This CyberKen Blog post tells in ten easy steps how to use Picasa to embed captions in ebook photos.

Picasa logoFormatting an ebook is nothing like formatting a printed book.  Screens for reading ebooks may be as small as smart phone ones, or as large as the most sumptuous desktop monitor.  The text and graphics flow into these visual containers, shrinking or expanding according to the available space.  If you try to show captions with in-line text it’s very difficult to control how they will display.  Using CSS coding you could get in-line text to behave, but most self-publishers don’t have the chops for that.  It’s far easier to embed your captions in the graphic files themselves.  This post tells how to do that, using Google’s free photo editing app, Picasa.  Here are the ten steps:

1.  Download and install Picasa.  During the installation process it’s probably not a good idea to give Picasa permission to index ALL the graphics on your computer! Instead, restrict its access only to the folder(s) that contain or will contain the photos you want to edit.
2.  Right click on the photo you want to caption and select “open with” and then select “Picasa Photo Viewer”.  If you do not see it as one of the available apps when you select “open with”, in the Start menu (bottom left of your screen), in the little search window, type Picasa Photo Viewer and press the Enter key.  You will see Picasa Photo Viewer in the search result.  Right click on that link and select “open file location”.  In the window that opens you will see Picasa Photo Viewer highlighted, and in the address window at the top you will see the path to that file.
3.  When your photo opens in Picasa Photo Viewer you will see a small button at the bottom of your screen that says “edit in Picasa”.  Left click on that button.
4.  In the left hand portion of the editing window, click on the top, rightmost icon.
5.  In the small window that opens, click on the icon labeled “border.”
6.  With the slider labeled “caption height” slide to the right until you have ample border area under the photo to insert caption text.  You will want to use the largest font that permits you to type your caption in the space without squeezing it.  You want fairly large letters because when the photo displays on a small screen the letters will be quite small.  You want them to be legible.
7.  At the left hand of the editing window, click on the wrench icon and then click on the “text” icon.  This enables you to type text anywhere in your photo.  Put the cursor in the caption space that you have created at the bottom.  Experiment with the size of the font and its placement until you are satisfied with how it looks..
8.  Under the File menu, select “Save”.
9.  In the editing window, under the photo, left click on the “Export” icon. Choose the folder you want to export to, and under the “image size” option, left click on “resize to” and type in 500.  For ebooks you will not need photos over 500 pixels at their maximum dimension.
10. Click on the “Export” button and find the photo in the folder you designated.  You’re ready to use it in your ebook!

The video below demonstrates the process, leaving out the export step.

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