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How to Move Your Photos from Picasa to Other Software

Recently Google announced the retirement of Picasa, their popular-but-outdated free photo management application. Effective March 15 2016, Google will no longer update or support the desktop software.

During last week’s Photo Crush challenge, I created a video tutorial explaining how Picasa works and how to migrate from Picasa albums. I also show how to import photos into four other applications: Apple Photos, Adobe PSE Organizer, Adobe Lightroom, and Mylio.

The good news is that if you were using folders within Picasa, the exit strategy is only a matter of importing that structure into another tool.

Albums, however, are only virtual organization and require a little more leg work. There are two options to consider if your folders don’t match your albums:

1. Photos can be exported album by album to re-create the system used in Picasa. This approach would create duplicate copies, so care would need to be taken to remove the unorganized files.

2. Photos can also be tagged based on your albums if exporting would be difficult. The original files could then be imported into new software so that a software’s “smart” organization tools can help you create a new structure.

While Picasa was a simple, user-friendly tool it was not quite modernized. Today’s updated options are robust, affordable replacements to carry you forward with ease.

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You’ll feel more inspired and productive when you try this unconventional approach to scrapbook albums. Learn how in our exclusive PDF guide.

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32 Responses to How to Move Your Photos from Picasa to Other Software

  1. Kelsey February 25, 2016 at 8:52 am #

    I have been using Picasa as a photo organizer. I have my photos organized by year, than month. I’m not anticipating a problem migrating them to another program (probably Lightroom).

    For me, Picasa was my digital scrapbooking supply organizer. What I liked about it was, it didn’t create copies, thus bogging down my system. It would scan my computer, my external hard drive, and my personal cloud. And would automatic scan it for changes on start up. Most importantly, I didn’t have to tag any supplies. I could punch “red paper” and it would bring up 95% of the red paper, even if the name was not included in the description.

    What would you suggest as a replacement?

    • Jennifer Wilson February 25, 2016 at 10:10 am #

      Of the options I tried PSE Organizer behaves most similarly to Picasa. I suggest downloading a trial and seeing if it can find your red paper just as well.

    • Cheryl Nurse February 25, 2016 at 11:38 am #

      I have been using Heritage Makers for 5 years. I love the program and 90,000 pieces of digital art and over 8,000 templates. It is inexpensive and for 30 dollars a month you get access to all artwork and 30.00 back in printing. Win Win

  2. Sarah DG February 25, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    I was really sad to hear that Google will no longer be supporting the Picasa software. It’s really the absolute best for viewing, tagging, and captioning images. And it’s the only software I know of that is smart enough to simply read your folder structure and mirror exactly what you have on your drive. And if I move something on my hard drive, Picasa sees it immediately and reflects the change. As far as I know, none of the Adobe software programs are capable of this. It seems pretty basic to me, but these supposedly robust programs can’t do it. Let me know if I’m missing something! I’ll continue to use the Picasa software I have on my computer until my computer bites the dust, and then I’ll try to find something as good.

    • Sarah DG February 25, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

      (Oops, commenting again so I can subscribe to replies.)

    • Jennifer Wilson February 26, 2016 at 9:52 am #

      You’re correct Sarah, both LR and PSE use a catalog to document those locations rather than “looking” every time. So if you move an item the catalog will tell you to go find the new location. They do, however, make it pretty easy to move files from within the software to avoid that problem.

  3. Barb February 26, 2016 at 1:07 am #

    If you have a google account, your picassa photos are automatically transferred over to google photos. Works for me 🙂

    • Jennifer Wilson February 26, 2016 at 9:51 am #

      Yes, that is true.. but that only replaces Picasa Web Albums. If you were using the desktop software to organize your original photo files, Google Photos doesn’t handle that part.

  4. Margaret February 26, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

    I was surprised today to find my pictures in google as I had been using Picasa
    does this mean that my pictures are safe there?

    • Jennifer Wilson February 26, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

      I would consider your photos safe in Google Photos yes, but you should consider this a backup copy of your photo library. If you were using the Picasa desktop application you’ll still either need to manage the photos on your computer via folders or with alternate software.

  5. Deanna February 27, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    I wonder why. So many people I know use Picasa. I wonder if they would consider charging for it to keep it going. I love it and use it almost daily. I am really bummed about it. I uploaded my photos to PSE and I definitely don’t like it.

    • Kelsey February 28, 2016 at 8:48 am #

      I for one, would more than willing to pay for it.

  6. Margaret March 6, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

    I was telling our son about Picasa. He told me that all the pictures stored on my phone should be alright because the phone isn’t connected to Picasa. Is this true if so what a relief?

    • Jennifer Wilson March 7, 2016 at 10:52 am #

      Your photos are not at risk if you’re using Picasa. The only real danger is that you may eventually lose any virtual organization (via Picasa albums) if your computer becomes incompatible with the software, but the photos themselves are not impacted.

  7. Alexandre Cabral July 14, 2016 at 2:40 am #

    Jennifer, I’m using some free time I have now to find my way out of Picasa Desktop (Win). I have my folders reasonable well organized. Here is my thing about migrating into a new application: I have created over the years several albums using photos from different folders. Once created, I upload them into Google Photos.
    How can I migrate these albums into a new desktop software?
    To begin with, I checked which client people recommend. I found many prefer DigiKam (open spource, thus free).
    I checked your video and tried to go by means of tags. But I am not being successful at all. Can you help?

    In fact, DigiKam is pretty much bugging… don’t know if I’ll keep it. Any suggestion for Win?)

  8. Liza August 2, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    I just imported my Picasa backup to Apple Photos. They all imported but there are no folders. Every pic was organised into folders and I really need them. Is there something I missed?

  9. Liza August 2, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    Further to my above post, I forgot to mention the backup had:
    – Application Data
    – My Pictures
    – My Videos
    – Picasa
    – PicassaManifest.xml
    – PicasaRestore.exe

    I imported from My Pictures. Should I have imported a different one?

    • Jennifer Wilson August 2, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

      Did you follow the instructions in the video? It’s somewhat of a manual process. You’ll need to create Folders and Albums (or Smart Albums) in Photos and then import in your images. The exact steps depend on whether you used tags in Picasa or exported folder by folder (see video).

      All that said, if your photos have the correct date and the original folders were by date, you should be able to use Smart Albums to auto-sort (virtually) your imported photos.

  10. Liza August 4, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    My PC laptop with Picasa died and all I have is the backup. Do you think I should install Picasa on my Mac, put the backup on it and work from there?

    • Jennifer Wilson August 4, 2016 at 11:30 am #

      Liza, I’m going to email you. =)

  11. Sarah DG August 4, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

    For anyone who is still looking (as I am) for a replacement for Picasa desktop photo viewer software, I downloaded a free trial of ACDSee yesterday to try it out. So far it seems like it might work. Like Picasa, it doesn’t import your photos to the program, but rather reads them from your file system. The tagging is a bit weird. It’s easy to tag (“keyword”) a photo, but I can’t figure out how to un-tag one. Maybe I’ll find a way. Going to experiment more today.

    • Jorge Dardon April 24, 2017 at 12:02 pm #

      I love acdsee. But the only thing it still lacks is the automatic face recognition picasa excels at.

  12. Liza August 7, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    I have spent quite a bit of time searching for a free replacement for Picasa. In the interim, I will be using Apple’s Photos which I already have.
    I was curious when I ready aboutI GIMP which is supposedly an excellent alternative to Photoshop and it is free, so I downloaded it but have yet to test it out.
    I did run across reviews for Flickr which is also free and it gives you 1 terabyte of free cloud storage which is more than enough for my needs. I saw the below video but since then, they have stopped the Auto-backup feature which is okay by me but it makes me wonder how many other changes will take place, like maybe charging for the cloud storage.
    Does anyone have any thoughts on GIMP and Flickr?

  13. Kraft September 3, 2016 at 4:01 am #

    Sorry. I don’t want to know at all use Picassa into Picassa.
    But from my email, send Picassa photos. From facebook send photos of Picassa, them no matter the soft as world, or pdf to get a copy then paste one photo. The place of photo isn’t only in albuns.
    I can not open Picassa from the MENU of laptop, the more basic operation is impossible.

  14. Darcy September 27, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

    How do you get photos and albums out of Picasa to send attached to mails? No problem to download from my camera’s card to the laptop as the photos also become new ‘albums’ on Picasa. I can resend the photos but…they are the originals without the Picasa edits that I added. I want to know how to get the EDITED versions out to my friends and family. I can’t export them as in the past. And I use Ubuntu 16.04, a version of Linux.


  15. Laura February 6, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

    Hi, I have a few QUESTIONS concerning GOOGLE PHOTOS:

    1) I read that google photos does not have a social upload capacity. I’m not quite sure what this means, but I am an Etsy shop owner and so, do need to upload my photos directly from my photo software to my Etsy shop. Is google photos capable of this?

    2) My biggest problem i had w/Picasa 3 is being able to change the background of a photo (I do take them on a white background) to actually be WHITE. W/Picasa, the tool used for this left photos quite blue/purple. Is this better w/Google Photos?

    3) Will my photos load directly to GOOGLE PHOTOS from my SanDisk Card? I don’t want to be taking several steps to get my photos to the locations needed to actually do my editing.

    Thanks in advance for any advice given!
    ~ Laura

  16. Laura February 6, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

    p.s. It asked for me to upload a photo – I had no idea it would upload a HUGE photo!! I apologize if you’re all seeing the same size image as I am!

  17. Laura February 6, 2017 at 12:46 pm #

    I forgot to mention one thing
    PICASA 3 keeps going into the mode: NOT RESPONDING. It doesn’t let me end task when in task manager either. It says access denied. Have done several steps as suggested when I researched this issue, but w/no solution. The only way I can shut it down is to shut my computer down and that doesn’t always work either. THEREFORE, although fairly organized (at least in the appropriate folders), I have over 4000 pics of which I was attempting to edit, discard, etc. before uploading to a new software program. I am currently unable to do this due to the above, ‘Picasa Not Responding’ issue I keep having.
    Thanks again,

    LASTLY – am I going to have to individually upload every single folder separately to Google Photos? Seems lengthy/time consuming!

    • Teaching Assistant - Kim Edsen February 13, 2017 at 3:53 pm #

      Laura, I did some research into Google Photos and I found out the following:
      1) You CANNOT post directly to Etsy from Google Photos. You could download the photo from Google Photos to your device and then post to Etsy from there.
      2) I was not a user of Picasa 3, so I do not have comparison information, but Google Photos does have a variety of editing tools. While there is no eyedropper/sample tool, there are sliders to adjust whites, warmth, saturation, and more. So, in theory, if when you adjust the white and feel the photo is too cool, you could boost the warmth slider.
      3) “Will my photos load directly to GOOGLE PHOTOS from my SanDisk Card?” I assume you are loading them onto a computer – if so, you can use the desktop download application to select the source you want to upload from, in this case, a memory card.
      4. Picasa not responding – there was a lot of discussion of this on message boards, and I am not certain what steps you have tried, but most of them involved uninstalling and re-installing the latest version of Picasa (making sure to click NO when asked if you want to remove database and permanently remove Picasa) or rebuilding your Picasa database.
      5) “am I going to have to individually upload every single folder separately to Google Photos?” Again, assuming you are uploading from your computer to Google Photos this is very easy with the desktop upload app. I installed it on my laptop and was able to drag a folder with a year’s worth of photo filled folders (organized by month) into the uploader and it began the process of uploading the entire year vs. having to select individual photos or folders.

      I hope this helps you!

  18. Laura Woods March 16, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

    Hi Kim,
    Thank you for all this great info. I will be searching thru’ it all & applying whatever I am able to. I have successfully brought photos from PICASA 3 into Gimp in the pass simply by clicking on the ‘FILE’ and then selecting ‘open files in an editor’. However, now it is only bringing up ONE editor option – my computers “PAINT” location & won’t find GIMP as an editor whether I have GIMP open or not. Perplexed again!
    Thank you again for your assistance!

    • Jennifer Wilson March 16, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

      If you haven’t already, you might try completely restarting your computer. It is possible that you’ve updated Gimp to a version that Picasa can no longer communicate with.

      Have you thought more about moving to Google Photos?

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