Managing duplicate photos

Picasa doesn't actually store your photo files. It scans your computer to find compatible photo file types, and then displays these photos. This means that you don't have to delete duplicate photos to stop seeing them in Picasa. With this in mind, check out some common explanations and solutions for duplicate photos:

  • The same photo is saved in multiple folders: You control the folders that Picasa scans and displays. If more than one folder that's being scanned contains the same photo, you'll see duplicates in Picasa. To verify that there are two separate copies on your computer, locate each file on your drive.
    • Solution: Depending on your preference, use one of the following options:
      • Use the Folder Manager: Click the Tools menu and select Folder Manager. Direct Picasa to exclude entire folders from your library.
      • Hide the individual duplicates: You can also right-click (Windows) or control-click (Mac) individual duplicate photos and hide them from view by selecting Hide. Learn more about hidden photos.
      • Delete duplicate photos: If you are positive the photos are duplicates, you may also choose to delete them from disk.
  • Your photo database is corrupt: The Picasa database keeps record of user-specific information about your photos. If this database has been corrupted, you may notice oddities in the appearance and placement of your photos, including duplicate photos.
    • Solution: If you've exhausted the previous options, you're most likely seeing duplicates due to a corrupt photo database. Try rebuilding your photo database.
Don't import duplicates!

If you use the Import button to bring photos already on your hard drive into Picasa, you'll end up with two copies on your hard drive and on display.

To exclude duplicates while importing, select the 'Exclude Duplicates' option at the bottom of the import page. Picasa detects duplicate photos by comparing file sizes, names and when necessary a small portion of each image. If a photo in the Import Tray displays a red x, it's already included in Picasa and won't be imported. You can also set this as a default preference in Picasa.

  1. In Picasa, click Tools > Options (Windows) or Picasa > Preferences (Mac).
  2. Select the General tab.
  3. Select the 'Automatically detect duplicate files while importing' option (Windows) or the 'Detect duplicates while importing' option (Mac).
  4. Click the OK button.