Picasa Tip: Picture Sort Order, Folder Sort Order

If you’ve ever played card games, you understand the need to sort in different ways. Let’s say you’re playing Gin Rummy and you’re dealt 10 cards. For one hand you might want to sort them by suit, in another, you might sort them by their face/number. With cards in your hand, you have to manually move the cards around to get them in the order you want. With computer files, that manual labor is a simple click. There are many times in computer usage that a list of items can be sorted one way or another. With computer files, you might want to see them in order by filename. At another time you might want to see them in order by creation date. And for yet another reason, you might want to see them in descending order by size. Any of those choices is a simple click of your mouse on the sort order you desire.

Pictures are just files to the computer, and Picasa is just your tool for managing those files. Anything your computer can do in regards to sorting files, Picasa can do with your pictures.


Folders are the containers for the picture files and they have dates and names as well. To sort your list of folders you click on the dropdown arrow at the top of the list and select the sort order you want. You can also use the Folder menu –>Sort by –> Name/Date/Size/Reverse Order. If you want to change the name or date of a folder, simply double-click on it. You’ll now be looking at the Folder Properties and you can change the name or date to whatever you want, then click OK.


Sorting Pictures within Folders

Each folder, just like each player in a card game, can have their pictures sorted in different ways. To sort the pictures within a folder, right click on the folder (either in the left column, or at the top of the library) and choose the sort order you want.


Notice the choices: Name, Date, Size, and Reverse order. One click at any time on ‘Name’ will sort your pictures alphabetically by their filename. That filename is the name used by your camera. Digital cameras assign filenames in a sequence like IMG-1060.jpg, IMG-1061.jpg, IMG-1062.jpg etc. Whenever you select a picture, you can see its Name, Date and Size on the blue status bar at the bottom of the library. That is the information used for sorting. You can change a file’s name with File->Rename, or F2. You can change a file’s date with Tools->Adjust Date and Time.


Manual Sort Order is Fleeting

Picasa has one more option, and that is to drag the pictures into a manual order that you want. The problem is, that order is only understood by Picasa. Let’s say you manually dragged pictures into a custom order using Picasa. When you exit Picasa and look at those pictures using your File Manager – they will not be in that order. They will be in order by Name, Date, or Size, because those are the only properties stored with the picture. When you open Picasa again, the pictures will be in your manual order, but one click on Sort Folder by Name, Date, or Size, and your manual order is lost.

TipF: If you Export a group of manually sorted pictures, you can check the box to “Add numbers to file names to preserve order.” That way, the exported copies of the pictures will have filenames starting with number that keep them in the order you arranged manually. Now, sorting By Name, they will be in your custom order.

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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Chris is a teacher. Although she comes as close to an expert as possible in many areas of computer usage, she can still remember what it's like not to know these things! That means she can communicate with students in a way that teaches and doesn't demean. She really enjoys teaching one-on-one and for groups of people, but she reaches a worldwide audience with her tutorial videos on the GeeksOnTour.com website. She currently travels the country in an RV with her husband, Jim. As Geeks on Tour, they present computer seminars at RV rallies, computer clubs, and Senior Centers all over the US.

3 thoughts on “Picasa Tip: Picture Sort Order, Folder Sort Order”

  1. Is there any way to make the sort default by ‘name’ rather than ‘date’? I very seldom use date for anything, and if visitors check out my albums, I have to tell them to sort by name to find what I’d like for them to see.


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