How to Organize Your iPhoto Images with Keywords

Mac Snow Leopard’s iPhoto application lets you organize your photos by keyword, making it easy to search you image collection by category. You can also assign descriptive keywords to images to help you organize your collection and locate certain pictures fast. iPhoto comes with a number of standard keywords, and you can create your own as well.

To illustrate, suppose you’d like to identify your images according to special events in your family. Birthday photos should have their own keyword, and anniversaries deserve another. By assigning keywords, you can search for Elsie’s sixth birthday or your silver wedding anniversary (no matter what Event or album they’re in), and all related photos with those keywords appear like magic! (Well, almost like magic. You need to choose View→Keywords, which toggles the Keyword display on and off in the Viewer.)

iPhoto includes a number of keywords already:

  • Favorite

  • Family

  • Kids

  • Vacation

  • Birthday

  • Movie

  • Checkmark

What’s the Checkmark keyword all about, you ask? It’s a special case: Adding this keyword displays a tiny check mark icon in the bottom-right corner of the image. The Checkmark keyword comes in handy for temporarily identifying specific images because you can search for just your checkmarked photos.

To assign keywords to images (or remove keywords that have already been assigned), select one or more photos in the Viewer. Choose Window→Show Keywords or press Command+K to display the Keywords window.

Add keywords to selected images.
Add keywords to selected images.

Click the keyword buttons that you want to attach to the selected images to mark them. Or click the highlighted keyword buttons that you want to remove from the selected images to disable them.

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