What’s up with the Little Icons on My Photos?

Posted: March 28, 2014 in Educational Stuffz

If you’ve been cruising around ACDSee/ACDSee Pro, you’ve definitely come in contact with the File List pane. You know, that place in the middle of Manage mode with all of the thumbnails of the images in the folder you’re currently viewing?

From time to time, you’re going to come across what we call “overlay icons” on these thumbnails. These icons let you know relevant info about your photos at a glance.

Navigating the Complex World of Overlay Icons:

Ok, it’s not actually complicated at all. I just wanted to make it sound cool. Some icons are just to let you know stuff, whereas others are interactive. So, let’s break it down:

If your file displays a little red speaker, sound2 the file has embedded or associated audio. If the red speaker looks like this:sound1 , then that means you clicked the regular speaker icon and now the sound is playing at this very moment! (Just relax; it’s only sound. You’re not a chinchilla.)

A number on your thumbnail is the rating. You must have rated it at some point. If you want to rate your photo, do this: rating_process

A colored bar across the bottom of the thumbnail is a color label. If you want to assign your photo a color label, do this: color_label_process

If you see an adorable blue hamburger icon on your thumbnail, database that’s the Embed Pending icon. It appears if your file has ACDSee metadata stored in the  ACDSee database, but it hasn’t been written to the file yet. Metadata like what? Like you added a color label or rating, etc. To get rid of that icon, you can either embed the metadata, (write the metadata to the file), or clear the icon. For the former, right-click the thumbnail and select Embed ACDsee Metadata. For the latter, right-click the thumbnail and select Clear Embed Pending Flag. This gets rid of the icon, but doesn’t write the metadata to the file.

The file format icon lets you know what kind of file you’re dealing with. It doesn’t do much else, but if you left-click it, you’ll get a display of the file information, image attributes, and EXIF metadata summary on the File tab of the Properties pane. You can also get to this by left-clicking on the Embed Pending icon. file_tab

The icon that looks like a green label you’d find on a Christmas present categorize is to represent a file that has been categorized. You can left-click this icon to open the Categories section of the Organize tab on the Properties pane to identify/edit/whatever the category.

This eye getting rudely covered up by a postage stamp is the icon that tells you that that file is stored in an offline device: offline

The Don’t Play icon, (for all you Uno fans) excluded, represents files excluded from the ACDSee database.

The orange square with a checkmark represents a file that has been tagged.tagged To tag a thumbnail, click this: untagged1

The turquoise Ouija board planchette geotag means that your file has been geotagged. To investigate, left-click it to open the Map pane.

This purple rotate symbol appears if the file has been automatically rotated.rotate Left-click this symbol to rotate the image permanently and update the EXIF information.

The half moon represents a developed file, developed-16x16 (as in, you made changes in Develop mode).

And the blue crayon edited tells you that you have edited the file, (in Edit mode).

Overlay Icon Visibility:

If you’ve got some kind of beef with the overlay icons, — maybe overlay icons insulted your mother, — you don’t have to look at them. You can decide if you want them visible, visible in color, or if you just want specific ones in color.

At the top of the File List pane, click View | Toggle Overlay Mode to control the visibility and color. Toggle through the available modes with this ] key.

Alternatively, click View | Highlight Overlay to select which icons appear in color. Toggle through the modes with this [ key.

For more control over overlay icons, such as whether individual icons are displayed, go to Tools | Options. In the Options window, under File List, choose Thumbnail Info.

There! Not so complicated. Now you know what is up with those little icons on your photos.


  1. Greg says:

    Thanks for the post discussing the Overlay Icons. I have been using ACDSee for years but always learn something new from your posts.

    I do have a question for you. The purple rotate symbol is not appearing on my File List pane. However, it does appear in the lower right corner of the screen when I am in View mode. I double checked the Tools|Options|Thumbnail Info and the box for Auto-Rotate is checked. I have noticed this on my DNG files. The JPG files from a different camera have no purple rotate icon on either View mode or File List pane. Could this be because I have the Auto Rotate option checked on the import screen?

    Thanks again,

    • acdsystemsit says:

      Hi Greg,
      Sorry it has taken me some time to get back to you. Was away for a while, and then I wanted to make sure I could get together a full response for you.
      So, as you know, the autorotate icon (the purple rotate symbol) indicates that ACDSee is showing the photo in a different orientation than what is actually in the file. If the image in the file gets rotated (by the import tool, or manually after importing, or some other way) so that it is right way up, then the icon does not get shown because ACDSee is showing the image in the same orientation as in the file. Some photo viewers don’t automatically rotate the image to be right way up before displaying it, so it’s useful to know that it might show up sideways when you send it to someone. The autorotate icon should not show up for images that have been rotated to be right way up in the file — so what you are seeing is correct. However, for DNGs/RAWs — ACDSee intentionally doesn’t show the autorotate icon, but it looks like that never made it into View mode. The reason ACDSee doesn’t show the icon for RAWs/DNGs is because those are not modifiable, so it can’t rotate the orientation in the file itself, and because things get a little weird when regenerating the thumbnail after developing/editing a RAW/DNG. Since RAWs/DNGs don’t normally get used as an end product (emailed, put on web pages, etc) it’s not as important to know that it’s being autorotated by ACDSee. When deveoping/editing/converting to JPEG, it’ll get rotated then anyway. So it appears to be an oversight that the icon shows up for RAWs in View mode. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Hopefully it’s not causing you too much troubles. It sounds like we’re going to look to see if we can get that changed for the next version.
      Hope you have a great weekend!

  2. […] What’s up with the Little Icons on My Photos? […]

  3. Alex Burr says:

    Is this tutorial for pro7 and not pro6?

    I have pro 6 but annot find the clikss listed here

    “At the top of the File List pane, click View | Toggle Overlay Mode to control the visibility and color. Toggle through the available modes with this ] key.

    Alternatively, click View | Highlight Overlay to select which icons appear in color. Toggle through the modes with this [ key.”

    I do not see many of the icons either.

    • acdsystemsit says:

      Hi Alex,
      You are correct. The tutorials are written about the latest versions of the software. That being said, a lot of the functionality mentioned in the posts has existed for many versions. Unfortunately those updates to the icons that you mentioned are new additions.

  4. Just a quick thanks for writing this, I was struggling to find out how to change the icons from grey to color after upgrading to UltimateV9 – Couldn’t find the reference to it in the help menu

    • Hi Paul,
      I’m glad it has helped you out. If you need more information, try Manage Mode | Browsing | Browsing Files in the File List Pane. (It will be the same place in the help whether you are using Ultimate, Pro, or Standard.) More information relating to the overlay icons can also be found in the Manage | Organizing section of the help file as well.

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