Most Windows 7 users value Windows Media Player 12 because it allows them to conveniently and intuitively import, organize and find their audio and video files. But did you know that Windows Media Player 12 can do the same for pictures? Using Windows Media Player 12, you can sort, tag, rate and view the pictures in your Library as quickly and easily as it is to sort and play your music and TV shows. In this tutorial, we'll show you how to sort your pictures, edit their details and play slideshows.
Setting Up Your Pictures Library
Before beginning this tutorial, make sure that you've added some folders to your Pictures Library. You can do this from within Windows Media Player 12 (see: Windows Media Player 12 - What's New and How It Works) or from Windows Explorer (see: Libraries - A Great Feature of Windows 7).
Also, if you want to import pictures from your digital camera or mobile device, read Importing Pictures from a Camera or Mobile Device into Windows 7.
Sorting Pictures in Windows Media Player 12
Now that you have some pictures in your Library, it's time to sort, tag and rate them so you can browse through them quickly. As you'll remember from our previous tutorial, Explaining the Windows Explorer Views, you can browse through Windows Media Player 12 in the Player Library with various different views. The Icon View (shown here) gives you a tidy arrangement with convenient thumbnails. In any view, you can sort through your pictures by clicking on one of the columns. Click once to sort in ascending order and click again to sort in descending order. Click once more to remove the sort rule.
In the picture below, we've sorted the pictures by tag in ascending order. As such, all pictures with the tag Animals are displayed at the top. You can click the tag to select all the photos with that tag.
Likewise, if you click other columns, they will sort in ascending or descending order depending on that value. Pictures that do not have a value for the selected column (in this example, pictures without tags) will appear below the pictures that do have values.
Editing Picture Details with Windows Media Player 12
Editing tags, captions and other picture information is seemingly a bit clunkier in Windows Media Player 12 than in the previous version, Windows Media Player 11. Whereas Windows Media Player 11 included the 'advanced tag editor', there is no such feature in Windows Media Player 12. The exclusion of the advanced tag editor in Windows Media Player 12 is a minor mystery, but many users reported some buggy issues surrounding the feature in Windows Media Player 11. Advanced tag editor getting the ax from Windows Media Player 12 is likely an improvement in disguise. At any rate, you can certainly get by without it.
In lieu of advanced tag editor, pop into Details View while viewing your Picture Library.
Next, you'll want to choose which details are displayed. To do so, right-click any column and click 'Choose columns'.
In the choose columns window, you'll see a list of available details. Check/uncheck the ones you wish to show or hide. You can also move them up or down to change how they appear in the Player Library. You can also check the 'Hide columns automatically' option which will hide a column if no pictures displayed contain a value for that particular detail, regardless of whether you've opted to hide or show it. Click OK when you're done.
Now, when you return to the Details View of your Pictures Library, you'll see the chosen columns displayed. Sorting columns is even more useful now, as you get a nice list view of all your files. To edit any given value, simply right-click on it and click Edit. You can rate a picture by left-clicking a star in the Details View or right-clicking and choosing Rate.
Playing Picture Slideshows in Windows Media Player 12
Now that you have your pictures all consolidated, tagged and sorted, it's time to enjoy them. Windows Media Player 12 has a rudimentary slideshow feature that lets you 'play' pictures just like you would songs. Simply select the pictures you'd like to include in your slideshow and click Play.
Pictures will be displayed in the Now Playing mode for 4 seconds before moving on to the next one. You can pause, skip forward or backward by using the Playback Controls. If you're all done, click the upper-right icon to return to the Player Library.
True to its name, Windows Media Player 12 handles all types of media - including pictures. While it doesn't give you any powerful editing, sharing or exporting features common to many picture organizing programs, it does give you a quick and convenient way to browse through all your pictures from a familiar interface. For further reading, check out how to Stream Music Over Your Home Network with Windows Media Player 12. Even though it we mentioned only music in the title, this method lets you view pictures from other computers on your home network. Also, be sure to check out the rest of our Windows Media Player 12 articles.