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Stacking is a way of grouping photos together in the Organizer to reduce the space that they take up and to keep related photos together. I'll sometimes stack photos together if I bracketed exposures of the same scene, shooting with different exposures in quick succession. Another time that I'll stack photos is when I shot a set of photos for a Panorama, and I want to be sure that I know which photos go together for the Panorama here in my Organizer. I do happen to have two sets of bracketed photos in this folder and I would like to create two separate stacks of them to keep them together.
I can do that automatically or manually. To automatically stack photos, I'd first need to select a group of photos. I'll select all the photos in this folder by pressing Ctrl+A on the Windows keyboard, or Cmd+A on the Mac keyboard, which is the shortcut for Select All. And then, I'll go to the Edit menu and down to Stack. Now Stack won't be available here unless I've selected some photos. I'll come over and I'll click Automatically Suggest Photo Stacks. Elements analyzes my photos and it opens this window, suggesting two different stacks of photos based on the timing and the visual similarity of these photos.
In this case, Elements has gotten it right. It has identified these two separate groups of photos and it's asking whether I want to make a stack out of each one. If I come down here to Unique Photos and click this arrow, you'll see the two photos that Elements has identified as not similar, and therefore it hasn't suggested stacking those. I'm going to go ahead and stack this group of photos by clicking the Stack button here. I'll leave this group unstacked so that I can use those to show you how to manually stack photos in just a second.
I'll click down in this window. And now, back in my Grid in Media View, you can see the stack that's been created for me. Where there once were three photos, we now see only one photo. But those three photos are all still there; they're just stacked one on top of the other. I know this is a stack because here is a Stack symbol on the topmost photo, and here's an arrow. If I click this arrow, that will expand the stack so that we can see all three photos that are in that stack. And those three photos are surrounded by a darker gray frame.
If I want to collapse this stack again, I'll come over and click the arrow on the far right of the stack to collapse it. So, that's how to automatically stack photos and that command comes in really handy when you have a lot of bracketed photos in a shoot. But you can also stack photos manually. You might do this if you just had one stack to create. So here, I have three different exposures of the same scene. I'll select this photo, I'll hold the Shift key, and I'll select this photo, and that selects all three. And then, I'll go up to the Edit menu and down to Stack, and this time, I'll choose to manually stack selected photos.
So now, I have these two separate stacks in Media View and that really helps me to clean up my display. Now if I expand one of these stacks, I have a couple more options. I think that the photo that's on the top of this stack is a little dark. I actually like this version better, so I'd like this version to be on the top of the stack so that it's the one that we see when the stack is collapsed. I can right-click on any photo in this stack and come down to see the Stack menu. And from here, I can choose to set this selected photo as the top photo.
So I'll do that, and that becomes the top photo in the stack. So now, when I come over here and collapse the stack, that's the photo that we see. I'll expand the stack one more time to show you a couple of the other commands in that Stack menu. If I right-click any of the photos in the stack and come down to stack, I have an option here to unstack these photos. And that will do away with the stack altogether. I'll go ahead and choose that, Unstack Photos. And now in my Media View, I still have those three photos but they're no longer stacked together.
They're just separate photos in Media View. There' s one more command there and that's a command to watch out for. It's Flatten Stack. I'm going to right-click on the top photo on this stack and go to Stack. And you can see I do have an option to Flatten Stack here. Watch what happens if I choose that. I'll select Flatten Stack and that brings up this warning telling me that all photos in this stack are going to be deleted. Well, what does that mean? Deleted from what? It means, deleted from my Organizer. It does not mean deleted from my hard disk, but I do have the option to delete all of the photos except the top one from my hard disk; and that's really dangerous because then I won't be able to get those photos back into my Organizer at all.
So I'll be careful to leave that unchecked. And I'm going to go ahead and click okay so you can see what happens here. Now I only have one of these three bracketed photos here in my Organizer. The other two photos are still on my hard drive, and I could re-import them into the organizer. But, they're not here and I cannot work with them until I do that. So, that's what stacks are and how you can use them to reduce the clutter in Media view. It's just one more way to organize your photos.
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