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Under the hood, Elements Organizer uses catalogs to keep track of your photos. I'd like to explain a bit about what a catalog is and show you how to make a separate catalog for the exercise file photos that we'll be using in this course. A catalog is a database which contains information about each photo that you choose to import into the organizer. When you use the import function, as I'll be showing you how to do shortly, you're not actually moving or copying photos into Elements, what you're doing is creating a record of each of those photos in the active catalog.
Much like a librarian would do when she creates a card for a new book in a library card catalog. That record in elements contains a small copy of each photo which you see here on the face of the organizer. Along with a link to the actual photo wherever that's located on your hard drive. And the record in the catalog of each photo also contains information about the photo, like its name and other metadata, and you can see that metadata in the organizer by going down to the Tags Info button at the bottom of the task pane, clicking on the information tab, and then selecting a photo.
And there you'll see lots of information about the selected photo that's included in this Elements catalog. Now when you first launch Elements, the program makes a default catalog for you which is names my catalog. You can see the name of the active catalog down at the very bottom right of the organizer. You can have more than one organizer catalog, but in most cases I recommend that you stick with just this one default catalog. For all your photos. That's because when you're looking for a photo, Elements can only display and search through one catalog at a time.
So, if all your photos are in one catalog you can see and search through them all at once. Having said that, once in awhile, there's a good reason to make a separate catalog. For example, you may be using the official exercise files for this course or your own practice photos to work along with me through the course. And if you want to keep those course photos separate from your actual photos, that's one of the rare times. When it would make sense to make a new catalog. So here's how you do that. To make a new catalog in the organizer, I'll go up to the File>Manage Catalogs.
That opens the Catalog Manager. Down here in the catalog manager you can see a list of all of your existing catalogs. And the one that's active will say current after it. If I go up to the New button and click there I can create a new catalog. I'll call this new catalog Xfiles. I won't bother importing free music into this catalog. I'll just click OK and that closes the catalog manager and takes me back to the organizer into a brand new catalog. One called Xfiles and you can see the name down at the bottom right of the organizer.
And this new catalog is a blank catalog. It doesn't yet contain any photos or other media files. You can switch from this exercise files catalog back to your default catalog, the one called my catalog, at any time by going back to the catalog manager, as I just showed you, and choosing my catalog from the list of catalogs. But for now, stick with this empty catalog and I'll show you how to import the exercise files into it in the next movie.
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