Find out how to create personalised screensavers in Windows 7, Vista and XP
Vista adds much more sophistication to its photo screensavers. It includes 12 different themes (a theme consists of a background, a layout and a set of transitions) and it also supports the use of video clips as screensavers (although it won’t play the audio in video files). It also gives you more control over which pictures to display.
To open the screensaver dialogue box, right-click an empty part of the desktop and choose Personalize. Click the link labelled Screen Saver and the settings page will open. Choose Photos from the dropdown menu and click Settings. You will see that there are a lot more options now, so let’s look at them in turn.
First, click ‘Use all pictures and videos from Photo Gallery’. Photo Gallery is a reference to the Windows Photo Gallery program (found on the Start, All Programs menu), and it includes any photos or videos stored in the default Pictures and Videos folders.
If your photos and videos are stored in either of these folders, you can choose which ones to display using tags or star ratings. Windows Photo Gallery lets you add these, and they are a great way to organise your favourite pictures.
To rate or tag a photo or video, double-click it within Windows Photo Gallery and click the number of stars (from one to five) in the right-hand pane. Click on Add a tag (or press Control & T) to add an existing or new tag to the picture. A tag could be something like ‘our holiday 2011’.
Back on the screensaver settings page, in the ‘With this tag’ box type the tag you want to show (you can only use one tag). Optionally, select the star rating level you want to see from the ‘With this rating or higher’ box. Finally, if some photos have multiple tags and you don’t want to show pictures that have one of these tags, click the ‘Don’t show items tagged’ box and type the tag name into the box below.
If you just want to show all the pictures from a particular folder, click ‘Use pictures and videos from’ and click Browse to navigate to the folder. Choosing this option disables the tagging and rating features, however, and rather oddly the screensaver will not work if there are only videos in the folder.
In the bottom half of the settings page are the theme options (if your PC’s graphics card is not powerful enough, themes will not be available). There are 12 themes in the ‘Use this theme’ list, so try them out to see which one you prefer. Each theme has a different background, photo style and transition.
Finally, choose the speed of the slideshow (Slow, Medium or Fast) from the dropdown menu, and check the ‘Shuffle contents’ box if you want the order of the pictures to be randomised. Click Save when complete, and set any other options such as the time delay for the screensaver to start.
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