Windows 7 : Managing Pictures with Windows Live Photo Gallery (part 11) - Enjoying Photos on Your Own PC

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8. Sharing Photos with Others

Although you may find the process of managing, organizing, and editing photos to be somewhat tedious, there is of course a wonderful payoff: once you've created an extensive photo library containing your most precious memories, you can then share those photos with your family, friends, and others in a stunning variety of ways. In other words, you can consider Windows Live Photo Gallery to be only the means to an end: for the most part, you'll use this application for the nitty-gritty management work, and then use its sharing features to spread the wealth.

8.1. Enjoying Photos on Your Own PC

Before we get into the various ways in which you can share your digital memories with others, we want to examine a few ways in which you can enjoy your photos on your own PC.

8.1.1. Using Photos for Desktop Backgrounds

First, you can use any picture as a desktop background. This is easily done from within Windows Live Photo Gallery or the Windows shell itself. Simply right-click the picture file you want to use and choose Set as desktop background. In Photo Gallery, this works from either the thumbnail view or when the application is displaying a single picture.

One of the cool new features in Windows 7 is that you can tile background images across multiple monitors. First, you will need to add a second monitor to your PC and then use the Screen Resolution control panel (right-click the desktop and choose Screen resolution) to correctly position the monitors as they appear on your desk, as shown in Figure 44.

Figure 44. Windows 7 natively supports multiple monitors, which has been shown to increase productivity. Plus, it's cool.

Then, access the Personalization control panel (right-click the desktop and choose Personalize) and click the Desktop Background link. In the next window, Choose your desktop background, navigate to a widescreen image. Then, choose Tile in the Picture Position drop-down. A typical two-monitor setup should resemble Figure 45.

Figure 45. In a multi-monitor setup, you can use a sweeping vista as your desktop background—one that extends across each display.

8.1.2. Using Photos as Screensavers

You can also use your favorite photos as a screensaver. To do so, choose Screensaver settings from Windows Live Photo Gallery's File menu. As shown in Figure 46, the Screen Saver Settings dialog will appear. (You can also access this UI from the Control Panel. The simplest way is to open the Control Panel and type screen saver into the Search box.)

Figure 46. One of the coolest ways to personalize your system is to use your own photos as a screensaver.

Now, click Settings. As shown in Figure 47, this dialog enables you to choose which pictures to use in your screensaver, along with various other related options. You can click Preview in the Screen Saver Settings dialog to see how your new screensaver looks.

Figure 47. Preview changes as you make them until the screensaver works exactly as you want.
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