Organize your images with an Access database

Applies to
Microsoft Access 2000 and 2002

Let's see, I think I put those pictures in this shoe box....

After even a few birthday parties, vacations, and family reunions, you can accumulate enough photos to fill a closet. What's more, organizing that collection of prints or digital images can become a huge chore. Whether you use a simple point-and-shoot or a high-end digital camera, storing information about your images in a database can help you stay organized and make all those memories easier to find.

If you don't feel like creating your own image-management database, you can download this Access template from Office Online, and you're off and running. The database enables you to store information about each roll of film (or set of digital pictures), plus information about individual images and their storage locations.

ShowHow do I download the database?

ShowHow do I use the database?

 Note   You use this database to store information about your images, not the images themselves. For information about loading your images onto your computer, see How do I get digital images of my prints onto my computer?, later in this article.

Here are a few pointers for getting started with the database:

  • When you open the database, the My Picture Library screen appears. In Access, this type of screen is called a switchboard.

The Main Switchboard in the photograph database

The buttons on the switchboard start the screens that you use to enter data. Click Enter/View Rolls of Film to enter data about rolls of film. After that screen appears, you can click Photographs to enter data for individual images. Click Enter/View Other Information to enter information about the storage location of each roll of film. Click Preview Reports to view reports about your data and to print copies of your information.

  • If you're familiar with Access, you can skip this section. If you're new to Access, it helps to know how to use the form navigation buttons. You'll find the buttons at the bottom of each data entry screen. The numbers in the image correspond to the numbers in the text that follows.

Form navigation buttons

Button image Takes you to the first record in a set.
Callout 2 Takes you to the previous record in a set.
Button image Shows you which record you're viewing.
Callout 4 Takes you to the next record in a set.
Callout 5 Takes you to the last record in a set.
Callout 6 Takes you to a new, blank record. Click this button whenever you want to insert a new record.

  • The database contains some sample information, and you can replace that data at any time. To do so, go to the switchboard and open either data entry screen. Whenever you open a screen, it automatically displays the first record in a given set of records. Select the first field and replace the sample data with your own. You can overwrite some or all of the sample data in the various fields. After you finish replacing the first sample record, go to the next record to continue the process.

ShowHow do I get digital images of my prints onto my computer?

  • If you have a scanner connected to your computer, you can scan your photos and save them in a digital format, typically as JPEG files. Or, you can take your negatives or prints to your photo developer and have them scanned and saved to either a CD or floppy disk.
  • From there, you can copy the images to your hard drive. If you don't know how to copy files, see the Windows Help and Support Center for assistance.


  • Click Start, and then click Help and Support. In the Search box, enter copy, and click the arrow located next to the box.

You can create a folder for your images on your hard drive, or you can use the \My Pictures folder, located under the \My Documents folder. By default, the various Office programs are configured to look for and save files in your \My Documents folder, or in folders located under \My Documents, so placing your images in the \My Pictures folder can make them easier to find and use.