Section 7.10. Keywords


7.10. Keywords

Keywords are descriptive wordslike family, vacation , or kids that you can use to label and categorize your photos, regardless of which album they're in.

The beauty of keywords in iPhoto is that they're searchable. Want to comb through all the photos in your library to find every closeup taken of your children during summer vacation? Instead of browsing through multiple photo albums, just perform an iPhoto search for photos containing the keywords kids, vacation, close-up , and summer . You'll have the results in seconds.

Keywords are also an integral part of iPhoto's smart albums feature, as described on the previous pages.

7.10.1. Editing Keywords

Apple offers you a few sample entries in the Keywords list to get you rolling: Favorite, Family, Vacation, Kids, and Birthday. But these are intended only as a starting point. You can add as many new keywords as you wantor delete any of Apple'sto create a meaningful, customized list:

  • To add, delete, or rename keywords, choose iPhoto Preferences. Click the Keywords button to reveal the panel shown in Figure 7-14. Now click Add to produce a new entry called "untitled in the Keywords list, ready to be edited. Finally, just type in your new keyword name and then press Return or Enter.

    Figure 7-14. Apple completely rejiggered the whole Keyword process in iPhoto 5 so that it's a lot easier to figure outunless, of course you're used to the old way. Now, you create and destroy keywords in iPhoto's Preferences dialog box.


  • To delete a keyword, select it in the list and then click Remove. As usual in iPhoto, you can select multiple keywords for deletion by Shift-clicking or (for noncontiguous selections) -clicking them in the list before clicking Remove. (When you remove a keyword from the list, iPhoto also removes that keyword from any pictures to which it had been applied.)

  • To rename a keyword, select it in the list, click the Rename button below the list, and then edit the name.


Note: Be careful about renaming keywords after you've started using them; the results can be messy. If you've already applied the keyword Fishing to a batch of photos, but later decide to replace it with Romantic in your keyword list, all the Fishing photos automatically inherit the keyword Romantic. Depending on you and your interests, this may not be what you intended.

It may take some time to develop a really good master set of keywords. The idea is to assign labels that are general enough to apply across your entire photo collection, but specific enough to be meaningful when conducting searches.

Here's a general rule of thumb: Use albums to group pictures of specific eventsa wedding , family vacation, or beach party, for example. (You can use film rolls for the same purpose, if you prefer.) Use keywords to focus on general characteristics that are likely to appear through your entire photo collectionwords like Mom, Dad, Casey, Robin, Family, Friends, Travel, and Vacation.

Suppose your photo collection includes a bunch of photos that you shot during a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Rome last summer. You might be tempted to assign Rome as a keyword. Don'tbecause you probably won't use Rome on anything other than that one set of photos. It would be smarter to create a photo album or film roll called Trip to Rome to hold all those Rome pictures. Use your keywords to tag the same pictures with descriptors like Travel or Family. It also might be useful to apply keywords that describe attributes of the photos themselves , such as Closeup, Landscape, Portrait, and Scenicor even the names of the people in the photos, like Harold, Chris, and Uncle Bert.

7.10.2. Assigning and Unassigning Keywords

iPhoto 5 offers two different methods of applying keywords to your pictures. No matter which method you prefer, keep one fortunate fact in mind: You can apply as many keywords to an individual photo as you like. A picture of your cousin Rachel at a hot dog eating contest in London might bear all these keywords: Relatives, Travel, Food, Humor, and Medical Crises. Later, you'll be able to find that photo no matter which of these categories you're hunting for.

7.10.2.1. Method 1: Drag the picture

One way to apply keywords to photos is, well, to apply the photos to the keywords .

If it's not already visible, expose the Keywords panel by clicking the little key button below the Source list (Figure 7-15).

Once your keyword buttons are visible, you can drag relevant photos directly onto them, as shown in Figure 7-15. You can drag them one at a time, or you can select the whole batch first, using any of the selection techniques described on Section 7.3.3.

This method is best when you want to apply a whole bunch of pictures to one or two keywords. It's pretty tedious , however, when you want to apply a lot of different keywords to a single photo. That's why Apple has given you a second method, described next .


Note: If you press the Option key as you drag a thumbnail onto a keyword button, you remove that keyword assignment from the picture.

Figure 7-15. Left: In iPhoto 5, there's no longer an Assign button for keywords. Now you apply a photo to a keyword by dragging it onto the corresponding button.
Right: This dialog box is faster if you intend to apply a lot of keywords to a single photo or batch of photos.


7.10.2.2. Method 2: Get Info

Highlight a pictures thumbnail and then choose Photos Get Info. The Photo Info dialog box appears (Figure 7-15, right).

Now click the Keywords tab. Here, you find a simple checklist of all your keywords. Turn on all the checkboxes that correspond to the currently selected photo.

The beauty of this system is that you can keep the little Keywords window open on the screen as you move through your photo collection. Each time you click a photoor, in fact, select a group of themthe checkboxes update themselves to reflect the keywords of whatever is now selected. Select some pictures, turn on Travel, select some others, turn on Family, and so on, without ever having to close the palette.

(It should be pretty obvious how you can use this method to remove keyword assignments from a certain picture or group of pictures, toojust turn off the checkboxes.)

7.10.3. Viewing Keyword Assignments

Once you've tagged a few pictures with keywords, you can see those keywords in either of two ways:

  • Look at the Keywords window described above. When you select a photo, its assigned keyword checkboxes light up in the Keywords list.

  • Set up iPhoto to show the actual text of the keywords right in the main photo-viewing area. To do this, choose View Keywords, or press Shift- -K. Figure 7-16 shows the resulting effect.

7.10.4. The Checkmark "Keyword"

You may have noticed that one entry in the keyword panel is not a word, but a symbola small checkmark. You can't edit this particular entry; it's always just a checkmark.

The checkmark works just like the other keyword entries, with one exception. Instead of assigning a particular keyword to photos, it flags them with a small checkmark symbol, as shown in Figure 7-17.

So what does the checkmark mean? Anything you want it to mean; it's open to a multitude of personal interpretations. The bottom line, though, is that you'll find this marker extremely useful for temporary organizational tasks .

For example, you might want to cull only the most appropriate images from a photo album for use in a printed book or slideshow. As you browse through the images, use the checkmark button to flag each shot you want. Later, you can use the Search function (described next) to round up all of the images you checkmarked, so that you can drag them all into a new album en masse.

You remove checkmarks from photos just as you remove any other keywords, as described in the previous sections.


Tip: Just after moving your checkmarked photos to an album, remember to remove the checkmark from all of them while they're still selected. This way, you won't get confused the next time you want to use the checkmark button for flagging a batch of photos.

7.10.5. Using Keywords

Whether you tag photos with the checkmark symbol or a series of keywords, the big payoff for your diligence arrives when you need to get your hands on a specific set of photos, because iPhoto lets you isolate them with one quick click.

Start by opening the Keywords panel below the Source list. (Click an album, folder, or roll in the Source list at this point, if you like, to confine your search.)

Here's where the fun begins: When you click one of the keyword buttons, iPhoto immediately rounds up all photos labeled with that keyword, displays them in the photo-viewing area, and hides all others.

Here are the important points to remember when using iPhoto's keyword searches:

  • To find photos that match multiple keywords, click additional keyword buttons. For example, if you click Travel and then click Holidays, a photo reveals all the pictures that have either of those keywords. (There's no way to perform an "and" keyword roundupthat is, to find only pictures that have both Travel and Holidays keywords.)

    Every button stays "clicked" until you click it a second time; you can see several of the keyword buttons "lit up" in Figure 7-16.

    Figure 7-16. You might find it easier to keep track of which keywords you've assigned by displaying them right in the photo-viewing area. Choose View Keywords, or press Shift- -K, to make them appear.


    Figure 7-17. The idea behind the checkmark button is to provide an easy, uncomplicated way of earmarking a series of photos while sifting through your collection.


  • Suppose you've rounded up all your family pictures by clicking the Family keyword. The trouble is, your ex-spouse is in half of them, and you'd really rather keep your collection pure.

    No problem: Option -click the Ex-Spouse keyword button. iPhoto obliges by removing all photos with that keyword from whatever is currently displayed. In other words, Option-clicking a keyword button means, "find photos that don't contain this keyword."

  • You can confine your search to a single album by selecting it before searching. Similarly, clicking the Library (or Last Roll, or Last 12 Months) in the list before searching means that you want to search that photo collection. You can even select multiple albums and search only in thosea first in this version of the software.

  • Click Reset to restore the view to the whole album or whole Photo Library you had visible before you performed the search.