What is a OneDrive Album?

Once upon a time, when OneDrive was still called SkyDrive, the words “album” and “folder” meant the same thing. The only difference was that a folder containing photos was called “album”. Nowadays the term “Album” describes something totally different.

OneDrive still has files and folders, of course, but when you click Photos, over in the left sidebar, you are taken into a “new world”.

OneDrive-Album-01

That “new world” lists All Photos, Albums, Tags, and Places in the menu bar.

OneDrive-Album-02

So what are those? For this article we will stick to just Albums.

Let’s step back a bit in time. Older folks may remember the card catalogs in libraries, real libraries with books on shelves. OneDrive-Album-03The card catalogs were organized by title, some by subject. Once you found what you were looking for there was a reference to the actual location of the book – I am simplifying just a little. What I am trying to say is that you got a reference that led you to the book.

Well OneDrive Albums work in a similar way. What you can place into an Album are not your actual photos but references to them. When you add a photo to an Album, the actual photo stays in the folder that it is in, but you can see the photo in the Album.

Making an Album

It may help to understand Albums better by going through the steps of making one. When you are in Albums there is an option on the menu bar, + New album.

OneDrive-Album-04

The + New album link brings up options to select the photos to add to the album either from Choose photos with the photos in date order (illustrated here) or Choose from folders, with the folders arranged just the way you see them when you first log into OneDrive (illustrated below next).

OneDrive-Album-05

OneDrive-Album-06

It is possible to select any photos, located anywhere in OneDrive, with no regard to their present sharing settings, and add them to an Album. The photos are not moved, they stay where they are. In the Album the photos are merely “referenced”, but you can see them.

You can arrange the photos in the Album as you like. The Album can be shared, just like a folder or an individual photo. Photos can be included in other Albums. Remember, the actual photo files stay in their actual locations.

Albums are very neat ways of showing and sharing photos in whatever grouping desired, however many, or whatever order. Neat, yes?

OneDrive-Album-07

.:.

© 2016 Ludwig Keck

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8 thoughts on “What is a OneDrive Album?

  1. Thank you for the explanation. This is an unsatisfactory method for me as my photos are already sorted into albums on my PC and I merely want to copy these to OneDrive for sharing purposes. I do not see any sense in uploading and then repeating in OneDrive the sorting that I have already done on my PC! There seems to be no way to simply drag a selection of photos from the PC to a new OneDrive album. To do this, I will need to use a difference service provider. Sad

    • Maybe you are thinking of folders on your PC as albums. OneDrive still has the normal folder organization and you can drag photos to them. Don’t get confused by the new nomenclature.

  2. Thank you…but i do have some questions. I know I can test and find the answers alone but I’ll allow myself to be lazy this time:)
    When deleting a file from the album? does it also delete the file from the “real” folder? and what about the other direction?
    And what happen when I delete a file from the smartphone itself…will the photo that was already synced to my onedrive be deleted too?

    • Microsoft keeps making “improvements”, so it is not possible to say what and how things will work tomorrow. On “albums” there is a “Remove” option that removes a photo from the “album”. “Delete” (normally) means just that, so be very cautious with anything by that name. I do not know how smartphone syncing works. In the past when deleting an item it would be deleted everywhere.

  3. HELP! I created an album in OneDrive (Windows 10) gave it a name and saved it. It was supposed to appear in the Albums’ section of OneDrive, but neither the section appears nor any reference to the album’s name. Where in the hell did it go?

    • Normally you go to Photos in the left navigation pane and then find the Albums tab. If your album is not there, I suspect what you did is to create a folder, not an album, and placed your photos there. Click Files in the nav pane and see if you can find it there. Let me know if that works and you find it. If you continue to have problems send me a message (upper right). Good luck!

  4. I find the folders/photos/albums mechanisms extremely useful. The one thing I do not understand is why the sort order of photos in an album is arbitrary. The article mentions that it mis possible to arrange photos within an Album. Can you explain how to do it?

    • Unfortunately photos in an album cannot be rearranged. It is possible to do so in a folder, but that is of little use when you want to put a picture story together in an album to share.

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