Best Photo Organizing Software of 2018

Rebecca Spear ·
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.
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.
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.

Our Test Results

Product
Price
Overall Rating
9.5
9.4
8.9
8.3
8.2
8.2
8.1
7.8
Organizing Options
10
9.8
8.5
9.3
9.3
9.4
7.3
9
Importing
10
10
10
8.3
8.3
8.3
6.8
6.8
Editing Tools
9
10
10
9
10
7.5
10
8.3
Sharing
8.5
7.3
7.3
4.3
4.3
7.3
10
4.3
Support Options
8.3
9
10
9
7.8
4.5
10
9
Create Slideshows/Video
N/A
Printing Templates
Facebook
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Online Photo Galleries
$
N/A
Flickr
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Email
Rotate
Editable Text
N/A
Batch Editing
Black & White Conversion
Zoom
Adjust Date Taken
Special Effect Filters
54
38
99
3
23
5
42
9
Image Quality
95%
95%
100%
95%
90%
85%
100%
90%
Cropping
Convert to Sepia
Red Eye Removal
N/A
Resize
Color Adjustment
Organization Ease of Use
100%
95%
95%
80%
80%
85%
90%
75%
Organize by Category
Backup Manager
Organize by Calendar Date
N/A
Check for Duplicate Files
N/A
N/A
Organize by Keyword
Rate Your Photos
Metadata
FAQs
N/A
Email Support
Knowledgebase
N/A
N/A
Phone Support
N/A
N/A
N/A
Tutorials
User Forum
N/A
Mac OS 10.8
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Windows 10
Windows Vista
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Mac OS X
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Windows 8
Windows 7
Supported Image File Formats
86
59
80
22
13
6
32
119
Removable Media
Digital Cameras
Scanner
N/A
Best Overall

ACDSee 20

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.
Best Value

Smart Pix Manager

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.
Best for Basic Video Edits

CyberLink PhotoDirector 8 Ultra

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.

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 

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.

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 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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