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Using Microsoft Labs Autocollage

Autocollage is a low-cost utility and it can save you money

Here’s an interesting benefit from a ‘Playing for Success Centre’ –
Not only do children, parents and teachers love it .. it’s saved us several hundred pounds worth of toner this term alone!

For a free copy, simply join the UK Partners in Learning Network – this is a network facilitated by Microsoft and showcases ground breaking ideas, tips and some very useul forums. Hopefully these  notes will help you to achieve some great results with this package ..

When you’ve joined the Partners in Learning Network, click on the Resources tab – near the top of the screen

Partners in Learning Banner Page

On the resources screen, scroll down the screen until you see the autocollage entry

Click on the title line, to see this screen –


Then click the ‘Download your copy’ , and follow the instructions – to either run (which will install Autocollage directly to your computer) or save to allow you to install it later.

During installation, the software will check that your PC has the correct version of the .NET framework support programme. If your PC doesn’t have this, then it will be installed for you. (Please bear in mind that this is a fairly large file, and can be slow on a poor connection – you may wish to install a cup of .TEA while you’re waiting!).

I’ve created a pdf using the help notes in the programme – the pdf can be downloaded from here –

autocollage user manual

To start using Autocollage, just click on the snappily titled icon

When you click or double click the icon, you’re presented with the Autocollage programme..

The program looks like this


Your activity takes place in the right hand Actions pane ..

A VERY handy Hint ..

Autocollage opens in the folder which you last used, and as it opens it reviews the pictures in your last used folder. With a slow(ish) PC and a lot(ish) of images, you can be hit with quite a delay when you open the package. So – when you use Autocollage, finish your session by using a folder with few images in. The screenshot is from my own PC, so you can see that’s what I do.
The following table will help to explain what the icons on the menu do.

Icon Description
  When you’ve set your various options use this to ceate a collage.
  Save the autocollage in the collage window – normally to the autocollages folder in the ‘my pictures’ folder under ‘my documents’
  Automatically send the collage using Outlook or Outlook Express. For web based email, save the picture, then email it as an attachment
  Automatically sets the collage on display as your desktop background. If you are going to do this, make sure the resolution is correct (in options) before doing so.
  Used to indicate how many pictures from the current collection you wish to use
  See below
  Browse saved autocollages – only available after one or more collages saved to default location
  Let’s you decide which folder to use – the number in brackets is the number of images in that folder.
  Autocollage Help


When you run autocollage it takes the images in your input folder uses your  input options to create the autocollage based on your output options. In general, autocollage creates random collages, and tries to never obscure faces.

There are extensive notes in the pdf (see above) which show you how to set options for ‘Display Ranking’ and ‘Manual Ranking’.  It’s important to note that if you have used ranking on your pictures in the collage, you need to press the Esc key to be able to modify them.

To show autocollage’s randomness here are some examples, using the same 7 pictures!