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iPhoto '11 Keywords

Create a Smart Album to Find Photos Without Keywords


iPhoto Smart Albums
Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

iPhoto allows you to tag photos with descriptive keywords that can later be used as search terms when you're trying to find specific images. That's quite a good return on the relatively small amount of time it takes to add keywords to photos. But the process does take time, and if you're anything like me, you tend to put off adding keywords in favor of just having fun with iPhoto.

The problem with waiting to add iPhoto keywords is that you tend to forget which photos have keywords and which ones don't. Even worse, iPhoto doesn't appear to have a way to tell you which images are missing keywords, leaving you to try to work it out on your own.

Despite how it appears, there is a way to get iPhoto to show you all of the images that are missing keywords, and it doesn't require any advanced skills or magic tricks.

Using iPhoto Smart Albums to Display Photos Without Keywords

iPhoto Smart Albums allow you to create a collection of photos that meet defined criteria. Unlike regular iPhoto albums, which you can use to organize your photos and create a hierarchical library structure, Smart Albums create references to photos based on criteria you specify. As a result, Smart Albums only contain a pointer to the location of a photo, not the actual photo.

The upshot is that you can create as many iPhoto Smart Albums as you want, as often as you want; they will never affect regular photo albums or their organizational structure.

We're going to take advantage of iPhoto Smart Albums to create a list of photos that don't have iPhoto keywords assigned to them.

Creating a Smart Album of Photos That Lack Keywords

  1. If you haven't already done so, launch iPhoto.

  2. From the File menu, select New, Smart Album.

  3. The Smart Album creation dialog box will appear.

  4. Enter a name for your Smart Album; I named mine 'Needs Keywords.'

  5. In the 'Match the following conditions' section of the dialog box, use the three pop-up menu items to set the conditions to match the following:

    First pop-up menu: Keyword

    Second pop-up menu: is

    Third pop-up menu: None

    The finished Smart Album conditions should read: Keyword is None.

  6. Click the OK button.

The new Smart Album will be created and listed under the Album section of the Library list pane.

Clicking on the new Smart Album will display all of the photos that currently don't have keywords associated with them.

You can now easily find iPhoto images that lack keywords, and add keywords at your leisure, though I recommend you get right at it and get those keywords entered. You'll be amazed how much easier it is to find specific photos once they have keywords associated with them.

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