Media Default Screens

As I understand it, Media must be added to a Source, Citation, Fact, etc., one at a time. I now realize how big a mistake it was, therefore, not to add Media from the very beginning when I created a new RM8 tree. I accumulated 1600+ media files in folders that were not connected to RM8. Recently I copied them all into a single Media folder and dropped them into RM8.

Is it wishful thinking on my part or:

  1. Is there a way to switch the Add Media default input screen from Add New Media to another option (e.g., Add Existing Media)?

  2. Is there a way to switch the Media Gallery default screen from Thumbnails to Media List view?

  3. Is there a way to prevent the Add Media screen from “forgetting” the last search of Existing Media and reverting to the full list?

I’d greatly appreciate any suggestions on how to add these media where they belong most efficiently. Thanks!

The answer to all three questions is no.

The one that has been near and dear to my heart for literally decades with RM is your question #2. I don’t really need to switch the default display mode. I just need RM to remember what I used most recently which in my case will always be List mode. And with RM8, it’s even worse than with RM7 because RM8’s List mode includes thumbnails. I suspect that 99% of RM users like the thumbnails in List mode and that I’m in the 1% that doesn’t want them there. But the vast majority of my media files are JPG’s of document like census records which makes the thumbnails pretty worthless. The thumbnails in List view just clutter up my list of media files and make it harder to user. Windows File Explorer has a number of formats for listing files, and its List mode is just that - a list with no thumbnails or other extraneous information. That can be very useful sometimes.

I’m not much impacted by your questions #1 and #3 because I adopted the approach years ago of entering media files into RM one at a time and adding the media tags at the same time. So I virtually never deal with Add Existing Media. But I totally get why Add Existing Media is awkward to work with as you describe. If I had a bunch of media files already in RM for which I simply wanted to add media tags to link them to a Source, Citation, Fact etc., then I would want the answers to your questions #1 and #3 both to be yes.

A common user question about RM through the years has been whether it’s possible to bulk add media files to RM. The answer has always been and remains a qualified yes. Namely, you can do it with a drag and drop from Windows File Explorer into RM. In RM8, it’s called the Drop New Media feature.

When users ask about this feature, I always wonder why they want to do it that way. They surely don’t realize that such a drag and drop does not link the files to any Sources, Citations, Facts, etc. and that they are still going to have to do that one at a time. I think it’s much easier to do the one at a time adds for media files with Add New Media than it is with Select Existing Media. I don’t it would be very popular with most users, but it seems to me that RM would be much improved by the removal of the Drop New Media feature, at least in the main Media tab.

By the way and a little off topic from the main thrust of your questions, but I played around a little bit with the Add Existing Media feature while researching your questions. I found the behavior very confounding. I may be missing something obvious, but when I selected an existing media file to add to a Fact, it added the media file without providing any visual indication whatsoever that it had done so. It seemed like it wasn’t working. It was only after I had exited from the Add Existing Media screen that I could tell that it had in fact worked correctly.

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Suggest you keep media organized in nested subfolders as you add it to RM8.
With drop and drag you can add multiple media items to the selected fact/event. Deleting these items in a test add was one at a time and it took 4 repeats to get the last one gone.
RM8 defaults seem unchangeable but it is excellent at finding moved linked files and folders.


Thank you very much for your characteristically thoughtful and detailed response. I also appreciate that you can feel my pain :wink:

I’d be OK with that.

You and I both

Mine are too, and I find Windows Explorer easily adaptable to my needs. My media filenames, with some exceptions, follow a specific format:

[Final Spouse’s Surname][Given Name][Middle Initial][Unmarried Surname][1st Spouse’s Surname][2nd Spouse’s Surname][etc][brief contents descriptors].filetype

For example:

Cohen Jennie S. Kardonsky Silverstein death cert.jpg
Cohen Meyer (d. 1978) Vienna 1896 B 243.tif
Cohen Meyer (d. 1925) Find A Grave.pdf

I don’t need thumbnails to make a selection from the list.

Without giving a lengthy explanation, suffice it to say that I had reasons not to include media in any of my RM7 and earlier databases. RM8 is my first experience with this process, and I’m still catching up.

From reading previous posts on this forum, I got the impression that adding media to Citations, not Sources or Facts, was the way to go.

I’m producing this particular RM8 file for someone else with limited computer skills who would find that confusing. He’ll be accessing the tree only on, and I don’t know who will be editing/updating the RM file after my work is done. Your idea does give me something to think about, thanks.


The most logical place to add media such as census images is citations. There are a number of reasons this is the logical place. One reason is that the image really is the source that you are citing. For example, with both FamilySearch and Ancestry, when you click on a “source” what you see is an image. Another reason is the image follows the citation around automatically when the citation is applied to multiple facts.

The most convenient place to add media is facts. It’s the easiest to do and to see. You can tell the media is there and you can see it with a couple of clicks. Media linked to citations by comparison is buried deeply in the user interface. Well, an inconvenience of linking media to facts is that if an image applies to multiple facts you do have to add it to each fact separately rather than the image following the citation around.

As to whether adding media to sources or to citations, it really depends on whether you are a source lumper or a source splitter. You have to be a pretty extreme source splitter for it to make sense to add media to sources and most users are not extreme source splitters. So for most users most of the time, adding media to citations makes more sense than addition media to sources.


I’m considering adding media (photos) to certain facts where I’d like the image to be easier to find, like Marriage (wedding photos) or Burial (gravestone photos). I would also add the gravestone photo to the fact citation, but not the wedding photo(s). Do you see any drawbacks to that approach?

Thanks again for your help.


I see no drawbacks. That’s pretty much the way I do it with media attached both to facts and to citations.

Great, thanks again.

I think it’ll be more than 1% - I’m anti-thumbnail too!
I have recently batch added a load of media files without them being linked but have used SQL to good effect to add captions. I can then “Add existing media” as I process the citations, rather than having to go through the file adding individually. It also makes it easier to look at the media rather than having to find it in XnView.
I’ve got about a thousand facts and citations collected to add after a winter research blitz, so it’s going to be a slow job and each citation is currently a page in my OneNote notebook including the filename of the media to link.
However I’ve written one of my SQL reports to give me a list of unlinked media in an Excel spreadsheet so I can readily find the items. I just wish media gallery could work with folders - the names are in the file path so it surely wouldn’t be that difficult!!

I am having a bit of a different prob and maybe im just doing it wrong. I got an album recently and and am going to scan the pix onto my hard drive. i also downloaded abt 75 photos from Google photos to my hard drive. However I am unable to get the drag and drop to work from my hard drive into RM8. and I haven’t been able to figure out a way to add mult pix to RM8 media list to be able to use the drag and drop. Please help thanks

When you add media using drag n drop make sure you drop it inside the box.

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Look at it this way for media on the computer (not in ancestry). Is it easier to see a problem with family x among 1000 other media files or just in one folder of 12 items for family x? Also it is easy to add a media item that is named so that it does not sort with related items and you will never spot that in a mob.