Now that digital photos are the norm, I am often given someone's camera roll and need to distill it into a mini-album / photo-spread. Currently I go through the photos one by one and add them to a table in a word document, which I then use to write brief captions (date of photo, who the key people are, what is going on). In only a few pages the document begins misbehaving. I am looking for something that will let me do the following:

  • Import a bunch of photos
  • Assign captions to each one (that will eventually show above or below or beside, but not on top of the photo itself) - captions might be a full sentence long, and don't need to be animated, fancy fonts, or anything like that, although rich text would be nice - and I have to be able to go back and edit them if needed
  • Have the photos all be aligned in a 2 or 3 or 4 x 2 or 3 or 4 grid on an 8.5 x 11"/A4 page (for printing to hard copy or PDF), with size or orientation automatically adjusted
  • Ideally, ability to make different pages have different grids/number of photos, so that I can adjust to, for example, the landscape-orientation photos being together and the portrait-orientation photos being together

Some of the online album sites (Flickr for example) can produce something that looks roughly like what I want, but I need an offline solution that prints. I also distinctly remember the "home publishing" software that came with some of the home desktop scanners and early digital cameras had this type of "Basic Photo Album for Dummies" option, but I can't find anything like it now - it's all online, aimed at social media, or is meant for making memes and adjusting selfies and can't do the simple, square, basic things I need. I do NOT need to share it with anyone.

For workarounds, I have access to Office (I've tried Powerpoint, but as with Word the software gets cranky if you try to put multiple pictures on a page/slide, and as soon as you're a few pages/slides in) and Adobe Acrobat. Or is there some way I could adjust the margins on the Windows print-photos-to-contact-sheet-arrangement setting, print that to PDF, and use Acrobat to type basic captions?

I'm using Windows 10 and the price should be $100 or below.

Any recommendations?


2 Answers 2


I know that it is command line but I would suggest taking a look at ImageMagick - it can do all that you are asking including making contact sheets, arranging photographs into grids, adding captions on or next to images, scaling the images appropriately, copes with most image formats as inputs and can output in numerous formats including PDF.

It is completely free, (gratis & Open Source), and available for most platforms. One of the nice things is that once you find a set of settings that work you can put them into a batch or script file so that you can repeat them anytime.

There are some GUIs available for Image Magick but I have not experienced them so cannot recommend a specific one.


I've tried using Picasa, even though it's old and no longer being updated. Its fairly user friendly, and free! For the moment it is solving my problem.

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