jAlbum / Preferences

Preferences are settings that affect the behavior of the program. They don't affect the resulting album (the language preference being the exception). Preferences are global, i.e. they don't apply to a specific album project, they are saved as defaults.jap in the configuration directory (Menu/Tools/Open Directories/config directory). For settings affecting the album, see jAlbum/Settings.




Language Default=System language

Use this to set the applications interface to your preferred language. Most texts change immediately, however a restart is required to ensure all interface elements change. jAlbum is translated to many different languages but note that the skin settings might not be translated since the interface for the skin settings is created by the skin developers.

Look and feel Default=Darcula

The default can be changed to, Metal, Nimbus, CDE/Motif or to match your computer’s operating system e.g. Mac OS, Windows etc.

Font size Default=11

Sets the font size for jAlbum's user interface.

Number of Threads Default=Number of processor cores

Determines how many images and slide pages that will be processed simultaneously. This will normally default to using the same number of processor cores as your computer has. For example a single processor with four cores, that has dual threading, will allow eight threads to be used at the same time. This just means that jAlbum can process your projects faster the more threads that are supported. Read more about this here.

Logging level Default=Warning

This controls the level of diagnostic/error reporting that is reported to the user. An error or warning is indicated in the bottom right of the application window by a 'warning' triangle, clicking on that icon will open the system console log, showing the details of the problem. This is probably best set to Warning, unless requested by jAlbum to change it for specific debug information or you are developing a skin. More information on the Java logging levels can be found here.

Skin developers can set the logging level to "FINE" or less in order to get a detailed "stack trace" error report upon errors instead of the end user friendly skin error dialog

A logging event of level "WARNING" or "SEVERE" will produce an audiable warning to accompany the visual warning.

Recent Projects Default=50

The number of recent projects listed can be set within the range of 0 to 99. See jAlbum Welcome - Recent Projects for more information on recent projects

Preview mode Default=Windowed

There is a choice of three preview modes, Windowed, Integrated or External.

Windowed opens the album in a resizable window, allowing a full sized browser view without having to maximise the application's own window
Preview mobile devices.png
It also provides a quick way of seeing how your album will look on various devices, to select a device to emulate click on the 'mobile devices' icon and select a device/size from the dropdown list. You can rotate the 'device' by clicking on the rotate icon, toggling between landscape to portrait orientation.

Integrated opens the preview within the applications 'explore' pane.

External opens the album in your machine's default browser.

Use embedded web server Default=Selected with port 8080

If checked, this will start jAlbum's sharing server letting you view the generated album as though it was uploaded to the internet.This can be very useful if the skin being used is 'JSON database' based as most web browsers will not run the local copy of those albums for security reasons - see same-origin policy.

There is a 'Port' entry field with defaults to '8080', you can change the port mapping if you need to use another port. Changes to the status of the checkbox take effect straight away. When the server is running the jalbum, or the external web browser, will show the address as something like '' instead of starting with 'file://'.

You can also control the embedded server manually, see Sharing server help page.

Highlight misspelled words Default=true

When enabled it will highlight misspelled words when entering text in the user interface, e.g. comments field, skins may or may not support this feature. Misspelled words are highlighted by underlining them with a red wavy line. Read more about spell checking in Explore mode>File attributes.

Close progress dialog when done Default=false

When you make an album from a project jAlbum will show its progress as it generates pages, images, videos etc. If you want this progress dialog box to close when the album build is complete then select this setting. Note, if ‘Use jAlbum’s integrated browser’ is selected then this setting is inactive.

Check for updates Default=true

If selected the application will check the jAlbum server for updates. If you don't want to be bugged with information about updates then turn this setting off.

Show warning dialogs Default=true

Warn before performing file deletion and similar risky tasks.

Display thumbnails in file chooser Default=true

When adding files the application will try to use a native file chooser, but if one is not supported then a Java file chooser is used. Selecting this setting will show thumbnail images in the Java file chooser window.

Remember last window position and size Default=true

If selected the application will open in the same position and at the same window size as used in the previous session. It does not apply to skin settings windows.

Save backups of album projects Default=false

This creates a backup file of the settings used for a project, it does not create a backup of the project’s contents. The backup file (.jap extension) is saved in the same folder as the current album project settings file. The backup settings file is updated after a setting has been changed and a 'Make' operation has been initiated.

Show tip of the day Default=true

If selected usage tips will be presented in the notification area when relevant.

Save project on 'Make Album' Default=false

Will save the project settings automatically following a 'Make album' operation.

Warning: If you also have save 'backups of album projects' selected you will only be able to roll back to the settings from just before the last 'make' operation. After two make operations, even without any change to settings, the backup settings file will be the same as the project settings file. To keep backups of project settings consider saving them outside of the project.



When creating projects

Projects directory
Default=Users/your name/My Albums for Mac OS and C:\Documents\My Albums for Windows
Click on the folder icon and then navigate to the folder on your computer that you want to hold your jAlbum projects. For example, you could use a subfolder within your Pictures Folder, /Users/user name/Pictures/jAlbum. Whenever you select ‘New Album Project...’ from the File menu, then a new folder, named as your Album name, is created in the ‘My Albums location’.

Note: Changes to the project directory location will only take effect on new projects.

Output directory location
There are two options for the location of your generated albums, the default location is unchanged from earlier versions.
Under project directory
Default=The output is a subfolder of the project directory called 'album'.
Under web directory
If selected this suggests putting your generated albums in a sub directory, called 'web', of your 'home' directory. If you prefer an alternative location either enter it in the field manually or click on the folder icon and navigate to your chosen location. If the web directory does not exist it will be created.

Note: Changes to the output directory location will only take effect on new projects.

When adding files Default=ask

Decides what jAlbum is doing when you are adding new files to the program, the options are ask, copy or link. Ask is the default state. ´┐╝Copy will make a copy of the file being added whilst Link will just keep a reference, indicated by a small curved arrow in the lower left of the thumbnail, to the original file. Ask will prompt you to decide whether to copy or link each time a file is added. Linking has the advantage of saving space since there is no need to duplicate the file. Copying means that you can have your original images stored on remote/ removable discs, that do not need to be present when making the album. You can read more about copying and linking here.

"My Albums" location Default=Users/your name/My Albums for Mac OS and C:\Documents\My Albums for Windows

Click on the folder icon and then navigate to the folder on your computer that you want to hold your jAlbum projects. For example, you could use a subfolder within your Pictures Folder, /Users/user name/Pictures/jAlbum. Whenever you select ‘New Album Project...’ from the File menu, then a new folder, named as your Album name, is created in the ‘My Albums location’.

Illegal characters Default=#$%&*"/\:;?=|~


Illegal characters are those that are not allowed in file or folder names, generally these will be characters that your operating system does not allow, or are not valid in URLs. If you want to include specific characters just add them to the end of the default set. You can’t use those characters when creating or renaming folders and files in your albums, but if you add files that have such characters they will have a small yellow warning triangle, to alert you that they should not be used, see figure to the left.

Clean old output files on make all Default=true

This setting will remove files from within the 'res' folder that are no longer required with the current configuration, maybe because of a change to the settings or a change of skin.

Synchronise output directory Default=true

If selected then changes within jAlbum’s explore window pane will be reflected immediately in the output directory. For example, deleting a folder from the explore window pane will remove the equivalent folder in the output directory.

Use hard links Default=false


When selected, if originals are included in your album, instead of copying those files to your album folder a 'hard link' is used. In simple terms this will save disk space by not making copies of your originals. In addition to original files it does the same with resource files written to the album folder. The default setting is off.

The savings in disc space is potentially high, for example instead of duplicating, say, 400MB of data only about 10MB of disc space will be used in the album.

Hard links are supported on most modern file systems like Mac OS and NTFS, but only works within a file system. You can't easily tell a hard link from an ordinary file. A "hard link" is not depending on the original file either (like soft links/aliases). They are technically two file entries pointing to the same file data. Inspect the disk usage for the relevant file system to see their effect or use "Album Information" (works on Mac and Linux). You can change copies to hard links for existing album projects by issuing a "Make all" operation. If supported, you should notice that the available disk space on that file system goes up. It's only a "Make all" operation that allows you to switch from copies to hard links and vice versa. Just hitting "Make album" will leave existing files untouched.

If you set jAlbum's Logging level to "FINE" under Preferences and then issue a "Make all" operation, jAlbum will inform you if it was able to create hard links. This information is printed to jAlbum's system console window (F7).

Warning: There is a potential for data loss: If you make an album with hard links to originals and then make the same album in an older version of jAlbum (a make all operation or any edit to the file), then your originals will be truncated to 0 bytes length. The impact is limited by jAlbum's default behavior to copy files to the album project and not link to them.

Cache thumbnails Default=true

Speed up the thumbnail display by cacheing local thumbnail files for images that lacks embedded thumbnails.

Keep track of files copied from memory cards Default=true

If selected jAlbum will store a small database file on each memory card so that it can track which images have already been used with jAlbum. The database file is called jalbum-copied-files.db, it is created when a card is inserted with jAlbum running and a file is copied from the camera’s image directory.

Include the lifeboat file Default=true

This will upload a ‘lifeboat’ zip file containing your project directory structure, settings file and template pages amongst other things. This will allow you to recreate most of the project, should your original files be lost or damaged. You still need to backup your original images to be able to recover a complete project.


Use layout hints Default=true

Allow skins to modify your album settings. This applies to skins that supply a hints.jap file with recommended settings, for example the rows and columns as set in Settings, Pages, Thumbnail layout.

Restore previous settings Default=true

This applies to skins that supply a hints.jap file and when ‘Use layout hints’ is selected. This ensures that if you have changed the rows and columns, and then change to another skin, with a hint for rows and columns, the values you set are used and not those supplied with the hints.jap of the newly selected skin.

Image editing

Write xmp metadata to files Default=true

This will write comments, keywords etc. to the images in your project. Before writing though, it will read any existing metadata and then write out the new data, ensuring existing information remains. jAlbum can also read the xmp data, see jAlbum/Settings/Advanced.

Writing xmp metadata is the only jAlbum operation that changes you original images


These settings are only relevant if you use jAlbum to upload your albums.


After publishing Default=open published album

Decide what jAlbum should do after the album has been published, you can 'open published album' or 'do nothing'. Open published album is the default setting and will open the album that you have published in an external browser.

Max simultaneous transfers Default=number of processor cores

The higher the number selected, the faster the upload will generally be, If you have problems connecting or uploading, try lowering this setting to 2 for example.

Advanced options

Use zip streaming when available Default=true

Click on the little right facing triangle to reveal a zip streaming option. If selected then the whole album will be zipped up and transferred to your host as a single file. This will speed up transfer times.


Encrypt manifest file Default=false

Click on the little right facing triangle to reveal an encrypt manifest file option. Determined and technically savvy users could list your album's files by examining the manifest file. If you are really concerned about users digging into your album’s contents then turn this setting on and enter a password for the encryption algorithm. Make sure you remember the password!



Index album objects Default=true

Search results will include all album objects, whose filename matches the search term, that are within the current directory or its subdirectories.

Index metadata Default=true

Search results will include all album objects whose metadata, such as title, comment or keyword, matches that of the search term and are within the current directory or its subdirectories.



Web proxy settings Default=none

If your local network requires the use of a "proxy server" for outgoing web access, you can enter the proxy server details here, if you don’t know them you will need to contact the person in charge of your local network.

Use watchdog Default=false

If selected a file named 'thread-dump.txt' is created whenever jAlbum's user interface hangs for twenty seconds or more. The file is written to the 'Configuration' directory, open that directory with SHIFT+C+Cmd/Ctrl or Menu/Tools/Open directories/Config directory.

Compatibility mode Default=false

If checked, makes some older skins run but at the expense of memory usage. Keep deselected. Older skins that requires this mode can have compatibility mode checked on a skin basis instead (See Tools->Developer->Edit skin properties).

Attempt to use native file dialogs Default=true

When selected adding files jAlbum will try to use the OS file chooser dialog, if it can’t, or if this option is deselected, then a simplified file chooser dialog is used. Navigating your own folders to find files is easier using the native file dialog. This setting requires jAlbum to be restarted to take effect.

Unify image color model to BGR or ABGR Default=true

If BGR/ABGR is selected compatibility with certain image filters is improved, it will however result in jAlbum requiring more memory to operate.

Video support Default=true

This will allow jAlbum to download and install "ffmpeg" software inside jAlbum's config folder. to reprocess videos to a standard mp4 format. The Advanced tab has a list of supported video formats. Turn this setting off if you don’t want jAlbum to reprocess your videos. Note, how videos are supported varies on a skin by skin basis, since not all skins support videos.

Supported video formats Default=3g2, 3gp, 4xm, a64, amr, anm, apc, applehttp, asf, asf_stream, avi, bethsoftvid, bink, bit, bmv, c93, cavsvideo, cdxl, dfa, dirac, dnxhd, dsicin, dv, dvd, dxa, ea, ea_cdata, eac3, f32be, f32le, f4v, f64be, f64le, ffm, film_cpk, filmstrip, flac, flic, flv, g722, g723_1, g729, gsm, gxf, h261, h263, h264, hls, idcin, idf, iff, ilbc, image2, image2pipe, ingenient, ipmovie, ipod, ismv, iss, iv8, ivf, jv, latm, lavfi, lmlm4, lxf, m2ts, m4v, matroska, mgsts, mj2, mjpeg, mlp, mm, mmf, mov, mp4, mpeg, mpeg1video, mpeg2video, mpegts, mpegtsraw, mpegvideo, mpg, mpjpeg, msnwctcp, mt2s, mts, mtv, mulaw, mvi, mxf, mxf_d10, mxg, nc, nsv, null, nut, nuv, ogg, paf, pmp, psp, psxstr, pva, qcp, qt, r3d, rawvideo, rcv, rl2, rm, roq, rpl, rso, rtp, rtsp, s16be, s16le, s24be, s24le, s32be, s32le, s8, sdp, segment, shn, siff, smjpeg, smk, smoothstreaming, smush, sol, sox, spdif, svcd, thp, tiertexseq, tmv, truehd, tty, txd, u16be, u16le, u24be, u24le, u32be, u32le, u8, vc1, vc1test, vcd, vmd, vob, voc, vqf, w64, wc3movie, webm, wmv, wsvqa, wtv, wv, xa, xmv, yop, yuv4mpegpipe

This is a list of video file types that are supported by the "ffmpeg" video processor, if you have a video that is of a type not listed, but you know ffmpeg supports it, then add the file extension to this list.