Update: This issue has not yet been corrected in iPhoto 9, which is part of iLife ’11. The following workaround still applies.
If you’ve ever used iPhoto, you’re probably aware that iPhoto magically sorts photos into events based on the date the photos were shot. This organization is pretty magical, as long as you don’t shoot more than one event in a single day. If you do, then you’ll need to separate the events for iPhoto. What happens, though, when you want to reorder the photos within a single event? This is Gerhard’s question, and amazingly, it’s not an easy answer.
One of the glaring omissions from iPhoto ’08 is the ability to manually sort your photos in an event. If you’re looking at an event, you can navigate to the View menu and look at the Sort Photos options. You’ll notice that you can sort by date, keyword, title, and rating, yet the option to manually sort the photos is greyed out! It appears that if you’re not willing to manually sort all of your photos, bypassing the option to view by events, then you will not have the option of sorting your photos in the way you want to.
The good news is that there is a solution. The bad news is that it’s cumbersome, and the solution will need to be re-applied for each event you want to sort. Hopefully, iPhoto ’09, to be released later this month, will correct this “feature.” Until then, here’s how to manually sort your events in iPhoto ’08.
Creating a New Album
There is one place where you can always sort photos: a regular photo album (but not a smart album!). To create a new album from an event:
- Double click on the event in question so that you are viewing the photos within that event.
- Highlight/select the photos you want to reorder. You probably want to reorder the entire album, so you select Select All from the Edit menu (or type command-A) to highlight all the photos in the album.
- Now, from the File album, select New Album from Selection. A new window will open, allowing you to name this. Choose anything you like, and make sure the Use selected items in new album check box is selected:
Reordering Photos Within the Album
Now that you’ve created a new album with the photos you want to reorder, you can feel free to drag photos in any order you wish. I’d spend a little time thinking about what order you want the photos in because after we complete this task, you’ll have to start over if you want to change the order of the photos again. Once you’re ready, here are the next steps:
- From the Photos menu, select Batch Change… (or type command-shift-B).
- What we’re going to do now is change the file names of the photos. In the new window, make sure the pop-up menus read “Set Title to Text.”
- You must also make sure Append a number to each photo is checked.
- Now, as you can see from my photo below, I have added the word “Photo” to the file name. You can do this, but you don’t have to. If you feel like renaming the photos, go ahead, but the key is to have a number appended to each photo:
Now that you’ve completed the batch change, you can go back to your event and choose to Sort Photos by Title (from the View menu). If you’ve completed the steps properly, your photos will now be sorted in the order you set in the album (feel free to delete the album if you’re not going to make any further changes).
Why does this work? When you originally took the photos, your camera gave the photos file names. Each new photo had a file name with a number one larger than the previous photo. By default, iPhoto uses the file name as the photo title when you have not specified your own title. When you sort by title, you’re really sorting by the order in which you took the photos. The steps we took above allowed you to sort photos manually and then give all of those photos their own titles. By appending a number to each photo (increasing in number from the beginning to the end of the album), you have overridden iPhoto’s use of the file name for the title.
Did this tip work for you? Have you been able to come up with a better or easier solution? Let others know in the comments.