• Price When Reviewed: £129 plus VAT (Win), £139 plus VAT (Mac)

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Extensis says that Portfolio 6 is a complete rewrite of its popular asset-management program. It makes the cataloguing and tracking of image and document files easier than before, by operating similarly to the way Mac and Windows users organize desktop files and folders. The user interface has been tweaked with dockable palettes and new toolbars. Custom views, such as thumbnail borders, colours and fonts can be saved and re-applied. Portfolio 6 is available for Windows or Mac OS 9. When the Mac OS X upgrade is released in the summer, it will be free to registered users. There’s also Portfolio 6 Server, for £1,799. Versions are also available for use with SQL Server or Oracle databases, supporting unlimited files. Portfolio handles most popular graphic or document formats – including QuarkXPress, PDF, Word, and Office documents – complete with thumbnail previews. Portfolio 6 captures EXIF data from digital-camera files, or it can extract embedded keywords from Photoshop and other image files. The really new aspect of Portfolio’s asset management is FolderSync. If a monitored folder’s contents are modified, this is flagged up in Portfolio so you’re prompted to re-synchronize it with the database. Portfolio then re-scans the whole thing, not just modified files. If there are hundreds or thousands of files there’s a lengthy wait, though it does scan in background mode. It’s possible to copy, move, rename or delete asset files on your disks while staying within Portfolio 6 – you don’t have to exit to the desktop. Conversely, control-clicking (Mac) or right-clicking (Windows) automatically catalogues any folder, file or volume from the desktop into Portfolio. An automatic move or copy option allows files to be placed in a new directory as they are catalogued. You can also set up hot folders, where any file dragged into them is automatically entered into a category of your choice. You can now define keywords and custom data, such as client names, in advance and assign them to whole groups of assets as they are created or copied. Keyword lists can be imported from text files. Also new is Portfolio Express, a floating palette that displays thumbnails from all catalogues. This can be set to open when you boot up, or from a hotkey. It lets you drag thumbnails straight into QuarkXPress or Word (Mac only), which loads the original image into the document. If you need to transfer a group of assets to, say, another disk or burn them to CD, Portfolio’s new collection feature lets you do this while simultaneously renaming them. A runtime Portfolio viewer can be added to distributed collections, and search categories can be set up in advance and they can be added as defaults. Sets of thumbnails can be output as QuickTime slideshows. The basic version can create static HTML Web pages with image thumbnails. Registered users can use the PortWeb Web server plug-in that can generate dynamic Web pages to reflect changes in catalogues. This is a useful upgrade that keeps Portfolio in the front row of affordable asset-management programs – alongside Canto Cumulus. The single-user version is fine for an individual photographer, but the server version is better for a medium-sized studio.