Keyword DAM on iPhoto vs. Bridge

I’m a keyword freak when it comes to my photos. I have hundreds of hierarchical keywords that I’ve created so I can pare down and search my thousands of photos for exactly the right picture a situation calls for. Data Asset Management, or DAM, gets more important the larger a collection you have and, for the most part, DAM is performed by the maintenance of metadata. You never know when you’ll need it, but proper photo organization is unbelievably helpful. My husband’s father died last year, for example. It was a breeze to locate pictures of him from when he was healthy and get them printed in time for the memorial.

In truth, however, I only have about 1/3 of my photos keyworded. A ton of them still sit in the “unprocessed” folder of my drive because, after investing a lot of time properly keywording them via Windows Gallery Live, I knew I was going to be bouncing to a Mac and didn’t know how well the keyword structure would survive.

I’m happy to report that my keywords are visible and usable in slightly different forms in both iPhoto and Adobe Bridge. In Bridge, I just adjusted one of the preferences (post on this later) to ensure that it interpreted the “|” as a break in levels. On iPhoto, the keywords were flattened, which is seriously aggravating, but at least every one retained its hierarchy in its name (thus, a photo that had been tagged as “Location>United States>New York>Long Island” in hierarchical form was interpreted as “Location, United States, New York, Long Island”).

I’m still dithering about whether or not I’m going to commit to Bridge or iPhoto as my main photo management tool. They both have advantages and disadvantages, the greatest of which, to me, is how they handle keyword metadata. Bridge has a hierarchy that is directly embedded into the metadata. Creating new keywords and navigating a deep structure like the one I’ve created is hard on the fly, however. Bridge doesn’t have an intuitive search mechanism for its keywords. Yes, there’s a general “search” box, but it would be nice to be able to easily pare down to the correct level without having to search. An example of this would be my cousin’s children. When I first entered my cousin into my system, she was unmarried. Now, she’s married with children. I’d like to be able to easily find the level with her children on it, but I forget if she’s under her maiden name or married name, which is a level in my hierarchy. If I could pare down to the level with my last name (which is her maiden name), I could see where she fits within the level – as a “Brown” or as a “Smith-Brown.” This is technically possible to do in Bridge, but the UI is so tiny that it’s like reading the fine print on a drug commercial. Windows Live Gallery offered several ways to view the structure (on the left panel and also within a separate panel on the right if you picked the option).

Another aggravating and limiting aspect of Bridge – and this is the killer – is it’s nearly impossible to change a keyword once you’ve created one. If you create a new keyword and have a typo, like “Chicagi” and realize this only after you’ve applied it to 200 photos – you literally have to go back to each one and change the keyword spelling. You can’t overwrite the “Chicagi.” You have to create a new keyword “Chicago,” apply it to each photo and then delete “Chicagi” from every individual photo. Serious buzzkill.

iPhoto, on the other hand, does not support hierarchies out of the box. As I mentioned, iPhoto just flattened all of my keywords on import. In addition, when you CMD-K to open the keyword dialogue, all of the keywords are represented as buttons with a very limited space. It’s like they thought people would only use 12 characters per keyword, never imagining we’d want to use a hierarchy. Thus, though all of my keyword structure was preserved in a manner, finding the right keyword is impossible when you are in the “button” view of the keywords. A keyword like “Location, United States, New York, Long Island” is only viewable as “Location, Ne.”

It is possible to view the keywords in their entirety, but only when hitting the “Edit Keywords” button on the keyword window. You can’t copy and paste a lengthy keyword structure to ensure you’re recreating the right hierarchy, nor can you easily search your keywords for the right one – an invaluable tool that Windows Live Gallery had. The only thing you can do is delete, rename or create a shortcut for the keyword.

There is, however, an aftermarket plug-in which is aptly named “Keyword Manager.” This tool purports to be quite flexible. The freeware trial version comes with strings attached via TrialPay that I don’t want to deal with. I’d like to buy the software and kick it around. It looks like it has everything I want and there’s no similar plug-in available for Bridge :-(. My only concern is that I want to be certain when I export photos that I can attach the keywords as metadata. We’ll see!

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Print Screen CMD-Shift-3 or CMD-Shift-4: Mac Keyboard Shortcut of the Day

CMD+Shift+3 = full screenshot

CMD+Shift+4 = crosshairs to drag area for partial shot

Images saved to desktop

Yesterday I wanted to demonstrate how to find out the size of my trash file on a Mac. In order to do that, I also wanted to show an image of the Mac Inspector window that was opened. Thus, I also learned how to take a screenshot, or perform a “print screen,” on a Mac.

What’s lovely is that it’s possible to take a whole screenshot or just a partial shot. This WikiHow page gives a far better explanation than I, but the nut of it is that it’s pretty easy. So easy, in fact, that I’m not repeating the commands I put in bold above.

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Mac Keyboard Shortcut of the Day: Show Inspector


I wanted to know the size of my trash. I like knowing how big the trash is before I dump it. It gives me that same sense of satisfaction as when I take all my change down to a Coinstar, dump it all in and get $58.12 back. Sure, the money’s nice, but what’s even nicer is that sense of being unloaded.

Normally, on a PC, you can just go to the desktop, right-click on the recycle bin icon and see the total size. On a Mac, it turns out, you need to use the “Show Inspector” command. The hotkey for “Show Inspector” is “Command + Option + I” (plus signs + are meant only to mean ‘plus’ here, not the plus button).

To see the size of your trash, click on the trash icon, then invoke the “show inspector” command (CMD-OPTION-I). A new window will pop up with the folder’s info (in this case, the trash’s info).

What is Inspector anyway?

It looks like the Inspector combines two previous offerings by Mac, the “Get Info” and the “Show Info” functions. I don’t have the time to read about it now, but the nut of it is that you can open multiple “information” windows on folders or files in the computer and do side-by-side comparisons. The whole enchilada history and explanation is here on the Apple site.

Posted in 2010, Keyboard Shortcuts, PC to Mac, Things I Learned Today | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Getting Accents on Letters with a MacBook Pro

I needed to get an accent over an ‘e’ like this: é

This is the best write-up I could find on the matter. It was buried in a forum post, so I’ve re-posted here, giving credit to Louishen

most of the accents are option vowels – that’s the easiest way to remember it

é (press option e then the letter you want, e in this case. optione then press a gives you á)

è (press e then option `, top left of keyboard next to 1) likewaise option ` then i gives you ì)

ü (option u then u)

â (option i then a)

otherwise a simple option a gives you å

option c gives you ç

option o gives you ø

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How “Show Desktop” on a MacBook Pro

Four Finger Swipe UP on the Multi-Touch Mouse

I just got the new fancy schmancy MacBook Pro. I’m totally new to Macs, so I didn’t realize that this mouse is different than the previous versions. For starters – it doesn’t have a separate button – the whole thing is one button. Apple calls this the “multi-touch mouse” and it is PHENOMENAL, once you know how to use it. I highly recommend taking a one-to-one training at your local Apple store to learn more about the mouse’s functionality. I’m sure I’ve barely scratched the surface of its capabilities and am still getting used to the few new functions I’ve learned.

I wanted to know how to get to the desktop. On a PC, you can just hit the “desktop” icon and everything minimizes so you can see your desktop. The way to do this on a MacBook Pro with the multi-touch mouse is a four finger swipe UP. To un-minimize what you were doing, just four finger swipe down.

If you do a four finger swipe down from a normal workspace (not desktop), it will show you every window you have open in all applications. This is called “exposé” and is handy when you have a bazillion windows open and don’t want to tab through everything to get to the right window.

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Excel for Mac Shortcuts – a Keyboard Shortcut Guide

This shortcut guide took a lot of hunting to find. Be sure to use the “Show All” feature on the right side of the screen and then “find.” User-friendly as always, Microsoft.

I also found this Excel for Mac Keyboard Shortcut guide (opens a PDF) which I printed for further reference.

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Excel For Mac Shortcuts – WHY Doesn’t F2 Work!??!??

PC version of Excel F2 = “Control-U” on a Mac


Things have been going swimmingly with my transition from PC to Mac. I love, love, love, love, love my machine. The only major flaw I’m contending with is, of course, a Microsoft product – Excel 2008 for Mac.

Obviously, in general, the software works just fine, but the keyboard shortcuts are all haywire. Some of them are the same and some of them are different. The most notable difference is the F2 button, which activates the cell you’re in to be edited. This is probably the most important keyboard shortcut because, if you don’t know it and have to approach it by mouse, you have to first highlight the cell you want to work on (click on it with your mouse), then put your mouse up in the formula bar, behind all the content that appears in it, to activate the cell for editing. It’s a total time-suck, unless you know “F2,” which eliminates the need to track the mouse to the formula bar.

Further Proof Microsoft Sucks

I didn’t need much greater proof, anyway, that Microsoft sucks, but this F2 thing is a real nail in the coffin. If you want to do the PC version of “F2” function in Excel on a Mac, you need to hit “Control-U,” which takes more time and isn’t an intuitive use of finger placement on the keyboard. Also, Excel is one of those programs that you’re likely to be required to use in PC at workspaces and Mac elsewhere, so you’ll be hopping back and forth between the two — it’s really important to keep the most important shortcuts the same to avoid aggravation.

The simple solution to this is to just customize a keyboard shortcut, but the $!@##$@%’s at Microsoft didn’t create this function as an editable shortcut in the “customize keyboard” tool via Excel. It’s as though the people programming the software have never used the program — this is an essential function to have!

After much hunting, I found this one hinky workaround, which I haven’t tried yet:

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