With iPhoto, images are stored in a locked database called an iPhoto library.iPhoto 11 Library

To see how many photos are in your current library:

  • Open iPhoto
  • Select Preferences… from iPhoto in the Menu Bar.
  • Choose the General tab and click the button labelled Show Item Counts.
  • In the sidebar the number next to Photos… is the number of photo’s in your library.
iPhoto - Library Item Counts

iPhoto libraries can hold up to 250,000 photos. So… why would you use more than one iPhoto library:

  • As the library gets larger, it takes longer to open and is slower to respond to commands.
  • You may wish to separate images that belong in different categories, e.g.; Home and Family from Home Business.
  • By its nature, a larger library is used more, and may be more susceptible to crashes.

There are two ways to create a new iPhoto Library; you can create one from scratch or copy and rename an existing library.

Create an iPhoto Library from scratch:

  • Open iPhoto
  • Select File from the Menu Bar.
  • Choose Switch to Library…
  • In the dialog box, click Create New…
iPhoto - Create New Library
  • Give your new iPhoto library a name.
  • Click Save. The new library should automatically save in the Pictures folder.

This method is useful if you want to start a new library and do not need to use any of the images that are in your existing iPhoto library.

Copy and Rename an existing library:

  • Open the Finder.
  • Look in the Pictures folder for the file named iPhoto Library.
  • Select the iPhoto Library file and press Command D to duplicate it.
iPhoto - Duplicate Library
  • Your Mac will make an exact duplicate of your existing library and call it iPhoto Library copy.
  • Rename the copied version of the library to whatever you want.
  • You can now open this copy of your main library and edit the pictures any way you wish.
  • Remember, that photos you delete in iPhoto are only permanently removed from a Library, when you choose iPhoto from the Menu Bar and select Empty iPhoto Trash.

This method is perfect if you want to break up an existing library that you feel is too large.

To choose which iPhoto library you open, hold down the Option key and double click on the iPhoto icon in the dock. The iPhoto icon will bounce and then present you with a window where you can choose what library you would like to open.

iPhoto Option To Switch Libraries.

As a default, if you just double click on the iPhoto icon in the dock it will open whatever library was last used.

Have a great weekend.

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