictures by accident.  Also, after importing all, I let Picasa delete them from the card.  This way I always have a fresh card for use in my camera.
  2. One folder per month: my first import at the beginning of each month requires me to make a new folder.  I just enter 201002 (Feb 2010) in the place for folder name.  Every subsequent import, I just use the drop-down list to select an existing folder for ‘Import To:’  It remembers the previous folders I have used.

But, not everyone wants to use my system … they may have their own system – go figure!  Many people like to have their photos in folders by individual date – sounds like *way* too many folders to me, but to each his own  :-).  The latest version of Picasa can do this for you automatically, just click on the drop-down by ‘Folder title:’ and choose ‘Date Taken’ – that will automatically create folders for each date on your photos and import the photos into their respective folder:

Make New Folders after you Import

Sometimes I do want specific folders other than my main, monthly folder.  After I import my photos, I will select the one(s) I want in a new folder, right click and choose ‘Move to New Folder.’  Clicking on ‘Move to New Folder’ accomplishes two things, 1)it creates the new folder and 2)it moves the selected photos into it.  After that first step, you can now drag other photos into that same folder.

New Video on Importing with Picasa 3.5/6:

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.

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.

Related article
Need to learn the basics?  Check out our ‘Beginner’s Guide to Picasa’ complete withshow-me videos

Jan 072010

Have you heard the one about the lumberjack who decides to turn in his trusty old axe for a new chainsaw?  After struggling for several days with the chainsaw and not felling even one tree, he decides to return it to the store.  He tells the salesman that the chainsaw doesn’t work and he wants his axe back.  The salesman decides to see what is wrong with the chainsaw so he starts it up.  The lumberjack jumps back with surprise saying, ‘What’s that Noise?’

Picasa is easy, but it’s not foolproof.  It’s important to take some time up front to learn how it works.  There are 5 things I keep seeing people do with Picasa that are wrong.  Because they don’t have a good foundation of understanding the program, they use tools the way they *think* they work, rather than learning how they really work.  The results is a mess.

  1. image Using the Import tool instead of the Folder Manager.
    As you collect more and more photos, I see people putting photos on an external hard drive.  This is a wonderful idea, BUT – when they open Picasa they use the Import tool to be able to see them.  The Import tool is meant to copy pictures from an external device (usually your camera) to your computer.  Now they have the pictures twice!  Once on the External Hard Drive, and again on their computer’s built-in Hard Drive.  What they should have used is the Folder Manager.  The Folder Manager tells Picasa to watch the pictures in their original location – not copy them.
  2. imageCreate an Album – then delete the original picture
    Picasa is designed to be an efficient manager of all your pictures.  You store your pictures in Windows (or Mac) Folders with some simple, logical storage system either by event or by month.  Without changing your folders, Picasa gives you tools to view your pictures in different ways.  The Album feature is a way to create different categories of pictures regardless of the folder in which they’re stored.  (Note: This is *not* Picasa Web Albums I’m talking about here … it’s just ‘Albums’ in the Picasa software on your computer.)
    So often, I hear people say, “I copied my picture into an album, then I deleted it from the folder.”  NO!!  The picture only exists once – and that is in the folder – albums are like playlists, they just point to the picture in whatever folder it is stored.  If you delete it from the folder … IT’S GONE.
  3. imageMoving pictures with computer tools outside of Picasa
    If you want to move pictures from your computer to an external hard drive, *don’t* do it with Windows Explorer (or Mac Finder.)  If you do, your Albums in Picasa will be destroyed.  Remember, an album is a list of pointers to pictures in their folders.  If you move a folder’s location the album pointer needs to know about the change.  PIcasa makes it very easy to move folders and, when you do it with Picasa, it will update all the album information to follow the new locations.
  4. imageUsing Export instead of Save
    When you edit a picture, Picasa doesn’t change the actual picture.  Picasa remembers all your edits and displays the picture to you accordingly, but if you look at the picture outside of Picasa you won’t see any of the edits.  To make a picture outside of Picasa that looks like the edited version, many people use the Export command.  This creates an entirely new picture … now they have two!  If they had used the Save command instead, it would have applied the edits to the one existing photo.
  5. imageI don’t Need Backups because I use Picasa”
    This one truly surprises me, but I hear it over and over.  People have heard that Picasa includes Picasa Web Albums and, for some reason they think that it automatically puts all your pictures on the Web Albums.  No, No, No.  Picasa is software on your computer, PIcasa Web Albums is a free online photo-sharing website that is a companion to Picasa.  First of all, even if you do upload your pictures to Picasa Web Albums, I don’t consider that a backup.  Picasa Web Albums is a method to share your pictures with friends and family.  You still want your original safe on your computer and backed up to CD/DVD or external Hard Drive. Secondly, Picasa doesn’t do anything automatically … it’s good, but it’s not magic!  Picasa includes a command to ‘Backup Pictures’ … it’s very easy … USE IT!

Standard links for Geeks

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.

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.


Although Picasa is easy to use, it is SO important to understand how it works.  A little up-front time spent learning will save you so much time in the long run.  We have lots of resources to help:

Dec 112009

Yes, you heard right … there IS  a Picasa 3.6 now.  You can view all the notes about what has changed at Picasa 3 Readme from Google.  You can get here from your Picasa menu.  Just click Help and Online Readme, or Release Notes.

There’s no huge changes from 3.5.  The only real difference is the Import screen – you can now have it automatically import into a folder named with the date of the photos.

If you haven’t upgraded yet, watch this video to see how.

The best way to learn Picasa is with our book, “Beginner’s Guide to Picasa 3.” It includes  Show-Me-How videos.

Nov 122009

Where do we (Geeks on Tour)  go when you all ask a question we can’t answer?   We go to the Google Picasa Support Forum.  This is where thousands of people ask their questions about Picasa.  If you have a question, odds are that someone else has had the same question and there are also people on that forum who give great answers – including some folks from Picasa.

In addition to the users’ forum, there are help articles on all the basic topics you need to know about Picasa.

Frequently Asked Questions

And, now there is a new addition – the Picasa Resources FAQ page. FAQs are just that – the questions that are asked most often in the forums and elsewhere.  If you’re just getting started with Picasa, I highly recommend reading thru the FAQs.  You might get some questions cleared up before you even realize you have the question.

The FAQ page is maintained by the people who answer the most questions in the forum – the ‘Top Contributors’ – and we’re proud to say that they see enough value in the Geeks on Tour videos to include a link to our site as well.  There is also a link to the Picasa YouTube channel.

Free Picasa Webinar

If you haven’t registered for the webinar yet – there’s still time. Here’s the link.  This free live webinar will happen tomorrow, November 13 starting at 10 am Pacific time.  That’s 11am Arizona time, 11am Mountain time, 12 noon Central time, and 1pm Eastern time.  Now that it’s over, you can watch the Youtube recording of the webinar.

If you can’t make it at that time, not to worry, it will be recorded and we will post the link here when it is ready.