Browse Photos from the Windows 8 Desktop’s Pictures Library - dummies

Browse Photos from the Windows 8 Desktop’s Pictures Library

By Andy Rathbone

Your Pictures library, found on the strip hugging the left edge of every desktop folder, easily earns kudos as the best place in Windows 8 to store your digital photos. When Windows 8 imports your digital camera’s photos, it automatically stuffs them there to take advantage of that folder’s built-in viewing tools.

To peek inside any folder in your Pictures library, double-click the folder’s icon, and the folder’s contents appear.


The Ribbon’s View tab works best when you’re viewing or organizing photos. Click the tab and then hover your mouse pointer over each option, from Extra Large Icons to Details. As you hover, the photos quickly cycle through the changes, letting you see how choice changes the view.

The Pictures library’s Sort By option offers oodles of ways to sort quickly through thousands of photos by clicking different words, dates, and tags listed on the Sort By drop-down list.

Right-click any photo and choose Preview to see a larger view in Photo Viewer; return to the Pictures library by closing Photo Viewer with a click on the red X in Photo Viewer’s upper-right corner.

The options in the Sort By drop-down list let you sort your photos in a variety of ways, including these:

  • Date taken: Handy for viewing photos in a timeline, this sorts them by the order you snapped them. This works best when viewing large groups of photos in a single folder.

  • Tags: If you’ve added tags — descriptive words — to your photos when importing them from your camera, you can find misplaced photos more easily by sorting them by their tags.

  • Date: This option sorts the photos by the day you added them to your computer, a quick way to find photos added this week.

  • Dimensions: This option sorts them by physical size, letting you know which ones hog the most disk space. (It’s a handy way to find videos you’ve accidentally taken with your camera.)

By sorting photos in different ways, you can usually ferret out the particular shot you’re seeking. The following tips also increase your chances of locating a particular photo:

  • Spot a blurred or ugly photo? Right-click it and choose Delete. Taking out the garbage with the Delete key makes the good photos easier to find.

  • Remember those tags you entered when importing your photos from your camera? Type any photo’s tag into the Pictures library’s Search box, located in its top-right corner, and Windows 8 quickly displays photos assigned with that particular tag.

  • Want to cover your entire desktop with a photo? Right-click the picture and choose Set As Background. Windows immediately splashes that photo across your desktop.

  • Hover your mouse pointer over any photo to see the date it was taken, its rating, size, and dimensions.

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.