Best Photo Organizing Software of 2018

Rebecca Spear ·
Digital Photo Editing & Small Appliance Writer
Updated
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We spent more than 160 hours testing 10 photo organizing programs, paying particular attention to customizable organizing features, ease of use and editing abilities. We wanted to know which programs were the best at categorizing and helping you sift through images. Since sharing is important, we also looked for software that allows you to create and share slideshows, albums and edited photos directly to social media. Our best pick for photo organizing software, based on our testing, is ACDSee 20 Pro due to its exceptional organizing features and sharing capabilities. You can choose between several different sorting methods, which helps you find one that fits your style best. While the categorizing side of the software is simple and easy to use, the editing side is more complicated, but it will allow you to enhance your photos using both basic and advanced tools.  

Best Overall
ACDSee 20
ACDSee 20 lets you easily view and edit your photos' metadata, and it also lets you organize your photos by keyword, calendar date, category, location, color labels and number ratings.
View on ACDSee
$39.99@ACDSee
Best Overall
ACDSee 20
Best Value
Smart Pix Manager
Smart Pix Manager offers a wide selection of organizing options, as well as convenient tools such as the ability to check and remove duplicate files, all while still being one of the least expensive programs.
View on Smart Pix
Best for Basic Video Edits
CyberLink PhotoDirector 8 Ultra
The organizational tools are easy to use and offer a variety of options, but the best thing about this program is its ability to create and edit photos made from your videos.
View on CyberLink
Product
Price
Overall Rating
Organizing Options
Importing
Editing Tools
Sharing
Support Options
Organization Ease of Use
Organize by Keyword
Organize by Calendar Date
Metadata
Rate Your Photos
Backup Manager
Organize by Category
Check for Duplicate Files
Supported Image File Formats
Removable Media
Digital Cameras
Scanner
Image Quality
Special Effect Filters
Batch Editing
Adjust Date Taken
Black & White Conversion
Convert to Sepia
Color Adjustment
Red Eye Removal
Editable Text
Rotate
Zoom
Cropping
Resize
Create Slideshows/Video
Facebook
Flickr
Email
Online Photo Galleries
Printing Templates
Tutorials
FAQs
User Forum
Knowledgebase
Phone Support
Email Support
Windows 10
Windows 8
Windows 7
Windows Vista
Mac OS X
Mac OS 10.8
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Best Overall
ACDSee allows you to organize your photos in a variety of ways, such as using keyword tags or color labels.
You can also give your photos number ratings so you can easily sift through your best images. The organizational interface is intuitive and easy to navigate. The program allows you to regulate your photo collection by viewing and editing metadata, and it can search for and delete duplicate images. It supports 86 different file formats, making it highly likely that your specific projects are supported and compatible. The most common files – RAW, JPG, TIFF and PSD – are on the list. You can also directly import images from cameras, scanners and flash drives. The 54 included filters, making it easy to give your photos an artistic feel. You can also perform basic edits, including red-eye removal, cropping, resizing and color adjustments. This program does a really good job of keeping your photo's image quality high after making an edit. The batch processing feature saves time by making the same edits to multiple images at once. You can create slideshows using your favorite photos and share your photo and video projects to Facebook and Flickr. While ACDSee Systems does offer an online photo gallery, you must pay to use it. There are a few basic printing templates to help you create the projects you want.
Pros
  • The organizing features are really easy to use.
  • You can search for and delete duplicate files.
  • This software has a helpful user forum.
Cons
  • You must pay to use the online gallery.
  • It isn't Mac compatible.
  • The editing features take some practice to use.
$39.99ACDSee
Read the full review
Best Value
While this program isn't the easiest to use, it does offer all the organizational features you could want at a lower price.
In addition to helping you arrange your photos, this program also organizes videos and music. If you need help using the program, the wizard can walk you through various functions. This software allows you to directly import images from flash drives, cameras and scanners. The program isn't compatible with as many file types as some other photo organizing software, but it does support 22 different file types. Compatible image files include RAW, JPEG, PSD, PNG and TIFF. A few basic editing tools are available with this program. This includes the ability to resize, crop and rotate photos as well as the ability to remove red eye, sharpen and make color enhancements. Its batch-processing capabilities can save time by making the same edits to multiple photos at once. When you are done perfecting your images, this program can help you create slideshows with your images. It won’t let you post directly to any social media sites, but you can email them to family and friends. Smart Pix Manager has one of the widest selections of printable templates, including larger-than-life 10-foot prints.
Pros
  • You can create slideshows using this software.
  • You can organize photos in a variety of ways.
  • It offers an extensive range of print templates.
Cons
  • This program isn't as easy to use as some others.
  • You cannot post directly to Facebook or Flickr.
  • It doesn’t support all image file types.
$39.50Smart Pix
Read the full review
Best for Basic Video Edits
This program isn't the most intuitive to use, but it isn't overly complicated either. You can organize your photos by keywords, color labels, star ratings and categories; however, you cannot organize them by calendar date.
The metadata is fully viewable and editable so you can remember what setting your camera used to capture your favorite photos. You can choose how frequently the backup manager reminds you to save your photos, which offers up some peace of mind. This program has a wide range of basic and advanced editing tools and allow you to work in layers. One of the nicest features allows you to import video files and turn selected stills into photos. This feature combined with the face swap tool can also help you get the perfect photo by exchange a blinking or frowning video still for an open-eyed or smiling expression. There are 42 effects filters and other auto editing capabilities to help you quickly enhance your photos. You can pull images directly from flash drives, cameras and scanners without leaving the interface. While it does support RAW, JPG, TIFF and PNG files, this program does not support PDF, PSD or GIF files, which could be a deal-breaker depending on the contents of your image collection. You can also create slideshows in this program, complete with music and transitions. When you are done working on your images, you can upload them directly to Facebook or Flickr.
Pros
  • Its face-recognition tool can help you sort images by person.
  • Photos maintain good image quality after the program makes edits.
  • The software is Mac compatible.
Cons
  • You cannot organize your photos by calendar date.
  • It has limited file compatibility compared to other software.
  • You can only check for duplicate files when importing new photos.
$99.99CyberLink
Read the full review

Why Trust Us?

Our testers are experienced photographers and graphic designers who can recognize the most helpful features of organizing software. We performed the same edits in each program to see which ones had the best abilities. Some programs can make images pixelated, grainy or unfocused after applying edits. For this reason, programs that maintained excellent image quality after an edit ranked higher in our image quality score. 

We wanted to see how well each program's organizational features worked, so we loaded the same set of photos into each system and assigned them to different categories. Programs with more arranging options were rated higher, since they were likely to be helpful to a wide user audience.

The number of file formats that a program uses is also very important. We wanted to make sure that the highest-ranked programs were compatible with the most common image files. These include RAW, JPEG, PSD, PDF, TIFF, GIF and PNG. Programs that supported all of these files scored higher, while programs that didn't scored lower.

How We Tested

We have tested photo organizing software for the last 11 years. In our most recent test, we spent more than 160 hours evaluating the organizing and editing features of each of the 10 programs we tested. We tested organizing capabilities by importing the same set of photos to each software. We checked for the ability to tag photos with keywords, color labels, number or star ratings, locations, face tagging, categories and calendar dates. Programs that offered more of these options scored higher, while programs with fewer offerings scored lower. Programs that allow you to find your photos quickly scored higher. Programs that included keyword searches made this especially helpful and scored higher.

We chose software that allows you to view and edit metadata, which can help you keep track of what settings your camera used to capture a specific effect. We also wanted to make sure the editing abilities were up to snuff. The programs that offered the most common basic and advanced editing tools also scored higher, and programs that best performed these edits scored higher still.

Things to Look For When Choosing a Photo Organizing Software

Pricing
A few years ago, photo organizing software used to be really expensive, but now you can get a decent program for a reasonable price. The most basic photo organizers will cost as little as $25 and range to about $50. More professional versions will cost between $60 and $130 but they will also provide more tools for you to work with. Typically, as far as photo organizing goes, paying more will give you more advanced image editing tools, but will not give you more organizational tools. If you want a simple, basic organizer, you'll likely be happy getting an economical software, but if you want to be able to edit your photos you might want to consider spending a bit more. 

Features
Photo organizing software should be easy to use and should provide you with several different organizing methods to choose from. Programs with search bars are incredibly helpful when finding a photo by its filename or keyword tags. You should also look for a program that comes with an online backup manager. That way your photos will be protected in case something happens to your computer. If you want to keep a clean photo collection, find a program that allows you to find and delete duplicate photos.

File Types
Choose an organizing software that is compatible with the same image files that you most frequently work with. Some of the most common image files include JPEG, TIFF, GIF and PNG. More-advanced image file types, such as RAW and PSD, allow you to make more controlled and advanced edits to your images.

Editing Tools
Editing tools can help you make your photos pop. When uploading large numbers of photos, the batch processing tool enables you to enhance all of your images at once. For example, if your photos all turned out dark, you can choose to have the program brighten all of them. If you plan on using your organizing software to make advanced edits, make sure it works in layers, saving versions as you go, as this allows you to make changes while protecting the original image.


Making slideshows can be a big reason to buy photo organizing software, but not all programs are built alike. Some simply cycle through your photos, while others allow you to add animated transitions, effects and music. If you want to make more elaborate slideshows, look for a program that offers more than just the basics. Online galleries are a great place to back up your photos. Keep in mind that some programs come with a limited amount of online space and will require you to pay for more if you use it up.

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