Printing a “Contact Sheet” of your Images (aka, Proof, Index, or Catalog)


** These first steps are general and apply to most programs that will do a contact sheet.


See below for instructions for specific programs that will do a contact sheet, specifically for Windows XP or Picasa. It is a good idea to have a back up of your pictures before culling through or working with the images. Burning a CD of ALL your pictures (even the duds) is an effective and inexpensive way to have a GOOD back up of your images. You can also just make a backup on to your local volume. To do this, Ctrl click on the selected folder and "drag over” a copy. This will create a copy of the folder you had selected. Note: Be sure you have the correct folder selected before doing this step. This will increase the amount of space used on the server, so be sure to burn the backup folder to a cd and/or delete the copy soon after you are done.


General Steps for most image browsing programs:

1.       Using an image browser, sort through your images, deleting any obvious non-keepers, i.e.. out-of-focus, the lesser of two or more nearly identical duplicates, etc. This is a process known as “Culling”. Caution: Don’t over delete.

2.       You may need to go back to the desktop/folder view to manage your folder, creating folders within folders based on the topic, etc. For example, if you took 25 pictures of multiple topics/themes, you might sort the pictures of your friends into a folder named “Friends”, and then if the remaining pictures were for a particular assignment, then you would create a folder for that assignment, ie “4th 6 weeks PDP”, etc. Some file/folder management can be done from within some browser programs by simply dragging the files from one folder to a folder listed in the “Directory” on the left side. You can create a new folder by right clicking and selecting “New” and then “Folder”.

3.       A preference frequently needs to be changed. Look around for an option, sometimes in the “Print Dialog Box” for printing a contact sheet that will allow you to print file name and other various file information like capture date. Click on (put a check or x mark) on “File Name” and other options.

4.       Select the images you want to print as a catalog. If you want ALL of the images within a folder, simply do a CTRL + A to Select All. If you only want selected images, Shift Select and Control Select (to deselect) the images you want to print. Note the TOTAL number of images selected.

5.       Find the option to Print a Contact Sheet. Different Programs will vary in the exact steps. Some programs create a new document that can be saved. Some will let you change how many thumbnails per sheet…do some math to come up with the correct number of rows and columns.



Windows XP:

   - This way is really easy...but less control over what goes on the contact sheet, etc. (Vista has improved this step.)

   Note: If doing this at home, it is better to use special photo paper designed to print photos at high quality…it will actually use LESS ink than standard paper. See \\wbphoto\public\presentations\contact sheet via XP for a PowerPoint Presentation or

  1. If you have not yet done so, create a new folder for the topic you shot (i.e. “portrait of mom”), then sort (drag) your images into the folder that relates to the topic. You need at least 12 per topic...but try to have no more than 35 for each 6 weeks for both topics.
  2. Open the folder containing the images.
  3. From within the new folder, Select All (CTRL + A) of the images in that one folder (deselect folders), then File/Print (Ctrl + P will NOT work…you will have to choose PRINT from the file menu). A wizard will appear.

o        1st Page (of the wizard). You will get an option to select or deselect images…just leave them all selected if you did the previous step correctly…if not, you may need to select the images. You can also deselect any images that you decided to NOT include at this stage.

o        2nd Page. You will confirm your printer settings. Click on properties to change to Photo Paper or other paper type if you have special paper.

o        Then you will be choosing what size you want to print all of the selected images…look for the 3rd option down to print a “Contact Sheet” with 35 images to one page.










- A great way to make a contact sheet has been posted on the Using Picasa to print a Contact Sheet. A little more complicated, but very intuitive...and a great program to become familiar with. We will all use this in the 2nd semester (it is already installed on your computers)...and is great for home use.


Instructions on printing your contact sheet via Picasa...a LITTLE different than last 6 weeks. Start first by creating an Album... title is something like "4th 6 PDP Landscape and Wildlife" (or whatever your two topics are). Then add up to 42 images in that album. Hit a Ctrl + Shift + P (Ctrl + P does NOT work unless you change the preferences to make Contact Sheet appear as an option in the Print Preview). Then click on Border and Text Options to show the file name by clicking on "Filename" so that the picture titles show. Then hit print





Other Methods:


XnView - Available for home use for free here or here. (Outdate method...I recommend either Windows XP or Picasa...but we used to use this software in here are the steps.)

1.       For XnView, “Create Contact Sheet”.

2.       Set the page size to 1200 WIDTH AND 1600 HEIGHT.

3.       Most programs will let you control the number of images per sheet…which in turn sets the SIZE of the thumbnail. BASED on how many images you have selected to print, set the number of Columns and Rows to match. 35 is a good goal.  So that if you have 35 images, you would set the Columns to 5 and Rows to 7. If you have only 24 pictures, then you would want the Columns to be 4 and the Rows to be 6.



Photoshop Elements 2.0: (Commercially available as Photoshop Elements 5.0 or Photoshop CS2...some variation in versions will exist. The only reason to include these steps specifically is because the Student Macs have PSE2.0)

  1. Use the Browser to Cull through the images. Photoshop Browser will allow you to delete image from with in the Browser, with out having to drop back to your folder.
  2. Go to File/Print Layouts/Contact Sheet/
  3. Choose the Source Folder
  4. Keep the Document settings at 8x10, 72 dpi, etc.
  5. Set the Thumbnails to generate large enough thumbnails, but no so large to force just a couple onto a page by itself. IOW, if you have 35 images, set the # of columns to 5, and the rows to 7. Be sure to change the Font Size to 8pt sop that all of your file names show on your contact sheet.
  6. Click OK, and a new document will be created and the thumbnails will be generated.
  7. Save if you are short on time. If you DO have time, go ahead and print. Be sure to select the correct printer.



iPhoto (on a Mac)

1. Select the images you want to print.

2. Go to File/Print (Cmd + P)

3. Click customize to change the number of columns. You can even change the individual size of images...w