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So you know when you really want to see that one picture but, for the life of you, can’t remember where you put it? I’m not going to lie: I have for sure wasted a significant amount of time on this. It starts out that I can’t find something and search and search, and then, instead of moving on, like a normal person, I just get stubborn. That’s when I know I’m in it for the long haul: when I start getting obstinate, and adamant. Oh no, I can’t back down. By that point it’s a matter of pride. I will have my way. And it nags at me, like when you’re in the middle of a poignant conversation and that quintessential word eludes you. Of course, by the time I find the photo, the purpose of finding it has long been lost to the archives of relevant point-making.

Luckily, ACDSee has the interests of people like me at heart. And, also, actual professionals whose careers are largely shaped by whether or not they can find the photos they are looking for when they need to find them.

So, in ACDSee, you get an entire Search pane with a ton of ways to search for your photos. In Manage mode, go to View | Search. (There is also the Quick Search bar at the top of the File List pane, but we’ll talk about that another time. So many ways to search!)

View Search

On the Search pane, you can enter a name (or even a portion of a name) that you think would likely lead to what you’re looking for in the Search for files or folders named field.


By entering “7” in the field, every photo with 7 as part of its name was returned in the search results. If you are really up a creek, you could even take a stab at entering something like “IMG” or “DSC” if you don’t think you named the file. You can also use wildcards to search for file name patterns. To exclude all non-image files, right-click the arrow button next to the field and select Images only.

Images Only

This is a good time to mention that the Search pane will not return results for folders that are not cataloged in the ACDSee database. Sounds scary. Don’t worry, cataloging happens automatically when you browse to a folder. You can also click Tools | Database | Catalog Files.

In the With the Text field, you can enter text that you want to search for in the ACDSee database. This includes stuff like portions of a caption, keyword, or even the folder that you think could contain the file you’re looking for. Click on the arrow next to the field to choose which areas to search in. Though, note that if you search by file name and keyword or phrase, you will only find results that include both criteria. Here’s an in-depth look at the criteria options:

  • Find all words: Only returns files that match all of the words you enter.
  • Find whole words only: Only returns files that contain the entire word, exactly as you type it.
  • Search in Caption: Searches the Caption field of files in the database.
  • Search in Keywords: Searches the Keyword field of files in the database.
  • Search in Notes: Searches the Notes field of files in the database.
  • Search in Categories: Searches the Category assignments of files in the database.
  • Search in Folders: Searches in the name of folders in the database.
  • Search in Labels: Searches the labeled images by color.
Search Results

This search returned all files with the word “Vegas” in either its name, caption, note, or keyword.

Next, specify whether you want to search in the entire database, or just in specific folders and categories via the radio buttons. If you choose the latter, fields will appear where you can specify the categories and folders you’re interested in searching. Press Start.

Categories Seach Results

This search returned files that have “1” in their name, are categorized as places, and are in one of the folders specified. You can see how you could use this to drill down to very specific photos, even if you had only the broadest sense of where they could be.

Lower on the Search pane still, you have the Properties section. Here, you can press the Add… button and select from just about any property you can imagine — ACDSee Metadata, EXIF, file properties, image attributes, IPTC, and multimedia attributes.

Search Criteria

Expand any one of these options and select the checkbox next to the criteria you want. Press OK. In the Properties section, next to the criteria you have chosen, press Click to set, and enter or select your desired parameters.

For instance, in the example below, I have selected Flash as one of my properties. I’ve clicked Click to set, and now will choose one of the options in the dialog and will press Assign. Then OK.

Property example
Flash Property

I can now run the search, or continue adding properties.

You can make some pretty complex searches. And this is only a small sample of the available criteria.

Property Sample

Also, you can select the specificity of the criteria you are adding. Do you want your search results to contain only exact matches to your defined criteria, or can the results be more general? Choose your specificity level from the drop-down menu.

Saved Searches

So, you’ve used this complex search and found just exactly what you’re looking for. Finally! You haven’t seen this image in forever. But you know that in the future, you’re probably going to need to find this photo again. And you’re probably going to not know where it is again. You could write it down its name and/or location on a piece of paper, (that you will inevitably lose), like a chump. OR, don’t sweat it at all. Just save the search that allowed you to find the image.

Click Save and then type in a name for the search. If you use a descriptive name, it makes it easier to remember the criteria in your saved search.


To find your search again later, you can select it from the drop-down list at the top of the Search pane. Press Start to run the search.


To delete a search, select it from the drop-down list and click the Delete icon.

You can also find your saved searches in the Saved Searches section of the Catalog pane, which saves you the trouble of opening the Search pane. You can run them with a single click on the name of the saved search.

Catalog Ssaved Search

More on searching next time! Have fun finding those old, buried gems!

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