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Connect a Digital Camera to Your Surface and Import Photos

Windows makes it easy to import your camera’s photos onto your Surface, where they shine on the big screen. And you can do it all from the Start screen, making it an easy task to perform while in the field.

Best of all, you needn’t install any of the software that came with your camera; Windows handles it all.

  1. Turn off your camera and then plug the camera cable’s USB plug into your Surface’s USB port.

    Plug the small end of your camera’s cable into your camera. The cable’s larger end plugs into your Surface’s USB port, found on the Surface’s right side.

  2. Turn on your camera and wait for your Surface to recognize it.

    Wait for a little announcement in your computer screen’s top-right corner. The announcement, called a “toast” in some manuals, lists your camera’s name and asks you to Tap to Choose What to Do with This Device.

    Tap the announcement, and then move to the next step. (If the announcement disappears before you can tap it, turn your camera off, wait a second, and then turn it on again; the announcement reappears.

  3. Choose how to import your photos.

    The next announcement offers several options on how to handle your newly recognized digital camera. These three options always appear:

    • Import Photos and Videos: The easiest method; choose this to import your photos with the Start screen’s Photos app; move to step 4.

    • Open Device to View Files: If you prefer to import your files from the desktop, choose this option. The desktop offers more control, but works better with a mouse and keyboard than your fingers. This option fetches File Explorer, where you can manually copy the photos from the camera to a folder of your choosing.

    • Take No Action: This simply cancels the importing process, which is handy if you decide to postpone importing them.

    After you’ve chosen an option, Windows remembers it, automatically taking the same route the next time you plug in your camera.

  4. When the Photos app appears, choose your options; click or tap the Import button to import all your camera’s photos and videos.

    The Start screen’s Photos app tries to keep things simple: It offers to import all your camera’s photos and videos into a folder named after the current date. To make a quick and easy transfer, tap the Import button in the screen’s bottom-right corner to copy all the camera’s photos and videos onto your Surface. (You can safely unplug your camera from your Surface after importing your photos.)


    But if you don’t want to import every photo, or you want to change the name of the folder, you can change those options:

    • Pictures: The Photos app selects all of your camera’s photos and videos for importing. To leave behind any blurry ones, tap the ones you don’t want to import. Or, do you want to import just a few good photos? Tap the words Clear Selection from the screen’s top-right corner to deselect all the photos. Then tap just the photos you want to import.

    • Folder name: To change the incoming folder’s name, tap the folder’s current name in the white strip along the screen’s bottom. Then type a different name for the incoming folder.

When you tap the Import button, the Photos app imports your camera’s photos and videos. When the Photos app announces that it’s finished importing the photos, click the announcement box’s Open Album button to see your photos.

The Photos app only imports your camera’s photos; it doesn’t delete them from the camera. Your camera’s own menu offers an option to delete the photos or format its memory card.

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