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Learn how to use the My Pictures folder effectively.

The My Pictures folder is more complex than it seems.

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Skill level 2

Now you can

Project Time 1 hour 15 minutes

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The My Pictures folder seems simple, merely displaying the pictures you put in it, seemingly without room for . But then, doesn’t everything XP? My Pictures in fact has more space for messing about than a intercontinental ball pool. If you want something done with your pictures, you can do it from within My Pictures. It can supply you with everything from customised screensavers to visualisations for Windows Media Player 9 Series to CD slide-shows to websites, with only a few clicks here and there. And it can display your pictures too!

The Gallery

To start with though, why not get some better images for your folder? The best place to start is with a camer. This should preferably be digital for ease of transference – scanning, while convenient for older photos, requires a large area to place the scanner, as well as an even more drivers than a digital equivalent, which will normally be automatically detected by Windows XP.)

If you haven’t got a method of getting your own images onto the computer, there are many excellent sites that provide copyright-free imagery for your folder. The best place to start is the Google image search (http://images.google.co.uk/advanced_image_search?hl=en) . As we might later be publishing this folder to the web, you’ll want to avoid downloading copyrighted imagery – most sites will have copyright information on either the image or towards the bottom of the webpage. If you’re looking for copyright-free art imagery, the best site is http://www.artchive.com, a donation-maintained fine art collection. When you see an image of the size you’re interested in (wall-paper sized preferably) simply right-click on it and select “save picture as.” Your My Pictures folder should pop-up, and you can save the image there.

Moving Pictures

The easiest of the customisations you can derive from the My Pictures folder is to create a screensaver. To do this, right click on the Desktop, and select Properties. Navigate to the screensaver tab, click on the screensaver drop-down box, and select ‘My Pictures slideshow.’ This will automatically stream the pictures from your . The time and other settings can be set in the settings menu. If you’re using artworks, you’ll probably want to select the stretch setting, so that they fill the screen and slow down the transition period (the top drag-bar.) Like all screensavers, you can also password-protect your computer from there.

A similar effect is available in Windows Media Player, albeit with your images changing in time to the music. If you load up Media Player or Windows Media 9 Series and go to the view > visualisations > download visualistions button, you’ll be presented with a plethora of free animated visualisations. Scroll down until you get to Picture Viz II by Averrett Associates, and click on its link. Select ‘Open’ from the pop-up box, and the file should automatically install into your player. When a piece of music is playing, simply click on the view > visualisation selection and select Picture Viz II. If you go to the Tools > Plug-ins > Options menu, you can configure the Picture Viz settings. If you own the Microsoft Plus pack, that has a 3D equivalent of that screensaver.

Finally, if you navigate out of the My Pictures directory, and right-click on it, you’ll see the Send To option. Follow this and you’ll be given the option of burning the directory to CD.


New My Pictures Folders

Finally, if you want to alter the stylings of other folders to match the My Pictures folder, navigate into the folder you want to customise. Click on the View menu, then on the ‘Customize this folder…’ option. The folder properties menu should pop-up. Select from the list of “Use this fodler as a template”, and select pPctures (if you have many pictures) and Photo Album (if you’ve only got a few goodies). In the next selection box, there’s a choice of a picture you can use to represent the folder contents – if you don’t enter one, the folder will display a small thumbnail by itself.

//3 step walkthrough//

Publishing your pictures to the web

1. Click on the File and Folder tasks pane in the left hand toolbar. Click on the Publish this folder to the web button




1. File View Type

Alter this for different image displays (see the main article).

2. Thumbnail

3. Film-Strip

The film strip setting allows you to preview images without opening up the image viewer.




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