Graphic Workshop Professional‘s numerous thumbnail modes can be a bit overwhelming when you first boot up the software, or if you enable one of the more obscure ones accidentally and you subsequently can’t remember how to turn the beast off.
Here’s a quick overview.
In order to display thumbnails, the thumbnail images have to be stored somewhere. Because there are lot of them, the precise nature of “somewhere” is user-selectable.
The default thumbnail mode, and the oldest one, stores each thumbnail image in a separate file on your hard drive, called a THN file. If you have Graphic Workshop create a thumbnail for a graphic called MyLeftFoot.jpg, the thumbnail will reside in MyLeftFoot.thn, in the same folder as MyLeftFoot.jpg.
This approach to managing thumbnails has the advantage of being very fast. It also allows key words and comments to be associated with each graphic. It does have a downside, however, in that it creates a lot of additional files, albeit very small ones.
A second approach is to have all your thumbnails stored in a common database. This is useful for keeping track of thumbnails for graphics on CD-ROMs, for example. It doesn’t require the generation of individual THN files, but it’s somewhat slower than the individual file system. You can enable this option through the Thumbnail Database option of the Graphic Workshop Thumbnail menu.
For practical purposes, the thumbnail database is rarely used.
By default, Graphic Workshop will create new thumbnails whenever it generates a file, such as when it converts between formats. You can disable this behavior in the Setup dialog – turn off Autocreate Thumbnails in the Files tab of the Setup dialog if you’d rather it didn’t do this.
You can manually add thumbnails to selected graphics in a Graphic Workshop browser window by selecting the files graphics to be thumbnailed and then selecting Add Thumbnails from the Thumbnail menu.
Hold down the Alt key and click on the blue Select All button in the tool bar to add thumbnails to all the un-thumbnailed graphics in your current browser window.
If you right-click in a Graphic Workshop browser window, you’ll find two more useful thumbnail options. Enable Update Thumbnails, and Graphic Workshop will automatically create thumbnails when the browser window in question finds itself looking at a folder with one or more graphics having no thumbnails.
If you enable Virtual Thumbnails, Graphic Workshop will treat the thumbnails in the browser window in question entirely differently than the thumbnail modes discussed previously. It will build a thumbnail for each graphic in your folder in real time, storing nothing on disk. This virtual thumbnail mode means that your graphics will provide their own thumbnails – it’s slick, but quite a bit slower than stored thumbnails, especially for folders with lots of large images.