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Databases. Does anyone really understand them?

Well, ok, there are database experts, people that take courses on database stuff. Those people understand databases… But then there’s the rest of us. Their seemingly abstract nature tends to freak us out. But I’m here to let you know that a) you probably know more about them than you think, b) you can learn all that you really need to know in order to be able to put them to work for you in a few short steps.

If you edit or add ACDSee Metadata to your files, ACDSee Pro automatically adds the new data to its database.

Ok, what is metadata? Well, it’s information about an image and how it was taken. For example, the metadata of digital camera images can contain the date and time the picture was taken, the shutter speed, the exposure settings of the camera, whether a flash was used, and much more. What is ACDSee metadata? This is additional information you can add to an image to help you find and categorize/compartmentalize/organize it, such as keywords, color labels, captions, etc.

Ok, now what is ACDSee’s database?

The ACDSee database stores image and media file information automatically when you browse your folders. This process is called cataloging. The database increases the speed with which you can browse your computer, and you can use the information stored in the database to sort, organize, search, and filter your images and media files. You can also backup, restore, and share database information. AND, you can create multiple databases, but that’s its own topic altogether.

The metadata is stored in your ACDSee database. So why do you want to bother also embedding it in the files themselves? One reason is that it protects it while your assets are being moved from an old computer to a new one. Also, your metadata will travel with your photos when you send them or share them with friends, family, or clients. It’s basically a way of making sure your metadata goes with your files, no matter what disasters, changes, or updates may happen around them.

So, let’s say you added a rating to one or more photos.

Rating Process

You will now see a blue database icon on the thumbnail(s), the blue hamburger icon. This icon lets you know that the file has ACDSee Metadata that is stored in the database but has not yet been written to the file. (The icon could be gray if you have the color on your overlay icons turned off.)

Now, if you have the Display embed ACDSee metadata reminder checkbox selected in the Options dialog box, (click Tools | Options | Database),

Dialoge box

next time you close ACDSee, the Embed ACDSee Metadata in Files dialog box opens and offers to embed the new data into the changed file itself.

Embedded Prompt

Embedding ACDSee Metadata in the files as well is a safe way to back up this data and make it easier to retrieve if you should need to. Once you have assigned ACDSee Metadata to a file, it is linked to the database. If the file is moved outside of ACDSee, say with Windows Explorer, for example, then the link will be broken. However, once you embed the metadata in the file, it won’t matter. You can move the file all you like and the metadata will go with it.

To write the information to a sidecar file if the format does not support embedding inside the file, select the Write sidecar files for formats that do not support embedded XMP checkbox. (For formats that currently do not support embedded XMP, including RAW and ABR, the ACDSee Metadata is written to a sidecar file that is stored in the same folder as its file. Because a sidecar file is separate from the file itself, you need to rename or move them together, or you could lose the ACDSee Metadata permanently. However, if you are moving the file within ACDSee itself, this won’t be an issue, as ACDSee will take care of keeping the file and its sidecar together automatically.)

To avoid dealing with this box again, select Do not ask me this again. Click Yes to embed the metadata in the files. A progress bar appears, followed by the Embed Summary Report dialog letting you know if all were successfully embedded.

Embedded summary

If you don’t want to wait until you close the application or until you are prompted to embed the metadata, you can do so at any time by going to Tools | Metadata | Embed ACDSee Metadata, and then select one of the following:

  • Embed in All Files: Embeds data for all files.
  • Embed in Selected Files: Embeds data for any files that you have selected.

The Embed Pending Flag

As mentioned earlier, in Manage mode, you will see a blue database icon on the thumbnails of files that have had ACDSee Metadata stored in the database, but not yet written to the file. (To find out how to make your overlay icons more or less visible, see What’s up with the Little Icons on My Photos?) You can right-click the icon and choose Embed ACDSee Metadata to write the metadata to the file. Or, if that database icon is just irking you for some reason, you can choose Clear Embed Pending Flag, however, this does not write the metadata to the file. It’s worth noting that if you use the Clear Embed Pending Flag command, but then later run Embed ACDSee Metadata, you have told ACDSee to forget that any changes have been and it will continue to not write that particular metadata to the file.

Embed Pending Flag

Viewing Files That Have Data to Embed

If you have files that have metadata that needs to be embedded spread all over the place and you want to tidy up, you don’t have to go through each folder and seek them all out. There’s a faster way. In the Catalog pane, (Manage mode, left of the File List pane, tabbed with the Folders and Calendar panes), under Special Items, (scroll down), click Embed Pending.

Catalog embed

All the files that have data to embed are displayed in the File List.

Embed Pending Results

Let’s talk more about databases in the future, but for now, KEEP IT SIMPLE. Now you know how to embed your ACDSee Metadata into your files.

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