What is Tropy?
Tropy is free, open-source software that allows you to organize and describe photographs of research material. Once you have imported your photos into Tropy, you can combine photos into items (e.g., photos of the three pages of a letter into a single item), and group photos into lists. You can also describe the content of a photograph. Tropy uses customizable metadata templates with multiple fields for different properties of the content of your photo, for example, title, date, author, box, folder, collection, archive. You can enter information in the template for an individual photo or select multiple photos and add or edit information to them in bulk. Tropy also lets you tag photos. You can also add one or more notes to a photo; a note could be a transcription of a document. A search function lets you find material in your photos, using metadata, tags, and notes.
- Tropy is not photo editing software (e.g., Photoshop). It offers only basic editing functions (rotate, crop, zoom) sufficient to allow you to make the content of a photo legible.
- Tropy is not a citation manager (e.g., Zotero). It does not capture metadata from online catalogs or finding aids. It does not generate citations for use in word-processing software.
- Tropy is not a platform for writing up your research (e.g., DEVONthink). While it does allow you to take notes attached to photos, you cannot use it to create any other kind of document.
- Tropy is not a platform for presenting your research online (e.g., Omeka). It operates on your personal computer, not on a server. You can export your projects to JSON-LD.
Preparing to use Tropy
Where are your photos?
To organize and describe your photos, you need to import them into Tropy. The first step in using Tropy is to identify where on your computer those photos are stored---identify the folder and how to get to it from your desktop.
Are your photos in the format required by Tropy?
Tropy currently works with only JPG (.jpg/.jpeg) or PNG (.png) files. It does not work with any other image files such as .tiff or .gif. You may need to convert your photos to JPG in order to use Tropy.
Tropy also does not work with any non-image format files such as PDF. There are many online conversion tools to create JPGs from your PDFs or other image files.
To use Tropy, you need to download a copy of the software from the Download page at tropy.org. Tropy is free software; there is no cost to download or use it. Tropy is available for macOS, Windows, and Linux. Choose the version for your operating system; once Tropy has downloaded, open it and follow the prompts to install it on your computer.
Watch this quick overview of Tropy's functions.