How to Add, Edit, View and Backup Photos and other Attachments

New with Birder’s Diary version 4.0, is the ability to attach one or more photos, videos, sound Files, or  any document at all to your sightings!

After they are attached, you can View/Open each attachment and view them with your default Windows program . You can also remove attachments from any sighting and add more at any time. There are no limitations as to how many files you can attach, other than your disk space.


Configuring your Stored Attachments Location

In the Options window (View | Options), on the More TAB,  a new section titled Sightings’ Documents Location allows you to define where your attachments are kept. By default, they will be stored in the folder C:\Birder’s Diary\Attached-Sighting-Documents\. You can change this location at any time. If you do change the default location, you will be asked to copy all existing documents from the old destination to the new destination; Birder’s Diary will do this for you.

When you attach a document (photo, etc.) to a sighting, Birder’s Diary will make a copy of it and place it in the above shown destination folder and keep it there. The reason for this approach is that you can now easily move BD from one computer to another without losing the attachments linked to your sightings. All you need to do to move your attachments with it is to:

  1. Copy the contents of your attachment directory over to your new computer (or network drive), and
  2. Set the directory on your new computer to point to that.

All of your sighting attachments will now be accessible from Birder’s Diary on your new computer!

 If disk space on your machine is a concern, you should consider pointing this attachments directory to a large network or attached drive (e.g. an external USB hard disk), where space isn’t a concern.

Adding Attachments to Sightings

Adding Attachments in Keyboard Entry Mode

In keyboard entry mode, there is a Photos & Docs button. When clicked the button will open the Attachments Dialog (see below). This new window will allow you to attach any file to your sighting.

Adding Attachments in Checklist Entry Mode

In checklist entry mode, there is a new column positioned to the left titled “Files“. Each row in this column is a button that allows you to add/view/remove attachments but also shows the count of attachments for the sighting on that row – initially this is “0” – no attachments. When you Click this button it will open the Attachments Dialog (see below). This new window will allow you to attach any file to your sighting. As you add files, the button text will change from “0” to “1”, and so on, thus reflecting the number of files that will be attached to this sighting once you submit your sightings in checklist entry mode. You can click on the button multiple times in any row to review your attachments or add/remove attachments from that row.

Viewing and Modifying Attachments on Sightings

To view and change (e.g. delete, add) attachments on any saved Sighting you would use the View/Edit window just as you would to view and edit a sighting. Select your filter criteria on the View/Edit Setup window and the “View & Edit Sightings” window will be displayed. In Birder’s Diary version 4.0, there is a new column on the left side of the table. Each row in this column contains a button with the count of attachments for the sighting on that row. Clicking on this button will bring up the Attachments Dialog (see below). This new window will allow you to view all attachments for the clicked sighting. You can also maintain (add or delete) more attachments to your sighting from this window.

There is also a new button in the toolbar which allows you to view multiple selected Sightings’ Attachments at the same time. Just select the sightings that you want to view (by clicking anywhere on the row other than the Files column, or use the Select All toolbar button) and click the new Photo button (see below).

 You cannot add or delete attachments in the Attachments window when you are viewing attachments for more than one sighting at a time.

Searching for Attachments on Sightings

On the View Sightings Setup window, there are two options for searching for sightings with attachments.

  1. The first is a text field where you would enter the filename you are looking for or a substring of that file name. For example, if you are looking for a sighting with an attachment of a photo of a Blue Jay, and you feel the name of the file you attached contains the work “jay” in it, then enter “jay” into the text field and it will pull up all sightings that have attachments with the word “jay” in the name; e.g. “BlueJay.jpg”, “photo of scrub-jay.jpg”, etc. You can use “*” (any number of chars) and “?” (any single char) standard wildcard characters in this substring. For example, if you enter “scrub?jay”, it will match on a file name with “scrub” followed by any character and then followed by “jay”; e.g. it will match on “photo of scrub-jay.jpg” or “photo of scrub jay.jpg”. Where as the search string of “photo*jay” will match on any filename that has the word “photo” followed by any number of characters or zero characters and then followed by the word “jay”. This is not case-sensitive.
  2. The second is a checkbox to the right of this text field. If checked, then your search (regardless of other filters specified) will only return matching sightings that have one or more attachments.

For example, the search below would return all sightings (depending on your other filter settings) that have an attachment where the string “2015” is in the filename.

Using the Attachments Dialog

The Attachments Dialog is new in version 4.0. Use it to add, remove or view attachments for any sighting. You can also do basic editing on your photos such as crop, rotate and resize.

You can attach any valid Windows file you want to a sighting. For example, a PDF file can be attached to the sighting along with a couple photos.

You can view most images (JPG, etc) in the right-hand side of the Attachments dialog. Those that are not pictures, such as the PDF file can be opened by double-clicking on the icon on the left. The default windows program for that file type (e.g. Adobe PDF Reader) will open with the contents of that file.

This window can be resized.

 You cannot add or delete attachments in this window when you are viewing attachments for more than one sighting at a time.

Copying selected Sightings’ Photos/Attachments to a New Directory

Starting with v4.1.37, you can select sightings in the View & Edit Sightings window and have their attachments copied to a directory of your choice. With this feature, the user can setup a slide show of the selected photos, or incorporate selected files into a PowerPoint presentation; among many other things. This feature has been added to the View Sightings Window, under the popup menu. Each selected sighting will have its attachments copied to the user-selected directory. If no sightings are selected, then the current row under the mouse when the popup was activated will be copied.

Backup your Sightings’ Photos/Attachments

Starting with v4.0.116, the Backup/Restore window will, by default, automatically compress and ZIP all Sighting Attachments and put that ZIP file in the same directory as you specify for your backup file. You can disable this by deselecting the checkbox for this feature. Having all of your sighting attachments in one ZIP file allows you to move that file to other computers and restore your sighting attachments should you need to recover from a computer problem. Your sighting attachments ZIP file will be auto-named to “BD_Sighting_Attachments_yyyymmdd_xxxxx.ZIP“.

Starting with v4.1, attachments are copied individually to a subdirectory under your backup destination directory. If you keep the same backup destination, then only new attachments are copied during backup, instead of all files being copied every time. ZIP compression is no longer used.

 Be sure you save your BD backup files and your Sighting Attachments ZIP file in a location other than the computer you run BD on.