jAlbum / Preferences

Preferences are settings that affect the behavior of the program. They don't affect the resulting album (the language and lifeboat file preferences being the exception). Preferences are global, i.e. they don't apply to a specific album or 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.




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. jAlbum supports thirty two languages, not including variations in languages.

Date format

Default=d MMM y, HH:mm:ss

Used by various parts of jAlbum's UI, for example album information and image information tool-tips. The default format, with the dropdown menu left blank, is,, for example 23 Jan 2020, 20:18:30. If you change the format the example date shown will be updated to reflect the new pattern used. There is a link to Oracle's Simple Date Format page.

Look and feel


The default can be changed to FlatDark, FlatLight, One Dark, jAlbum Dark or to match your computer’s operating system e.g. Mac OS, Windows etc. If you hold down the 'Alt/Opt' key, when selecting a look & feel, you will also be able to select legacy choices of Metal, Nimbus, CDE/Motif. You can also add custom looks, such as those available from JetBrains.com Having identified a look you like, you need to scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the 'source code' link. Once there click on the 'src/main/resources' link, then look for a '.json' file, like 'gruvbox_light_soft.theme.json'. Download that file. Open jAlbum's configuration directory (SHIF + CMD/Cntrl + C) and ensure there is a 'themes' folder. Add the .json file to the themes folder, quit and restart jAlbum, the theme will now show up in the dropdown menu.

Font size


Sets the font size for jAlbum's user interface.

Logging level


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.

jAlbum 24 to 28.1 only For debugging use only! Setting the level to FINEST and force-remake an album with image variants used will print the name of the variant images onto them. This helps you see what image is being loaded.

Recent Projects


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


Index album objects


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

Index metadata


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.

Image editing

Write xmp metadata to files


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

Check for updates


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


Warn before performing file deletion and similar risky tasks.

Remember last window position and size


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.

Show tip of the day


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

Display thumbnails in file chooser


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.

Background mode


If checked then 'Make' and 'Uploading' operations are performed in the background, so other projects can be worked on simultaneously.

Close progress dialog when done


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, this setting is inactive only if 'External browser' is selected in 'Preview type', see above for available choices.

Highlight misspelled words


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.

Show "Open HTML Editor" button


Shows the HTML Editor icon when comment/description or other enabled text areas are active for editing. If unselected the HTML editor button is not displayed when you edit text in fields, such as Title and Comment. To open the HTML editor you will need to use the control/right click popup menu.



When adding files


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.



Choose standard (160px) or high quality (320px) thumbnails for the explorer view.

Cache thumbnails


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

Remember last selected object


jAlbum will remember the last object that was selected when it is quit, so reopening that project will allow you to continue from where you left off last time.

Scroll speed

Mouse scroll wheel/trackpad tracking speed, for scrolling through the explore view thumbnails, can be set independently of the OS' speed settings. This lets you configure the movement through objects to best suit your needs based on the display device being used.

Details view fields

Default=Filename, Title and Comment.

Affects the displayed information in explore mode when Details view is selected. Drag fields from the 'Available' set to the 'Chosen' set, dropping them to fit in the order required, to have them displayed. You can also drag the chosen fields to arrange them in the your desired order. If details view is active the fields will appear straight away, so you can see how it looks, if happy click OK to keep the change or cancel to revert to the previous set of fields. Use the 'Reset' button to return to the default set of Filename, Title and Comment.



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 Project...’ from the File menu, then a new folder, named as your project 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 album 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.

Illegal characters



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. To restore the default set of characters just click the 'Restore' button to the right.

Clean old ‘res’ files on make album


This setting will remove files from within the project’s '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


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.

Include the lifeboat file


This will upload a ‘lifeboat’ zip file, to your album’s root directory, 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.

Save backups of projects (settings)


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 project settings file. The backup settings file is updated after a setting has been changed and a 'Make' operation has been initiated.

Save project on Make Album


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

Warning: If you also have save 'backups of 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.

Use hard links



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 projects by issuing a "Force Remake" operation. If supported, you should notice that the available disk space on that file system goes up. It's only a "Force Remake" 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 "Force Remake" operation, jAlbum will inform you if it was able to create hard links. This information is printed to jAlbum's system console window (F7).


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 ‘Force Remake’ 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 project and not link to them.

Compress audio clips


If selected, audio clips that are attached to images are processed to reduce their file size. This usually does not cause any loss of audio quality.


Use layout hints


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. Hints are respected on users selecting a skin but not on loading an existing project.

Restore previous settings


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.




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

Note, this built-in browser is not a full-featured browser - like Chrome or Firefox - therefore some functionality or plugins might not present. Notably there's no OpenGL support - which is required for the 3D viewer and no PDF viewer plugin either. If you find something odd in the preview, you might want to check the page in a normal browser too, (although some skins use JSON database need to be viewed from a server to work with local albums).


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.


Opens the preview within the applications 'explore' pane.


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.


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


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.


Manifest file options. You can read more about the manifest file here

Encrypt manifest file


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.

Manifest password

If encrypting the manifest file enter a password for the encryption algorithm. Make sure you remember the password, it cannot be recovered or reset!



Web proxy settings


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.

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.

Background tasks



Notifications choice of normal, discrete or off

Decide if, and what, type of notifications to show when background tasks complete.

Use watchdog


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.

Video support


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. Most current skins support videos - in those skins that don't, videos will be ignored or automatically excluded. Therefore, there is virtually never a reason to turn off video support with this setting. Doing so will produce badly damaged albums in most current skins, if the project includes any 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, mkv, 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.

Unify image color model to BGR or ABGR


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

Compatibility mode


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


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. This applies to Mac OS's only.