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Arranging Photos in a Folder

Dot Whiting called to ask if there is a way to arrange photos in a particular order inside a folder. Others have noticed that icons on their Desktops can be arranged any order they want, and asked how to do this inside various folders.

For instance, one reader wrote, "I dragged 200 pictures into a folder in a particular sequence. But the next time I opened the folder they had all been rearranged in alphabetical order. How can I make them stay in the order in which I inserted them?"

Well, if you put the pictures into the Windows XP folder named My Pictures or into the Vista folder called Pictures the images will remain in their entry sequence. This also applies to other XP system folders, such as "My Documents," "My Music," and "My Videos," as well as Vista system folders named simply "Documents," "Music," and "Videos."

Furthermore, any folder you create within a system folder will have the same characteristics, regarding keeping items listed in the order in which they were inserted.
    To create a folder inside a folder, open the existing folder and click File>New>Folder.
You can also create folders by right-clicking anywhere on your Desktop and choosing New>Folder. However, folders created on your Desktop will NOT have the "keep in entry order" characteristics found in Windows "system" folders. Rather, the files will be displayed in alphabetical order the next time the folder is opened.

Nevertheless, there are many additional sorting options available in all folders if you click on View and then choose Details the Details mode lists items in a single column and then displays certain information about each item to its right.

The additional information varies somewhat among different types of folders, but often included are "Size," "Date Modified," and "Type." In the Windows "Pictures" folders (and sub-folders) the information also normally includes
"Date Taken," pertaining to photos taken with a digital camera.

Beyond the above-mentioned information categories, you can create your own by clicking View>Choose Details in a folder's toolbar. You can then use any category (detail) as sorting criteria by simply clicking its name.

For instance, if you click Date Taken all digital photo files will be arranged from the first to the last taken. Clicking the heading again and will reverse the order to display the last to the first taken.

Regarding alpha-numeric listings of filenames, you can edit the names to make them appear in any order you prefer by preceding the actual name with a numeric sequence.
    For instance, if you want an alphabetical listing such as:
         Arthur
         Bob
         Charlene
         Donna
    to be arranged in this order:
         Bob
         Donna
         Charlene
         Arthur
    change their filenames to something like:
         001-Bob
         002-Donna
         003-Charlene
         004-Arthur

    Pecking Order
    Most computer sorting systems put numbers ahead of alpha characters, and punctuation marks ahead of numbers.
Changing the Name of a File or Folder

A file's name can be edited by right-clicking it and choosing Rename. Just be sure not to change or omit the 3-letter extension of a filename (such as jpg or doc). However, a folder can be named in just about any way you want.

My favorite way of bringing any name to the front of a sorted list is to precede the name with one or more underscores. Thus, _Zelma will appear ahead of Arthur and __Charlene will precede both of them.

Sort Protocols

Speaking of alphabetizing, there are several "Sort Protocols" used by computer systems.

Sorting Lists in a Spreadsheet

A column of items in a spreadsheet can be sorted many different ways. The default is "General," which uses the Symbol, Numeral, Alpha character method described above.

However, a column can be pre-formatted to sort by Text, by Number, or by Date, as well as by several other criteria. Highlight a column by clicking on its alpha-header, and go to Format>Number or Format>Cell>Number, whereupon these options will appear.

Choosing the correct protocol is important when you want to sort, say, phone numbers or numeric parts-nomenclature as text rather than numbers.

Sorting Lists in Microsoft Word

To alphabetize a listing of items in MSWord, place your cursor at the beginning of the list and go to Table>Sort, whereupon Text, Number, and Date will be your sort options.

For sorting just part of a column, mouse-select it and do as above.

Strange Sorting (Alphabetizing) Problem

An interesting "sorting problem" I've heard described many times is in regard to a name such as Walter insisting on being at the head of a list, rather than in alphabetical order with the other W-names. In each case, an unnoticed blank space existed at the beginning of the rogue name, meaning it would always come first in the list.

      Walter
     Arthur
     Bob
     Charlene
     Donna

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