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Under the hood, Element's organizer uses catalogs to keep track of your photos. Let's take a look at what catalogs are, and how you can use them wisely when you're working in the organizer. A catalog is just a database. A database that contains a record of each of the photos or other media files that you choose to bring into the organizer. The way that you bring a photo into the organizer is by using the import features, and I actually think that the word, import, can be a bit misleading here, because when you do import your photos into a catalog, You're not actually moving them into the catalog.
What you're doing is creating a record of each photo, in the catalog. And that record contains just information about the photos, like the metadata that comes from your digital camera. As well as a small thumbnail-sized copy of each photo, like those you see here on the face of the Organizer, and a link between the record of each photo, in the catalog. And the actual photo wherever you happen to keep it out on your hard drive. Well why is all that important to know? Because it has some real consequences for the way that you work with your photos after you've imported them into the organizer.
Once you've done that it's important that, first of all you not throw away your original photos, because what you have here in the organizer catalog is just a thumbnail sized copy of the high resolution photos on your drives. It's also important that any work that you want to do to your photos, like changing their names or moving them around to a different place on your hard drive, be done from inside the organizer. Rather than out in your operating system. And that's important so that you don't break the link between the record of each photo in your organizer catalog and your actual photo out on your hard drive.
We'll be talking about how you can rename and move files the correct way after you've imported them into a catalog later in the course. You can have more than one catalog in your organizer, but in most cases I'd suggest that you have just one catalog and you keep all your photos in that one catalog. The main reason for that is that you can only search through one catalog at a time. But there are some exceptions to that suggestion. For example, you might want to make a separate catalog for the exercise files for this course or your own practice files for the course so that they don't get mixed in with your personal photos.
So let me show you how you can make a new catalog in the organizer. I'll go up to the File> Manage Catalogs to open the Catalog Manager. In the white box, you can see a list of all the catalogs that you've created. I have just a single catalog. This is the default catalog, and it's called my catalog. To make a new catalog for the exercise files or your practice files, go to the top right of the catalog manager and click the New button. And then enter a name for the new catalog. I'll call this ex files. If you like you can check Import Free Music into this catalog.
And that will give you some music clips that you could use if you're making a slide show in Elements. I'll click OK, and that will close the Catalog Manager. And it opens a brand new catalog in my organizer. Notice that this catalog doesn't have any photos in it. If I use the scroll bar to scroll up and down, you can see that it just has thumbnails for the free music audio clips that I chose to import into the new catalog. If I want to know which catalog I'm in, I can always take a look at the bottom right of the organizer.
And there I can see the name of this catalog ex files. Let's go back to the Catalog Manager for a second to see what else is there. Again, I'll go File>Manage Catalogs. To show you that now both of my catalogs are listed in the white box and if I wanted to switch back to my catalog I could just select it here and then click Open. But I'm going to stick with the exercise files catalog. There are also options here for converting a catalog that you may have created in an earlier version of Elements. For renaming a catalog. For moving a catalog to a different location on your hard drive, and for optimizing and repairing a catalog.
I'm not going to any of those things right now, I'm just going to cancel out of this dialogue box. Now I don't need to see these thumbnails for my audio files, so I'm going to go up to the View> Media Files, and I'll toggle off the audio option there. So now we don't see any thumbnails in this catalog. Now stay tuned for the next movie where I'm going to show you how you can import the exercise files, or you own practice files, into this catalog.
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