JAlbum / Where are my files



This page shows you the folders and files jAlbum uses both for your projects and for any skins or add-ons you install. There are, if you use jAlbum's defaults, in two directories that contain user files, they are My albums (your projects) and the Configuration (skins, external tools, plugins and default settings). If you want to backup or migrate your jAlbum files you need to copy those two directories to your backup/new computer.

First we'll look at the My albums and then the Configuration directory

My albums

jAlbum's default location for your projects is a folder called 'My Albums' within your 'home' folder. This location can be checked, or changed, by going to Menu/jAlbum/Preferences/Album (for other operating systems it is Menu/Tools/Preferences). Look for the 'My albums' location, the path to the folder is displayed and can be changed by clicking on the small folder icon to the right of the path. Each of your projects will, unless you change it, under Settings/General, be contained within subfolders of that folder. If you want to backup all of your projects or copy/migrate them to a new computer then this is the folder to go to. Each of your project folders will be named the same as the project's name.

When you create a new project the default location for the output album is a subfolder of the project folder, called 'album'. You can change this location for each album or for all future albums by selecting a new output folder in Settings/General and then using Menu/File/Save as default. From jAlbum version 15.2 there is a preference setting that allows you to change the output location for all new projects.

From any open project you can use the keyboard shortcut Cmd/Ctrl + I + SHIFT to open the image directory. My albums directory is one level up/back from there. If you have any projects stored outside of the My albums folder it might be worth checking the recent-projects.txt file in the config directory for such stray albums or search your computer for '.jap' files.

Anatomy of a project

Each jAlbum project is made up of files and folders that you add and also those that jAlbum creates. The 'Sample Portfolio' project supplied with jAlbum (Menu/Tools/Open directories/Program to open jAlbum's installation directory and then navigate to samples/Sample Portfolio) is a typical project. We will use that project to look at how jAlbum does its magic.

Invisible Items

There is a hidden folder at the each level of the project, it is called '.jalbum' and contains a cache folder, which may have thumbnail images, jAlbum control & Information files such as albumfiles.txt, comments.properties, meta.properties and XML .info files such as About.htt.info, Contact.htt.info and res.info The cache folder is used to speed up previewing of thumbnails, its contents are generated as needed. The .info files store information for each file or folder on settings, like cropping, filters, variables, theme images and key events such as when the album was last made etc.

Each subfolder of a user's project will also contain a .jalbum folder comments.properties only appears in the root folder.

If you want to see these files then you can either set your OS to show invisible files or use a text application that can access invisible files. Warning, don't change anything unless you know exactly what you are doing!

Let's start with the project's root folder, what you see in jAlbum if you load the project. Once a project is shown in jAlbum's explore view you can see the project folder on your computer by using SHIFT+Cmd/Cntr+I keyboard shortcut. These are the files and folders that can be seen there:

jalbum-settings.jap (from 15.2 the settings can be saved with a different name, it will still end with .jap)

Note, albumfiles.txt, comments.properties and meta.properties were listed here until jAlbum version 16, when they were moved to the hidden .jalbum folder

User Files & Folders

The folders for People, Nature, Objects and Travel contain the images that are to be shown in the album. The Bokeh.jpg image, with a circle and bar, has been excluded so it won't show as a normal part of the album. About.htt & Contact.htt are 'page templates' that are supplied with the skin being used, in this case Turtle. As you can guess from their names they are designed to show information about the album and its creator. Finally there is a semi-transparent folder called 'res'. When you add a folder called 'res' jAlbum will convert it to a special type of folder. It is 'hidden' but not excluded, so no links are created to it but any contents are copied to the album's 'res' folder. This Sample Portfolio project's 'res' folder contains a 'dummy.jpg' image which is used as a placeholder for the About.htt template's author's image.

Many skins have a res folder that is copied to the album even if the project does not include one. Adding a res folder to the root of your project lets you replace skin res files with your own, as the skin res folder is copied to the album first. For example adding your own wait.gif image would replace the skin's wait.gif file. This allows some degree of customisation of the skin without having to actually modify it, with the added bonus that the modification will survive skin updates.

The Album

The folder named 'album' is the output folder created by jAlbum when you 'make album' and it contains all of the files required for your web album to work. This includes a 'res' folder, it contains files and folders that that come from the skin, such as the icons and CSS style sheets that define the 'look' of your album. This folder is what needs to be uploaded to your website for visitors to be able to see it.

jAlbum control & Information files

The following files are all plain text files which can be examined with any text editor. If you look at these files note that a # is used before a comment, it is ignored by jAlbum; a \ character is an 'escape' character and is commonly used to make multi-line entries appear as a single line; the = character is used to pair a 'key' to some 'property' associated with it, like a comment for an image or a skin setting.


It stores information about the user files and folders added to the project. Below is the contents of the root folder's albumfiles.txt file.

# This file is created by JAlbum. It sets custom file filtering and ordering for this image directory.
# Files not listed here are added to the end of the album
# Rows beginning with "-" indicate excluded files.
# Rows can have up to 3 tab separated columns according to this scheme:
# File name | Target path (for links) | When added (seconds since epoch)
# Note: The target path can reference files and directories in other locations and thereby
# allows you to compile albums consisting of files from several different locations.

People		1373019265
Nature		1373019265
Objects		1373019265
Travel		1373019265
-Bokeh.jpg		1382915383
About.htt		1382915383
Contact.htt		1383053551
res		1383307026


Stores all comments you enter into the jAlbum comments field as shown in explore and edit view modes. For the Sample Portfolio only three files have comments, they are About.htt, Contact.htt and Bokeh.jpg. The comments.properties file contains:

About.htt=You can add custom made pages like this one to your album projects.\
Right click an empty space between two thumbnails and select "New page" to create a new page.\
Right click this page's thumbnail and select "Edit" to edit the source code.
Contact.htt=You can add custom made pages like this one to your album projects.\
Right click an empty space between two thumbnails and select "New page" to create a new page.\
Right click this page's thumbnail and select "Edit" to edit the source code.
Bokeh.jpg=<h2>Good to know!</h2>\
<p>Click "Make album" to make a full blown portfolio site out of this sample project.</p><br/>\
<p>You can include all kinds of files (images, videos, docs...)</p><br/><p>New pages are added by right clicking on the white area between thumbnails and choosing "New page".</p>\
Good luck!


This file stores all of the settings used when you last saved the album (Menu/File/Save project or 'made' the album and 'save project on make album' is checked in preferences). 'jalbum-settings' is the default file name but it can be saved with an alternative name. From version 15.2 if the project has been saved with a name other than 'jalbum-settings' the project will appear in the recent projects list under the name of the settings file. These files are long, due to the number of jAlbum and skin settings possible. An example of the contents of the project file is shown below:

#jAlbum Project
#Fri Oct 28 23:19:00 BST 2016
directory=/Applications/jAlbum.app/Contents/Java/samples/Sample Portfolio

Skin settings are prefixed with skin. while jAlbum settings have no prefix, such as outputDirectory. Since # normally indicates a comment it has to be escaped with a \.


Tracks information about each folder, such as how files are ordered and the image to be used for its thumbnail. The contents of the meta.properties file is:

descript=Portfolio template album using dummy images

You can read more on how jAlbum uses all of these files here

Extensions, Enhancements & Defaults

You can enhance and extend jAlbum in various ways, such as external tools, plug-ins and additional skins. The location of those additional files and your default settings is within the jAlbum configuration folder, you can find this by using Menu/Tools/Open directories/Configuration directory or keyboard shortcut SHIFT+CMD/CTR+C If you want to backup all of your default settings and downloaded jAlbum content or copy/migrate them to a new computer then this is the folder to go to.


If you have signed-in to the jAlbum application this will hold those details.


This folder contains things like ffmpeg, used to convert videos to mp4 format, which you might have installed or updated.


This file contains settings for jAlbum and the default skin when jAlbum starts, see Save as default


From jAlbum 15.1 each skin can have its own default settings, for example Tiger skin would have Tiger-defaults.jap. When invoked by Save as Skin Default the currently applied skin settings will be saved for use when the skin is loaded for new projects. To use the skin's suggested default settings instead hold down the 'ALT' key when loading the skin. To revert to the skin's suggested defaults for all future projects use the 'reset' button on the skin 'information' window, this will delete the skin's default jap file.


This folder contains addition extension files, .jaext, which add extra funcionality to jAlbum.

My accounts.xml

if you have used jAlbum's FTP to upload files then this file stores those FTP settings.


The recent projects shown in jAlbum's explore view are read from this file.


jAlbum comes with several skins but if you install additional skins, or update bundled skins, then they go here. Skins bundled with jAlbum appear in regular weight font and skins installed by the user appear in bold. A bundled skin however will appear in bold once it has been updated, as updates go in to the user's skins directory, not the program directory. It is important to note that any custom skin will be in this location only.


Any additional external tools, .bsh files, installed from the forums, or written by yourself will be installed here.

If you want to run jAlbum on another computer be sure to copy the above files, in addition to your projects of course:

Lifeboat files and backing up/migrating your files

jAlbum has a built in method of backing up your projects to the cloud, see Play safe with jAlbum. There is also an external tool that will create the lifeboat file which can be found here and an enhanced version that will include a copy of the skin used, handy if you have made custom changes, which is here. The lifeboat file is a snapshot of your project at the time it is used, if you change any settings or edit any comments etc. You should update the lifeboat file.

Note The lifeboat is a preference setting, in jAlbum versions earlier than 15 it is in Preferences/Publishing and in newer versions in Preferences/Album.

The information earlier in this article shows what and where the files are that need backing up/copying to a new computer. However If you are moving the "My albums" folder to a new location on the new computer (different drive, OS or username), you will need to fix the paths in recent-albums.txt with a text editor to point to the new location. Otherwise you'll start with an empty "Recent albums" panel. You can then open the albums with the File → Open album project command and point to the new location. For projects not listed in the recent projects file you can open their jAlbum-settings.jap files in a text editor and search for the old paths (directory= and outputDirectory=) and then replace them with the new path.

If you happened to change the "Output directory" of your album(s) (the default is under the album's input directory, "Album" folder) – e.g. because you were running a web server on your PC, or just wanted to keep all the generated albums at the same folder – back up those directories too. However these outputs can always be regenerated by jAlbum with "Make album".

Original files

If you were using the "Copy" method while adding the images, videos and other files used in the albums then they will be included in the projects . In this case the albums are self containing, so the images will be carried over to the new PC with the "My albums" folder.

If you were using the "Link" method, however, the images are probably hanging around in other places on your hard disk. You will probably move those images to the new computer anyway, independently of jAlbum. If you choose the same directory for these images on the new computer, the links in the albums will work immediately. If they get stored in another folder – e.g. you've changed from Windows to Mac or are using another drive – you will need to 'repair' the links in the albums. Just open the album, select one broken thumbnail (with the red "x"), right-click → Repair link, and jAlbum will try to repair all the broken links in the album at once. You might need to show other locations so jAlbum can find all the missing images.