Tagging Pictures in Windows 8.1 Photo Gallery - dummies

Tagging Pictures in Windows 8.1 Photo Gallery

By Woody Leonhard

When you tag your pictures, the Windows 8.1 Photo Gallery keeps an index that makes it lightning-quick to find any pic with the specific tag. The problem, of course, is that you have to type a tag or two or three before Photo Gallery has anything to find.

Windows Photo Gallery draws a distinction between people tags, geo tags, and descriptive tags. It’s a useful distinction, but don’t let the distinction fool you. Deep down at heart, a people tag or a geo tag is a descriptive tag, where the tag is just the name of the person or the location.

Say you took a picture of your dad falling out of a fishing boat at Lake Isabella. You may want to tag the picture with a people tag of George, a geo tag of Kern County, and, oh, fishing and boat.

After you tag 100,000 pictures or so, you can tell Photo Gallery to show all pics that have the name tag George or the geo tag Kern County or the descriptive tag boat and narrow your choices considerably.

To add a tag to a picture or group of pictures, follow these steps:

  1. Start WPG.

    The Home Ribbon should be showing.

  2. At the top, in the Ribbon, tap or click the Descriptive Tag item. Then select the pictures you want to tag.

    To give a bunch of pictures the same tag or tags, hold down Ctrl while clicking each picture. Alternatively, if the pictures are contiguous (one after another), you can click the first picture, hold down Shift, and click the last picture, or you can “lasso” them by clicking and dragging a box over the pictures you want to select.

    WPG shows selected pictures with a shaded border around them.


  3. In the pane on the right, click Add Geotag under the Geotag heading (or People Tag or Descriptive Tags), type the tag you want to add, and press Enter.

    You can separate tags with spaces to give a particular picture or video multiple tags.

    Tags that you assign to a picture travel with the picture. Say you tag a photo as George, fishing, and boat, and send a copy of the picture to your brother, and your brother then puts the picture in his Pictures folder. The tags will travel with the photo, and he can use Windows Photo Gallery to find the picture by using any of the tags.

Windows Photo Gallery has several advanced features, one of which — face recognition — can be a huge help in tagging. To use it, click the Find tab, and click the down arrow next to the People icon. Choose All Detected But Not Tagged. Wait a minute or two, and WPG will show you all the pictures that contain faces WPG has detected but doesn’t have People tags associated.


On the right, set up tags for the people (or take them from one of your Windows 8.1, tiled, People app contacts list). After you’ve done a few, you’ll find that WPG can recognize some people and recommend the correct name to go with the picture.


If your tags are in good shape, Windows Photo Gallery can find the tagged pictures in a split second. Here’s how:

  1. Bring up Windows Photo Gallery. Click the Find tab.

    You see the Find options shown at the top of the figure.


  2. To find a person, select the person’s picture in the People box.

    The “detected” people are ones who match the physical characteristics of the ones you’ve identified by tagging.

  3. To find any kind of tag (including a People tag), click the Text Search icon on the right, and type the search criteria in the Search box.

    If you type more than one tag, Photo Gallery retrieves all pictures that match any of the tags — in Boolean terms, the search is an AND search (such as find George AND fishing AND boat).

    WPG looks for the text in any form: People tags, Geo tags, Captions, regular Descriptive tags — even file or folder names.

    Typing on the search bar performs a search only on items that you can see. For example, if you’re viewing items tagged George and you search for Rubye, you see only results tagged with both George and Rubye.

    If you assign a first and last name to a People tag, you can search on either or both. So if you have a photo tagged Snidely Whiplash and do a text search, that photo will appear in the results for both Snidely and Whiplash.