Previous 1 2 Next 16 Replies Latest reply: Jun 15, 2013 2:23 PM by Terence Devlin
deomedea Level 1 (0 points)



I have spent many, many hours giving intelligible titles to my photos in iPhoto.


I did not realise the distinction between "image title" and "filename".


In future I will change the filenames.


But I have this legacy of thousands of images with meaningless filenames.


Is there any easy way to substitute the titles for the filenames?


Is there a batch renamer which would be capable of extracting the title of an image so that I could then use it?


Thanks very much!

iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,920 points)

    1. You cannot rename a file in iPhoto. If you do it will trash the Library.


    2. There's no need to.


    3. File -> Export and note in the Export dialogue that you can use the Title as Filename on the exported shot.

  • Old Toad Level 10 (135,388 points)




  • deomedea Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you both, TD and OT, for your prompt and knowledgable replies. I will have to think about their implications.


    Most of my images are scans of old family slides and negatives. They are filed in PNG format in folders corresponding to people or places. They have sequential names likes “John01.”


    Then I have imported them into iPhoto, given them more specific names starting with “yyyy mm dd” to facilitate their classification. Later I add keywords and in some cases Faces and Places. The combination of keyword(s) plus dates makes it very easy to find images.


    Sometimes, however, I need to find the original PNG image. That is much less easy. Hence I was wondering if I could extract the iPhotos titles. But this morning I realise that I would have the added problem of trying to add JPEG titles to PNG images.


    Unless you have advice to the contrary, it seems that the simplest solution is to leave things as they are and use Coverflow in Finder to locate the occasional PNG file.


    Thanks again for all the time and expertise that you both share with the many people who come to this Forum in search of help!

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,920 points)
    Sometimes, however, I need to find the original PNG image.



    File -> Export, Kind set to Original


    The point of iPhoto is that you use it for everything to do with your photos. It replaces the finder completely.


    Remember that you can search on the Title too... not just the filename.






  • deomedea Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks again!


    I did not realise that iPhoto was so powerful!


    If I were to draw to its logical conclusion what you say about iPhoto replacing the Finder, does that mean that I could now delete from my hard disk the folders with all my PNG images, knowing that I can always have access to the original PNG file via iPhoto?


    I have done a few experiments and it seems to work. The PNG file that is exported from iPhoto is however in some cases up to five times the volume of the original file.


    Having spent all my working life in MS Windows and being so used to organising my files in folders, the prospect of deleting all those PNG folders and relying on iPhoto is something of a culture shock!

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,920 points)

    Whoa first things first:


    Are you running a Managed or a Referenced Library?


    A Managed Library, is the default setting, and iPhoto copies files into the iPhoto Library when Importing. The files are then stored in the Library package


    A Referenced Library is when iPhoto is NOT copying the files into the iPhoto Library when importing because you made a change at iPhoto -> Preferences -> Advanced. (You unchecked the option to copy files into the Library on import) The files are then stored where ever you put them and not in the Library package. In this scenario you are responsible for the File Management. 


    If you are running a Managed Library then yes, those folders can go.


    If you're xporting as Original I can't see why there would be any change in the file size. What export setting are you using?


    On a broader note: you're used to working with files. iPhoto is different way of working and to grasp it you need to distinguish between the File and the Photo inside it. They are not the same thing.


    The illustration I use is as follows: In my iTunes Library I have a file called 'Let_it_Be_The_Beatles.mp3'. So what is that, exactly? It's not the song. The Beatles never wrote an mp3. They wrote a tune and lyrics. They recorded it and a copy of that recording is stored in the mp3 file. So the file is just a container for the recording. That container is designed in a specific way attuned to the characteristics and requirements of the data. Hence, mp3.


    Similarly, that Jpeg is not your photo, it's a container designed to hold that kind of data. iPhoto is all about the data and not about the container. So, regardless of where you choose to store the file, iPhoto will manage the photo, edit the photo, add metadata to the Photo but never touch the file. If you choose to export - unless you specifically choose to export the original - iPhoto will export the Photo into a new container - a new file containing the photo.






  • deomedea Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you for taking further time to write that detailed and very helpful reply!


    I’m running a Managed Library, so there will be no danger if I delete folders. But I will proceed cautiously, deleting just a few folders initially, until I am convinced that I can do without them.


    When I export a photo and choose “original” I have no choice as regards the quality. I exported a file of 842 Ko and it ended up on my Desk with a volume of 4,5 Mo!

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,920 points)

    And that's a png?

  • deomedea Level 1 (0 points)


  • Old Toad Level 10 (135,388 points)

    If you choose PNG as the format during export it will be larger than the original PNG file.  My 645 KB file was increased to 1.4 MB. Your increase to 4.5 MB does seem excessive.



  • jeannedes Level 1 (5 points)

    Hopefully, you backed up all your photo folders before you started deleting.  iPhoto does lots, but it is not a full editor.  There are likely future ways of using photos that you might want for your historical ones. 


    I think iPhoto is a terrific application, but I keep all my pix in Referenced folders.  Thus I have access to the "original" data.  However, while I have started a small experiment with keywords and titles, I am not yet sure that I can retain those using iPhoto as I move to other editors.  Still learning that.

  • LarryHN Level 9 (76,966 points)

    I keep all my pix in Referenced folders.  Thus I have access to the "original" data. 

    referenced libraries are stronglhy not recommended - they are extremely problematic and make importing and deleting more difficult and upgrading or repkacing defective hardware or moving to a new computer extremely difficult


    And have no value - it gives you nothing except trouble


    As to originals - iPhoto gives you simple access - you can alwasy revert to original or you can simply export the originals for use elsewhere



  • jeannedes Level 1 (5 points)

    OK, sounds fair to use the database, but how do you retain the valuable metadata like keywords and title when you export?

  • LarryHN Level 9 (76,966 points)

    If you export the original you get the original - exactly what you imported with no changes - identical to wha you now have without the added problems and complications of a referenced library


    those of course are not there because they werer no there when you imported - what you said you wanted (and whas you currently have) is the original photo - not a modified version


    With iPhoto you can export the current version too with all the changes including keywords and valuable metadata - but then that is not the original that you ask for



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