Updated: April 17, 2014 | Contains affiliate links

3 simple settings for improving your Picasa experience


Picasa is a powerful program that provides lots of ways to customize your experience making it suitable for your specific needs. By learning how to change working parameters for your Picasa installation, you can use Picasa the way you want to. You can not only make Picasa work faster, but you can also learn how to configure it so that Picasa provides greater convenience on the most common tasks. Today’s article will focus on three simple Picasa settings that will help you see your image folders, import your pictures more conveniently and identify your pictures easier.

See your entire folder tree

Picasa used to drive me crazy. When Google purchased Picasa and released it for free, Picasa would only show you a simplified folder view without allowing you to see the actual folder tree on your hard disk. Picasa has changed that and now you can choose to see the simplified folder view or the full folder tree view.

I make sure I set it up so it shows me all my folders. Well, not all my folders on my entire computer, but the entire folder structure for the photo folders I chose to import into Picasa.

Setting Picasa to show the entire folder tree makes it very easy to locate your folders.
Arrange your folders by name in Picasa.

You can also use these buttons to only show your folders by date. Pretty useful.

Set the import folder in Picasa

This setting doesn’t speed up Picasa but it makes life a lot easier when using the Import function of Picasa. I want Picasa to import all images from my camera into a specific folder called 00-Transfer. As a side note, I added 00 in front so that Picasa will put this folder first in the folder hierarchy. So, in order to ensure that Picasa always picks this folder when importing my pictures, I have to specify this folder in the Save imported pictures in: section of the General options tab.

Setting the import folder in Picasa is very convenient.
Set the picture import folder in Picasa.

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Set the thumbnail caption to something useful

Any visual cues are helpful when searching for pictures, especially if you have lots and lots of pictures as I do. Therefore I like to add whatever information I have to the thumbnail captions. In my case I add the image tags to my pictures. This way I get a quick description of some of my pictures. This is another setting that doesn’t speed up your computer but it provides extra convenience.

In order to set the thumbnail caption go to View --> Thumbnail Caption and choose one of the existing five options: None, File name, Caption, Tags or Resolution. By default Picasa selects None so you can pick something more useful.

Personally I use Tags and Resolution and switch between the two depending on what I am trying to do at that moment.

Picasa allows you to insert useful data in thumbnail caption
Set the thumbnail caption in Picasa.

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