Compare Photos Side-by-side in Elements

Being able to compare your photos and media side-by-side is very useful. One image can be kept in a fixed position and scale, on one side of your screen, while on the other side, you can cycle through other images and then compare them for similarity of composition or content.

Go to Full Screen view by selecting View > Full Screen (Cmd + F11); you will need to access your Film Strip. If it isn’t visible, you can click Cmd + F on your keyboard to make it visible at the bottom of your screen. Bring up the Control bar and click on the View icon.

The view options available to you are quite straightforward. When you click the View icon, a small menu will pop up with the option to either view the images in the Side by Side orientation, or to view them horizontally, with one above the other across the width of the screen.

In this example, choose the Side by Side view option. Select your primary image from the Film Strip and it will be displayed on the left as image 1. The next image in the series will be marked as image 2. Image 1 will be active by default with a blue box around it. You need to click image 2 to make it active.

Any operation you perform on the image, whether it is an edit or adding keywords, for example, will only be applied to the image that is currently active. In this case, image 2 will be the one that is affected by any changes you make to it.

If you click image 1 to make it active again and then select a new image from your Film Strip, the newly chosen image will become the new image 1. If you wish, you can press the Tab key on your keyboard to alternate between having image 1, or image 2 as the active image, at any time.

Now make image 2 active, then, if you press your right arrow key, or the Next Media button, you can flip though images in your Film Strip and view them as image 2, on the right of the screen. Image 1 will remain fixed until you opt to change it, if required.

The active image can be viewed at different magnifications by rotating the scroll wheel on your mouse, if you have one. Otherwise, you can use the Cmd key and either the minus (-) or plus (+) keys to alter the magnification at which you view the photo. The image can also be dragged around if required.

If you are viewing two very similar photos and want to be able to compare them very closely, you can choose to synchronise the panning and zooming of the photos so they both scale and move at the same time, then if one is moved, the other will move in unison. Click the Sync icon to do this.

If you click on the View icon again, the View Options menu will pop up. You will see that there is a full screen option, or you can choose the Above and Below view option instead. This places the images one above the other, horizontally, across the screen.

Each image, that is currently selected, can have some simple edits applied to it. With an image active, click on the Fix icon in the Control bar and the Quick Edit panel will open. You can apply a star rating, rotate the image and delete it, or mark it for printing. Press Exit to quit Full Screen.

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Russ Ware

Russ has been testing, reviewing and writing guides for tech since the heady days of Windows 95 and the Sega Saturn. A self-confessed (and proud) geek about all things tech, if it has LED's, a screen, beeps or has source code, Russ will want to master it (and very likely take it apart to see how it works...)

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