Section 7.7. Three Useful Panels

7.7. Three Useful Panels

Just below the Source list, iPhoto can display any of three useful panels:

  • Information . On this panel, you can view and edit general data about a photo, album, roll, or whatever else you've selected.

  • Calendar . This feature, new in iPhoto 5, is fantastically useful. It helps you pluck a photo out of your thousands according to the timeline of your life.

  • Keywords . This option was in previous versions of iPhoto, but its location is new. As before, the idea is that you can use this list of keywords for tagging your pictures with text labels, from "Robin" to "sunny day" to "prize winner."

To open one of these panels, click the corresponding button beneath the Source list: the blue circled i for the Information panel, the tiny grid for the Calendar panel, and the little key for the Keywords panel. (You close the panel by clicking the same button again.) Note, too, that you can adjust the relative height of the panel by dragging the gray divider bar just above it, as illustrated in Figure 7-11.

This chapter covers all three displays, beginning with the information panel.

Figure 7-11. As shown here by the arrows, you can adjust the size of the information panel either horizontally or vertically, just by dragging the gray "metallic" divider bars.

7.8. Information Panel: Titles, Dates, and Comments

When the Information panel is visible, as described in the previous section, you may see any number of different displays (Figure 7-11):

  • When a single photo is selected, iPhoto displays that picture's name , rating, creation time and date, dimensions (in pixels), file size , and any comments you've typed.

  • When multiple photos are selected, you see the range of their creation dates, plus how many photos are selected, and how much disk space they occupy.

  • When no photos are selected, the Info area displays information about whatever container is selected in the Source listthe current album or film roll, for example. You get to see the name of the container, the range of dates of its photos, the number of photos, and their total file size on the hard drive.

  • When a photo-book icon is selected (Chapter 10), you get to see its name, theme, dimensions, number of photos, and number of pages, plus any comments you added.

7.8.1. Titles (Renaming Photos)

Just about everything in iPhoto has its own title: every photo, album, folder, film roll, photo book, slideshow, and so on. You can rename them easily enough: Just edit the "title" box in the Information panel, as shown in Figure 7-11.

Most people find this feature especially valuable when it comes to individual photographs. When you import them from your digital camera, the pictures bear useless gibberish names like CRS000321.JPG, CRS000322.JPG, and so on. To change a photo's name to something more meaningful, just select its thumbnail, click once in the Title field, and type in a new title.

While you can make a photo's title as long as you want, it's smart to keep it short (about 10 characters or so). This way, you can see all or most of the title in the Title field (or under the thumbnails).

Tip: A new keystroke in iPhoto 5 makes life a lot easier when naming a whole bunch of photos in a row (like a batch you've just imported). Edit the title box for the first photo, and then press -] (right bracket ) to select the next one. Each time you press -], iPhoto not only highlights the next picture, but also pre-highlights all of the text in its "title" box so you don't need to click anything before typing a new name for it. (Pressing -[ takes you back one photo, of course.)This simple keystroke is your ticket to quickly naming a multitude of unique photos, without ever taking your hands off the keyboard. Changing titles, dates, or comments en masse

The trouble with naming your photos is that hardly anybody takes the time. Yes, the keystroke described in the Tip above certainly makes it easier to assign every photo its own name with reasonable speedbut are you really going to sit there and make up individual names for 25,000 photos?

Mercifully, iPhoto lets you change the names of your photos all at once, thanks to a new "batch processing" command. No, each photo won't have a unique, descriptive name, but at least they can have titles like Spring Vacation2 and Spring Vacation 3 instead of IMG_1345 and IMG_1346 .

Figure 7-12. iPhoto's batch-processing feature lets you specify Titles, Dates, and Comments for any number of photos you select.
Top: When you assign a date and time to a batch of pictures, turn on "Add ___ minute between each photo" to give each a unique time stamp, which could come in handy later when you're sorting them. Besides, you didn't take them all at the exact same moment, did you?
Bottom: When you title a batch of pictures, turn on "Append a number to each photo" to number them in sequence as well.

To use it, choose Photos Batch Change, or press Shift- -B, or Control-click some selected photos and choose Batch Change from the shortcut menu. The Batch Change sheet drops down from the top of the window (see Figure 7-12). Make sure that the first pop-up menu says Title.

Tip: Don't be fooled by the command name Batch Change .iPhoto still can't edit a batch of photos. You can't, for example, scale them all down to 640 x 480 pixels, or apply the Enhance filter to all of them at once.

Your options, in the second Batch Change pop-up menu, are as follows :

  • Empty . Set the titles to "empty" if you want to un-name the selected photos, so they're all blank. You might appreciate this option when, for example, you're working on a photo book (Chapter 10) and you've opted for titles to appear with each photo, but you really want only a few pictures to appear with names under them.

  • Text . This option produces an empty text box into which you can type, for example, Ski Trip . When you click OK, iPhoto names all of the selected pictures to match. If you turn on "Append a number to each photo," iPhoto adds digits after whatever base name you choosefor example, Ski Trip 1, Ski Trip 2 , and so on.

  • Roll Info . Choose this command to name all the selected photos after the roll's name"Grand Canyon 2005," for example. iPhoto automatically adds the photo number after this base name.

  • Filename . If you've been fooling around with naming your photos, and now decide that you want their original, camera-blessed file names to return (IMG_1345 and so on), use this command.

  • Date/Time . Here's another approach: Name each photo for the exact time it was taken. The dialog box gives you a wide variety of formatting options: long date, short date, time of day, and so on.

Tip: Once you've gone to the trouble of naming your photos, remember that you can make these names appear right beneath the thumbnails for convenient reference. Choose View Titles to make it so.


Sometimes you need more than a one- or two-word title to describe the contents of a photo, album, folder, book, slideshow, or film roll. If you want to add a lengthier description, you can type it in the Comments field in the Photo Info pane.

Even if you don't write full-blown captions for your pictures, you can use the Comments field to store little details such as the names, places, dates, and events associated with your photos.

The best thing about adding comments is that they're searchable. After you've entered all this free-form data, you can use it to quickly locate a photo using iPhoto's search command.

Tip: If you speak a non-English language, iPhoto makes your life easier. As you're typing comments, you can choose Edit Special Characters. Mac OS Xs Character Palette opens, where you can add international letters like ‰, and b . Of course, it's also ideal for classic phrases like "I my cat."
-click all the pictures of your soccer team, choose Photos Batch Change, choose Comments from the first pop-up menu, and type a list of your teammates names in the Comments field. Years later, you'll have a quick reminder of everyone's name.

You can just as easily add comments for an album, folder, slideshow icon, book, or film roll whose name you've highlighted. Comments as captions

While the Comments field is useful for storing little scraps of background information about your photos, you can also use it to store the captions that you want to appear with your photos. In fact, some of the book layouts included with iPhoto's book-creation tools (Chapter 10) automatically use the text in the Comments field to generate a caption for each photo.

(On the other hand, you don't have to use the Comments box text as your captions. You can always add different captions when you're editing the book.)