Note: ACDSee is avaiable in two versions.  Ultimate supports a layered file worklflow and Pro is for photos only.

If you own a digital camera (smartphones included) you need some way of organizing, editing and viewing your images. Just importing them into your pictures folders is a recipe for disaster. You need a Digital Asset Manager–DAM for short.

DAM’s help organize your images at a glance, have tools for quick edits and provide a way to share your image through email or social media sites. Sounds complicated and expensive? It’s not. Here’s how to use a program like ACDSee to organize your valuable memories.

Create a Master Folder

Create a master folder where you plan to organize and store your images. You can use your default operating system’s file manager. I created mine on an external drive and named it _Photography. I added the underscore so the folder would be at the top of the list.

Organizing and Creating Folders

Launch ACDSee–If you don’t have it, download a FREE trial–and navigate to your _photography folder. Right click on the folder, select New and click Folder. Type a descriptive name. If you plan on having multiple sets of photos, create a subfolder. I like adding the date with the year first to help organize the sets.

Use ACDSee to Import your Images

The folder structure we created in the previous step will be the same folder structure when viewed by our operating system’s standard file browser. Since we are using ACDSee as a DAM, we need to import our images using ACDSee’s File import.

Step 1: From the File menu select Import and choose From Disk.

Step 2: Navigate to the image folder you want and click OK.

Step 3: The Import Dialog Box appears. Select the images you want then click Browse to choose the destination folder. Click OK.

I like to rename the images but keep the camera’s numeric sequence. This serves as a serial number when I need to search for the image at a later time.

Step 4: Check Rename files to then click Edit. Choose Custom Name and seq number. Type a name then click OK.

Once everything is entered click import to copy your images into your folder. If you have worked with other DAM’s before, you will be pleasantly surprised on the import speed of ACDSee.  

Our images are now imported onto our computer but more importantly our DAM–ACDSee– has a file reference point record. Any changes, keywords we add, edits or rating we apply to the image will be recorded into ACDSee’s database.

BONUS Features

I’ve shown you how to use ACDSee as a Digital Assets Manager to organize your images but  ACDSee is also a powerful and easy to use image editor. There are several features that make color correction simple and fast. It’s intuitive design will have a beginner editing in no time.

Here’s a link to several great tutorials on their site —

We’ve also posted our favorties here —

If you are part of the many complaining about paying a subscription fee for an image editing solution, ACDSee is right for you. For around $50—$75 dollars you own a copy of ACDSee.