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When you are shooting photos, you'll often take more than one shot of a scene to make sure that you have gotten a keeper. Rather than clutter your Organizer's photo browser with multiple similar photos, why not stack them one on top of the other in the Photo Browser? That will help you to make space in the photo browser and it will still allow you easy access to all the similar photos anytime. Let's take a look at the stacking features in the Organizer. I working any 02_08 subfolder and I want to make sure that I can see the file names of all my files.
So I've gone up to the menu bar and I made sure that Details is checked and I also went to the View menu and made sure that Show File Names is checked. Notice that in this section of the photo browser, I have some photos that I took at an outdoor market, including these four photos of guitars here, and then here, here, and here. The guitar photos are so similar, there's really no reason to have them all showing, but I don't want to delete them from my Organizer because I still might want to work with some of them. So I'm going to stack them together.
To do that, I'll click on the first of the four guitar photos, and then I'm going to hold down the Shift key and click on the last of the four guitar photos, and that selects all four of them. Then I'm going to go up to the Edit menu at the top of the Organizer and I'm going to go down to the Stack menu. There I'm going to choose Stack Selected Photos. Now, instead of all four guitar photos, I see only one in this section of the Photo Browser. Notice that there's now a gray rectangle around his photo and there's a symbol here on the photo that indicates that it's been stacked with other photos.
There's also a little arrow to the right of the guitar on the gray rectangle, and I can use that arrow to expand this stack if I want to see all the photos that are in the stack. So, I'm going to click on that arrow, and I have temporally expanded the stack. The gray rectangle that surround all four photos,defines which photos are in the stack. Once I have expanded the stack, I can choose to have a different photo on the top of the stack and that will be the photo that shows up in the Photo Browser, when the stack is collapsed. To do that, I'll select a different photo from these four.
I'll select this vertical photo of the guitars, and then I'm going to go back to the Edit menu and down to Stack, and I'll choose Set as Top Photo. Now, I'm going to collapse the stack and the way that I'll do that is to go and find the arrow on the right side of the gray rectangle, which is right here now, and I'll click that arrow and the stack collapses as again. And you can see that the photo on top of the stack is now the vertical guitar photo. So you might think of stacking your photos just like stacking a deck of cards. All the photos are there.
It's just that you can only see the one that's on top. This is actually a good way to keep track of similar photos and just to have the best photo in the series showing in the Photo Browser. Now, what if you want to remove a photo from a stack, but you don't want to delete that photo from your Organizer catalog? To do that, I'm going to expand the stack again by clicking the arrow on the gray rectangle. Let's say that I don't want this last guitar photo, the one called guitar7.jpg, to be in the stack. I'll click on that photo to select it and then I'll go back to the Edit menu and down to Stack again.
And this time I'm going to choose Remove Photo from Stack. Now, you can see that the gray rectangle that's around the stacked photos doesn't include guitar7.jpg. It's been removed from the stack and now if I collapse the stack by clicking the arrow on the gray rectangle, here's the stack of photos and here is guitar7, not in the stack but still in the Photo Browser. Now, let's say that I want to add a photo into an existing stack. So, say I want to put this guitar7 photo back into the stack.
To do that I'll select that photo by clicking on it and then I'll hold down the Ctrl key as I click on the stack itself. So, now I have got the stack selected and guitar7.jpg. Now, I'll go up to the Edit menu again and I'll go down to Stack and I'll choose Stack Selected Photos. I'll click OK at the prompt and now all four of the guitar photos are back in the stack. To prove that I'll expand the stack by clicking the arrow on the gray rectangle, and you can see that the rectangle includes the guitar7 photo as well as the other three guitar photos.
Now, expanding a stack is only temporary, but what if you really want unstack the photos, so that there's no longer any stack here? In order to do that I'm going to collapse the stack again by clicking the arrow in the gray rectangle, then I'll select the stack by clicking on it and then I'll go back to the Edit menu, down to Stack, and this time I want to be sure not to choose Flatten Stack, but rather Unstack Photos. If I were to choose Flatten Stack, that would delete from the Organizer all of the photos in the stack, except for the one on top.
So, that's not something I use very often. Instead I'll choose Unstack Photos from this menu. Now, I have all four of my guitar photos back in the Organizer, but there are no stacks. There's also an Auto Stacking feature in the Organizer and you can try using that to automatically create stacks based on the visual similarity of photos and based on the time they were taken. The Auto Stacking feature appears in the Organizer and also in the Adobe Photo Downloader, that I showed you how to use to bring in photos from a camera or card reader.
Let's take a look at the Auto Stacking feature in the Organizer, although I want to tell you that I don't use this feature very often, because it doesn't always get things just right. So I prefer stacking manually as I just showed you how to do. But let's give Auto Stacking a try, so you can see how it works. I'm going to select all of the photos in this section of my Photo Browser. One way to do that is to click on the first and Shift-click on the last of the photos. Another way is to click on the section label right here and that selects all the photos in the section.
Then I'm going to go up to the Edit menu and down to Stack and I'll choose Automatically Suggest Photo Stacks. So, what Elements is now done is suggested groups of photos that it thinks go together from among those I had selected. If I scroll down in this window of suggested stacks you can see the way that Elements suggest grouping these photos, and it really hasn't done a very good job. In fact it hasn't grouped any of them together into a stack. Instead it's identified each one as an ungrouped photo.
So Elements wasn't able to understand that the four guitar photos were similar, and that I would want to have those in one stack. So that's why I don't really love this feature. I find it doesn't always work as intuitively as I would like. So, instead I suggest you use the manual stacking features that I just showed you. I'm going to cancel out of this window by clicking the Cancel button here and that will take me back to the Photo Browser. Earlier in this movie I showed you how to use the Stack features that you could access from the Edit menu at the top of the screen. But there's actually another way to access these Stack features.
As you get more used to using Elements you may like to use shortcuts, like contextual menus. All the Stack commands are available from the contextual menu. So let's say that you have multiple photos selected, as I already do. I can go to any one of those selected photos and right click on it to bring up a contextual menu of commands. I'll choose Stack from that menu and then over on the right, I have the same Stack commands that I could access from the Edit menu from at top of the screen. This is just a little more convenient. So, for example, I might choose to stack the selected photos and that creates this photo stacks here, which I'll expand by clicking the gray arrow.
The stacking features are really powerful and they are features that I hope you'll use often. Stacking means that you can take advantage of your digital camera to take lots and lots of shots of the same subject, maybe changing exposures, or maybe shooting from a different angle to make sure that you get the best shot, and then you can stack the similar photos in the Organizer with your best shot on the top. That will give you room to work in the Photo Browser and you'll get a good view of just the best shot among your similars.
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