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FastStone: Sorting Images

by Wren McMains
(Updated 4/23/2009)

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Lots of software programs provide ways for you to sort your images, but one of my favorite FastStone tricks is to sort the images and then rename them so EVERY program that looks at the folder sorted in filename sequence will see the images in your new sort order. Here's the way you do it:

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  1. You've created a subject folder and COPIED images into it. When viewed in filename sequence the folder will look something like this, with the images in the order they were taken:
    FastStone Sorting
  2. Click on an image, continue to hold the mouse button down and drag the image where you want it to go:
    FastStone Sorting
    You'll see a red line appear (both above and below), showing where it's going to go. Continue dragging until red line is where you want the image:
    FastStone Sorting
    When you release the mouse button, and the image moves where you want it:
    FastStone Sorting
  3. Keep dragging the images around until you get them in the order you want.
  4. Often you'll find images you may no longer want to include. Instead of deleting them, I create an "outTakes" folder and keep them there in case I change my mind. There are lots of ways to create it, here I just right-clicked on a blank place in the folder and choose "New Folder":
    FastStone Sorting
    filled in the name "outTakes" and the folder appeared:
    FastStone Sorting
    Next I clicked on the image I wanted to removed and dragged it over the folder and let go:
    FastStone Sorting
    Another technique (especially useful when you have lots of images and the "outTakes" folder can't be seen) is to click on the image and drag it over the name of the folder in the list of folder on the left:
    FastStone Sorting
    Once you drop it, you'll see it appear in the "outTakes" folder (the folder icon may not change if there are already 4 or more images in outTakes):
    FastStone Sorting
    Some people are afraid to drag and drop. Probably with good reason, all too often they've lost images or whole folders when they dropped into some unknown folder. You may find it safer to click on the image use the FastStone move command (the letter M).
  5. Now the neat trick. Select all the images in the folder (be careful not to select outTakes or any other folder). And choose "Batch Rename Selected images" (F4, or you can find it under Tools):
    FastStone Sorting
    You'll get a menu like this with all your selected images listed in the "Input List" (on the right) in your sorted order:
    FastStone Sorting
    The secret to keeping the sort order is to always use "###0*" as the "Rename As" template. Make sure the starting number for the sequence is 1 (arrow). What this will do is prefix the original file name (indicated by the asterisk) by a three digit sequential number (the 3 pound signs) and a zero. The zero causes the prefix to be incremented by 10, leaving 9 spaces where you can later stick images into the sorted sequence by manually renaming files with the appropriate prefix.
    Don't forget to include the asterisk at the end of you "Rename As Template", that's what keeps the original file name. Press "Rename" and you'll see it quickly rename all your files:
    FastStone Sortin
  6. Press "Done" and you'll see the thumbnails with their new names:
    FastStone Sorting

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