Media files import and management

I have my family media files sorted by name, in a standard Microsoft Explorer tree on my pc.
Main folders by last name, sub-folders by first name.

Is it true or am I missing the ability to load my folders into RM9 media?
Am I really limited to dragging one file at a time?
Is a large single listings RM media folder organized (managed through the program) in any manner?

Can you assist me?
Kevin Korotev

Media files are not actually stored in the RM database. They are only linked into the RM database.

You can link more than one file into RM at the same time if they are in the same Windows folder. I have never tried, but I don’t think you can link files from different folders into RM at the same time. Some other RM user may be able to suggest a way to do so that I’m not aware of.

All files linked into RM are linked to a Media Gallery. In addition, they are usually linked to items in RM such as people, families, facts/events, sources, citations, names, and places. In my opinion, just linking the files into the Media Gallery doesn’t actually accomplish very much. The real advantage of linking media files into RM happens when you link the files to specific items such as people, etc. You can link multiple files into the Media Gallery at the same time, and as I mentioned I think the multiple files have to be in the same Windows folder if you do it that way. But linking media files to items such as people and facts/events is one at a time.

Different RM users have different work styles. Some users do link multiple media files into the Media Gallery and then link them from there one at a time to various items in RM. Other users link media files directly to the items one at a time without actually using the Media Gallery, and doing so also links the files to the Media Gallery at the same time. So there are multiple ways to do it, but if you link media files to specific items then it always reduces to being one at a time. It really can’t be any other way because RM would have no way of knowing which media files should be linked to which items in RM.

  1. & 2. The contents of an entire folder can be dragged at one time via
    Select All (Ctrl-A or Left-click on first file and Shift-Left-click on last to select a span).
    Drop New Media

  2. Tell RootsMagic the top-level folder name of your media setup and it wiil default to there when Windows Explorer is invoked for media -related operations:
    Folder Settings
    Media folder

About your point #1: The contents can be D&D and end up as individual files…but the folder and its integrity can not. Is this a correct assumption?

My main takeaway from your response is the RM reliance on linking. Is there a way to manipulate that linking behavior to achieve my goal: FOLDERS? (Ideally, a way to import/link/associate them in a format similar to the way they currently exist on my pc hard drive).

Thank-you both, very much for your considered responses.
Kevin Korotev

The actual folder and its integrity is not affected, but neither is a hierarchy reproduced since they are just individual stored filepaths. Navigation (when adding) is still manual downward into subfolders for selection.

I think the way Kevin described it is apt. RM has no effect whatsoever on your files in Windows. It just links to them, wherever they are and no matter how well or how poorly they are organized.

RM does not really take advantage of your organization. RM’s Media Gallery is just a sequential list of links with no structure whatsoever. Each link is a complete file path, e.g.,


Well, to be fair since RM8 there are relative file paths. In my case, that might mean that the file paths are stored relative to C:\Users\jbryan\Dropbox\ But that doesn’t change the basic management. It does mean that if I have a second machine where my Windows userid is jbryan2 instead of jbryan that I can use the media files from within RM on both machines without needing to do anything in RM except to tell it what the relative file path is. But the Media Gallery is still a flat and sequential list of all your complete file paths. It is not a hierarchal list at all.

I actually don’t find this to be a much of a problem, even though my folder structure is highly hierarchical. From within RM, I just use the search boxes for files. That’s one place where even before RM8 that there was a good search box facility to find files by their file names and even by their file paths.

WIthout testing, I’m pretty sure you can’t just point at a file folder and link all its files into RM. Instead, you would need to go into the folder and highlight all the files to link all them into RM at the same time using drag and drop. I’m pretty confident RM doesn’t support linking by folder, only by file (or a bunch of files).

and the “individual stored filepaths” are all unique and independent of each other? There is not and can not be any folder structure for these links?

Correct. Each file path is a complete file path and is independent of all other file paths, even though much of the file path is common to files that are in the same folder.

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Gentleman, you enlighten me!
I agree that this system is probably quite functional, transparent and seamless
the initial link, one at a time, of hundreds of (previously) named, sorted and organized photos, documents and the like.

I will need to think about this before taking the plunge.

Again, Thanks so much for your time.
Kevin Korotev

I have yet to meet a desktop genealogy program that is going to allow you to attach a folder of media to a person other than doing it one at a time. It would seem that if you want media attached to people, one at a time is about the only option.

Agreed, but I don’t know how RM or any other software could determine which media files need to be linked where, even with careful naming conventions of your files. For example, a common question on these forums is whether a census image should be linked to a Census fact or to a citation for the Census fact, plus some RM users use a Residence fact rather than a Census fact, and maybe a Census record is the only evidence you have for someone’s Birth fact. Etc.

I confess that my largish collection of media files has accumulated over time with each media file file being stored into my Windows folder structure and being linked into RM at the same time. So I have no experience with your need to link a large number of media files into RM all at once. If I were in your situation, I might drag and drop a Windows folder’s worth of the media files into RM’s Media Gallery at a time. Then I might work on linking (it’s really called tagging) each of those media files to a person or family or source or fact/event or citation in RM one at a time. After completing that Windows folder, I might go on to the next Windows folder. It’s hard to know in the abstract what the best way is to work the problem. You may need to play with several different strategies until you come up with the one that best meets your needs.

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You can drag’n’drop multiple media items and automatically tag them to one person via the Media window for that person accessed via the Edit Person window. From there, you could tag each to appropriate facts, citations,… and untag from the Person (General) if wanted. If you have a sub-folder with media for one person, that could be an orderly way to proceed, one person, one-subfolder at a time.

Thank-you, one and all, for your thoughtful responses. “One at a time” is not the answer I hoped for, but I’ll adapt.
Kevin Korotev

Drag and drop will allow multiple files and file types to be added at once.
If you are coming from another genealogy program, simply export a gedcom with media links. One of the things RM9 does well is find linked media in nested subfolders.