Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Trick For Keeping Your Pictures In Order*

A Reader Asks A Good Question..

Q:I have a folder with 200 pictures which I have arranged in a very specific order. I want to burn them to a CD, but when I try to burn them in Roxio they burn to a cd but not in the order that they are in the folder. Any help is appreciated. “

A: The trick for resolving this puzzle is to understand that computers will do their own arranging (and assigning), using a pre-configured, rigid, logic — generally alphabetical order (aka “naming convention”).

So even though you have carefully nudged the icons representing (for human viewing) your photos (actually JPEG files) around into an arranged order of your liking, the machine will still think of the files in terms of IMG0001.JPG, followed by the “greater than” IMG0002.JPG (2 is “greater than” 1) which will be followed by the “greater than” IMG0003.JPG. Etc.

So the answer is to rename the files , and do so in an order that matches your order.

If you had just a few files, you could manually rename the first image by giving it a name and adding a one. Repeating for the second image, but adding a 2. And, repeating for the third image, but adding a 3. As I did for this collection of screenshots that were going to be a slideshow (and needed a certain ‘order’)

But since you have so many, you need an easier way – what is called a “batch rename” by us Über Geeks.

1) Arrange the photos into the order you like.

2) Click on one of the images to turn it blue (aka “select it”)

3) Hold down the Ctrl key and press the “A” key (or Edit > Select All). This will turn all the images blue (all are now ‘selected’).

4) Right-click on the first image, and choose Rename from the context menu (the name of small side window that pops open).
Your cursor will now be blinking inside the file name ‘box’.

5) Type in a ‘name’ — preferably something related to your project, or the subject matter.
(This one might be “fishtrip”, for example.)

IMPORTANT  Do NOT add a number — this is done automatically during the rename process

Press Enter.

Note: If for some reason you are unhappy with the result.. say you made a mistake, you can Undo the rename you just did by pressing Ctrl+Z (or going to the Edit menu and choosing the top choice – “Undo rename”. (I love Ctrl + Z!)

Now that you have put your ordering in terms a computer cannot argue with, your CD burning software, or “import”-ing into PowerPoint, or whatnot, will respect and follow your arrangement.
Because “fishtrip (4).jpg” is ‘greater than’ (aka “alphabetical”) “fishtrip (3).jpg” … right? Right.

Remember folks, machines are kinda dumb: they can only “think” in binary (a 1 or a 0)(aka “true or false”, “on or off”). They cannot “see” your photo – they see C:\User Name\Pictures\IMAG0001.JPG. (which is really just a big block of 0’s and 1’s…)

Sorta related: Make Your Photos and Videos Automatically Fly From Your Camera to Your Computer

I spend much of my obsession for technology, by looking for the latest technology in computers and computer accessories on Amazon .. Today, I came across a technology that I did not know about that is just downright impressive.” Read more..

* Orig post: 10/24/11

Today’s quote:A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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April 10, 2012 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to | , , , , , , ,


  1. I also wondered about that, Very helpful post, thanks Paul. I like your quote of the day also, The one I used for many-moons is: Lead, Follow, or Get Outta The Way ! I preached it a lot during my 30+ year career at General Electric Company, some times I had to use the “F” word to get peoples attention. As you know, today one has to keep ahead of what is here and what is coming.

    Good Day My Friend


    Comment by MikeyK | April 10, 2012 | Reply

    • MikeyK,
      I have a vague recalling that your ‘saying’ is attributable to one General George S. Patton.. and I further recall that he may have added similar emphasis.. But I could be wrong about that.

      One thing I am not “vague on” is, I think it wise in this life to never stop learning. I can attest that in the arena of “tech”, doing so is mandatory. (For example, only a few short years ago [like, 3] there was no such animal as an “iPad”.)

      [update: I “googled it”, and many ‘results’ do indeed attribute it to Patton, but also to Thomas Paine.. anywho, it’s a good one, and IMHO it’s too bad people need to have this said to them. Should be instinct.]


      Comment by techpaul | April 10, 2012 | Reply



        Comment by MikeyK | April 10, 2012 | Reply

  2. Used this tip when I was working on my slideshow. :) Thanks.


    Comment by delenn13 | April 11, 2012 | Reply

    • delenn13,
      Sorry for the delay in responding.. been a bit busy here.

      Anyway, yes, an understanding of how computers ‘think’ and making naming conventions work for you, can save some headaches — and the quick and easy right-click > rename trick is a handy thing for people to know.


      Comment by techpaul | April 11, 2012 | Reply

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