The Build Image Catalog Tool (Shift+Ctrl+B) creates a catalog of photographs. Catalog file is like a database: it contains previews of images and their EXIF information. It is available even when original images are no longer accessible. This tool is useful to catalog collection of images stored on a removable media, like CDs or DVDs.
Catalog files can be though of as virtual folders too. When ExifPro encounters catalog files it will scan them just like it scans images in an ordinary folder.
First step in catalog creation is to determine where the source images are. Catalog tool can scan either a complete drive or a designated folder. Once this selection has been done title and description of a new catalog can be entered. They will be stored inside newly created catalog file.
Preview images size has a big impact on the overall size of a catalog file. It can be adjusted to one of predefined values. Preview images will be resized to fit in this requested size (preserving their aspect ratio).
Finally catalog file name has to be provided. Created catalog will be saved under this name.
After pressing ‘Build’ button ExifPro will scan selected drive or folder looking for images. Once they are found processing will start. Images will be resized one by one and stored in the catalog. Estimated time left and catalog size are presented in the progress area.
Pressing ‘Show Options’ button reveals tool options. They include settings like preview image compression quality (from 1 – high compression – to 100 – high quality).
Image types to be put in a catalog can be selected here too. All types supported by ExifPro are available.
To create multiple catalogs without reopening the tool, button ‘Automatically close the tool after catalog creation’ should be unchecked to prevent dialog from disappearing after catalog is built.
Note: selections made here are remembered between sessions.
Catalog files behave like virtual folders. One can use Folders Pane to browse to the directory where catalog file are stored. They will show up in the folder pane as books:
Original hierarchy of folders will be present under each book node. One can navigate to any folder or stay at the catalog (book) level to scan all images (provided that scanning subfolders is turned on).
ExifPro is also associated with *.catalog files, so double clicking catalog files will launch ExifPro and open them for browsing.
Many tools in ExifPro operate on original images. When one resizes photographs, or builds HTML album, original images are needed to generate previews. When catalog images are selected corresponding original photographs may no longer be accessible. However, they may potentially be still available, say on a CD. That's why ExifPro's tools keep on operating on original images. Catalog may be used to find required images, but when it comes to copying them, resizing, or transforming user will have to insert CD with original photographs.
This behavior may be modified in future releases to make it more flexible and convenient.
Apart from that certain operations are simply blocked. Deleting as well as editing file info and description are disabled. Rotating images is also blocked.