No sharing allowed

Create a digital photo album, but you'll need to upgrade to share your collections.

FlipAlbum Standard allows users to organize their pictures into realistic digital photo albums, but there's a learning curve involved and some of the more useful features aren't available until you pay for an upgrade.

FlipAlbum's interface is fairly plain and most of the space is dedicated to viewing and creating albums. Before you can get started, though, you'll need to supply your name and e-mail address and wait for a key to be sent to you. Once that's taken care of, we suggest you use the Quick Start wizard. The wizard makes it easy to choose a folder of images, select a layout, and choose a background theme. If you prefer to skip the Wizard, be prepared to spend some time reading the Help file.

Users can do everything from adding multimedia and music files to making annotations on the photos, but some of the options are not as intuitive as they could be. It took us longer than expected to figure out how to insert a photo into the album, which should be one of the program's most basic and obvious functions. But the Help file and a bit of fiddling should have users comfortable with the interface relatively quickly. We were a little disappointed to find only seven background themes on offer, but according to the Help file, the paid version includes more options.

FlipAlbum Standard is free, but the one major drawback of the free version is the inability to share photos. Users must upgrade if they want to e-mail albums, upload them to a Web site, or burn them to a CD. This limits the program's usefulness. But if you're looking for a free program to organize your photos and don't mind spending some time learning the program's ins and outs, FlipAlbum Standard gets the job done.

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