What is a perpetual calendar & how to use it when organizing photos.

A perpetual calendar, sometimes called a birthday calendar, is a calendar that includes all 12 months of the year, and all the days of the month, but there are no weekdays.

Because there are no weekdays, the calendar can be used forever – perpetually.  The idea is to use each numbered line to record the birthdays of your family and friends.  It can be an “at a glance” view of who you need to send a card or buy a gift for each month.

It can also be used to record other annual events like anniversaries, and holidays that are date driven.

I use a perpetual calendar for all the originally intended purposes as well as using it to help me organize photos.

After the name of each person, I include 2 additional pieces of information – a code name and their birth year. I try to keep the code names as short as possible.

When I’m organizing photos on the computer I use the code name in the “name” of each photo.  I try to keep the code name short for 3 reasons

  1. Character space is limited in a photo name.
  2. Less keystrokes are easier – the easier things are, the more likely they’ll get done.
  3. Less keystrokes means less opportunity for error.  Your computer won’t know if you misspelled Maxfield, with Mxfield. When you try search, Maxfield anything that is misspelled won’t show up in the search.

I also add notes to the calendar for other things that occur each year, even though the days may not always be the same.  SB for Spring Break is an example.  For the 12-14 years my kids were in school, we always had a Spring Break, but the dates varied.  I use the code SB for all or our Spring Break photos. You can use the same code for holidays that don’t happen on a set day, Mother’s Day is the 2nd Sunday in May – There’s a note at the top of the May calendar, Mother’s Day = Mday.

Of course, annual holidays are also noted on the calendar.  We all know on which days Valentine’s Day, St. Pat’s and Christmas fall.

I use the notation on the perpetual calendar to remind myself of the codes I use for each day.  Again, consistency is important for searching for photos on your computer.  If you want to see all of the Valentine’s Day pictures you have, typing in Vday will bring them all up.

Date Codes

I know I’ve talked about this before, but the way you code the dates in your photo names is important for sorting things chronologically as well as finding things using the search functions.   Stay consistent and start with the year first.  Follow the year by a 2 digit month and a 2 digit day. 20190122 – January 22, 2019.  No dots, no slashes, no dashes.  When you code this way,  you can sort in chronological order and you can also sort by date.  I have this method noted on the back of my calendar.

20181223, Mom, Max, LT, India, Camel, Xmas trip

20181223, Mom, Max, LT, India, Camel, Xmas trip

The name of this photo (shown above) covers most of the things I would ever search for when I was trying to find it.  This is really specific and I wouldn’t do this for every photo from the trip.  This is because I try to keep things simple so I’ll get them done. In this situation, if I was naming a bunch of photos, which I originally did, I would name them all at one time  – 201812123, India.

I think that about covers it.  I would definitely recommend starting a perpetual calendar for keeping track of photo codes, birthdays and more.  You can purchase one online, or you can create your own using a simple excel spreadsheet.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  If you have other questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comment box below.

Happy Crafting!

Totally-Tiffany signature T.

5 Responses to What is a perpetual calendar & how to use it when organizing photos.

  1. Do the codes have to have commas between them to work? For example:


    The first numbers are the date in the format you suggested. Then I have codes for: XMAS DE CV

    Does it need to be named like this:

    20181225, XMAS, DE, CV ?

    Thank you!

    • Hmmm…I’ve actually never tried it without the commas. Try entering XMAS in the search box, if it pulls up the photos with that in the code it’s fine. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to add the commas. T.

    • I’m sorry to say, I don’t think so. Photos are treated the same as all other types of files, when it comes to naming and renaming. T.

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