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The heart of the Organizer is its catalogs. A catalog is like a database that contains information about your digital photos and other media files. Now a catalog doesn't contain the actual photos that you've taken. Those remain wherever you decide to store them, perhaps in folders on your computer or even off-line on external drives or DVDs. What a catalog does contain is links to and information about your photos. That information can include camera data like the date a photo was shot and even what camera settings you used when you took the shot.
It might include organizing information that you add to a photo in Elements like Keyword Tags which we'll learn about later in the course, and star ratings. And it includes the thumbnails of your photos and media files that you see here in the organizer, which by the way are just copies of files and not the originals. A catalog can store information not only about digital photos, although that's mostly what we'll be talking about in this course, but also that video files, audio files, scans, PDFs, and projects that you create in Elements.
So that's what I mean when I say media files. Now, the Organizer comes with one catalog already made for you and the name of that default catalog is My Catalog. If you look down at the bottom left of my screen you'll see the name of the currently active catalog which is My Catalog. Normally, it's best to store all of your photos and other media files in a single default catalog and not bother making other catalogs. There are very good reasons for that. For one thing, Elements can only work with one catalog at a time when it's doing things like helping you search for a file or backing up and synchronizing files online.
But there are a couple of times when it makes sense to make a new catalog and that's what I'm going to show you how to do here. One time that you might want a new catalog is if you have different users on the same computer and you want to keep their file separate. Another time you're going to want a new catalog is when you're doing something special like working through this course. So I'd like to show you how to make and new catalog for just the exercise files for this course, or if you're not using the lynda.com exercise files you can use this new catalog for whatever practice files you're using to work along with me through the course.
Working in the new catalog that we're going to make will help you keep the course files from getting mixed in with your personal photos and media files that you're probably keeping in your copy of my catalog. So I do recommend that you work along with me now to make a new catalog. To do that we're going to go up to the File menu at the top of the screen and choose Catalog. That opens the Catalog Manager. Here you can see that I have just one catalog and that's the one that is currently active. I'll click on that to select it so that you can see some of the buttons up here.
These are the various things that you can do with a catalog inside the Catalog Manager. If you have an older catalog that you made in a previous version of Elements you can convert that catalog to a Photoshop Elements 9 catalog for either Windows or even Mac. You can rename a catalog. You can move a catalog to another location. For example, let's say that your hard drive is getting full of photos and you want to move your catalog to a larger external drive, this is where you will come to do it. You can also remove a catalog.
In other words, delete a catalog completely and that's something you may want to do when you finish this course and you want to get rid of the new catalog that we're about to make, because you no longer need it. You can Optimize a catalog in order to try to speed up the performance of a large catalog, one that has lots of photos. If you're experiencing any crashes or freezes with your Organizer you can come to the Catalog Manager and try to Repair a catalog from here. In this case, I'm going to go up to the first button here the New button and click there in order to create a new catalog.
Here I'll type a name for the new catalog I'm going to call it PSE9 Ex Files for exercise files. I'll leave Import free music into this catalog checked in order to bring into the catalog some sample music, so that I can use it later as background music for a slideshow. Then I'll click OK. That closes the catalog manager creates a new catalog called PSE9 Ex Files as you can see down at the bottom left and launches that new catalog. The media browser now is blank, because I haven't yet brought any files into this new catalog.
We're going to be using this new catalog as we work through the movies in this course. But you may need to switch back to your copy of my catalog from time to time, so let me show you how to do that in the Catalog Manager. Again, I'm going to go up to the File menu and choose Catalog and now in a Catalog Manager I can see both of my catalogs listed. The catalog that is currently active is my PSE9 exercise files catalog, but if I want to switch back to My Catalog, all I do is select My Catalog in this list and click Open.
But I'm not going to do that and I don't want you to do that either. Instead we're going to stick with the PSE9 exercise files [current] catalog and just click Cancel here. If you followed along with this lesson you've now got a new catalog to use during this course and your new PSE9 exercise files catalog is empty too. So in the very next chapter I'm going to show you how to populate this catalog with exercise files to use during the course.
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