Program displays photo thumbnail-views

July 10, 2000|By James Coates | James Coates,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Owners of multimedia computers are creating, downloading and otherwise accumulating such huge numbers of graphics files, animations, movies and such that it becomes all but impossible to keep track of their treasure chests without such a tool as ImageAXS Professional 4.1.

This business-strength software comes from the conglomerate firm ScanSoft, which publishes the best-selling Pagis and PaperPort scanner software, TextBridge and OmniPage optical character recognition programs, and popular image-manipulation programs.

ImageAXS Professional, which costs $199.95 at ScanSoft's site (, offers an ingenious method for tracking multimedia files by creating portfolios that display thumbnails of files that can be located anywhere on the hard drives of a user's computer.

These relatively tiny databases of file locations can be used to associate each thumbnail with almost unlimited numbers of keywords that allow users to retrieve images by typing in search terms. When thousands of images accumulate on a PC, this capability is all but essential to avoid opening every picture to find the one you want.

As with any database, however, this program is only as good as the effort you put into using it. When it is loaded on a PC with many graphics, the software makes quick work of creating thumbnails of every image, but that's where the work just begins.

To put the system to its best use, you must assign keywords to each image. The software automates the process to make it easier: It creates lists of words that can be associated with each image by clicking on a series of cascading menus.

The professional edition allows you to create catalogs and send them to the Web or easily send images and text by email. A home version for $49.95 simply catalogs multimedia files.

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