Tips and Tricks: iPhoto

Welcome to another instalment of Tips and Tricks, the series of articles aiming to teach you something you didn’t know about your Apple (s aapl) products. Let’s continue by looking at iPhoto, and some ways of speeding up your workflow.

Quickly Change the Thumbnail for Events and Faces

When you first open either the Events view or the Faces view, you are presented with a series of thumbnails, called the Key Photo, for each event or person. You can change which photo is the Key Photo by viewing the Event or the photo series for a person, right-clicking the photo you want to use and choosing Make Key Photo. There is also a quicker way; without clicking, move your mouse over the current thumbnail in the Events or Faces view. As you move around, you’ll see all the photos in the event. When you see the one you want to use as the Key Photo, just hit the spacebar. When you move your mouse away, you’ll see that photo has been set as the Key Photo.

Rotate a Photo in the Opposite Direction

In the Edit view, there is a button which rotates a photo and does so in a counterclockwise direction by default. There is a setting in iPhoto’s preferences to make the icon rotate a photo clockwise instead, but you can also swap the direction on the fly. To temporarily switch the direction of the rotation, hold the Option key before you click Rotate. The icon of the button will change to let you know what’s happening, and your photo will be rotated the opposite way.

Unmount a Connected Device

Since iPhoto can import photos directly from a device, there is a list in the iPhoto sidebar of all the devices you have connected. It’s possible to unmount these devices from within iPhoto, rather than ejecting them from the Finder. To do so, right-click the device’s name and choose Unmount. This has the same effect as unmounting from Finder. You can also drag the device’s name to the Trash item in the Recent list of iPhoto’s sidebar. As you drag the name, the Trash icon will change into an eject symbol with the label Unmount. Just drop the device’s name onto the Unmount item and it’ll be ejected for you.

Confirm or Reject Multiple Faces Matches at Once

Often, iPhoto will recognize faces in newly imported photos and ask you to confirm that it guessed the identify of those faces correctly. When you open the ‘Confirm Faces’ view, it can get tedious clicking each one in turn. If there are a lot of photos which are all correct (or all incorrect), you can, instead of clicking the photos individually, drag a selection over all of them. This will mark all the photos you selected as confirmed, and if you do the same again, they’ll all be marked as rejected.

Assign Keywords Without Typing

Keywords are iPhoto’s equivalent to tags, and are useful when searching for specific photos in your library. Normally to add keywords, you select one or more photos, then type the keywords into the Keywords section of the Info panel. However, it’s possible to add keywords using just the mouse and keyboard shortcuts. Under the Window menu is an option to Manage My Keywords. If you choose this option, a window will open with a list of all the keywords you have used in your library. If you now select some photos, you can then click on a keyword in this list to add it to the photos without typing.

If you have a keyword you use a lot, you can also assign it a keyboard shortcut. In the Manage My Keywords window, click Edit Keywords. You can now select a word from the list and click Shortcut. You can’t use shortcut modifiers such as Command or Option, but you can use single letters or short sequences of characters. Now you can apply this keyword to photos by selecting them and typing the shortcut. You don’t even need to have the Info panel open.

I hope you’ve learned something new, and as always, leave your own additional tips in the comments!