Burn iPhoto images without copying

iPhoto has a handy built-in image burning feature—just select an album or a bunch of photos and click the Burn button. But what if you want to combine some iPhoto images with other files, like Word documents, audio files, and movie clips? The obvious solution is to use the Finder’s Burn Folder feature. In the Finder, select File -> New Burn Folder, then drag the images you’d like to burn from iPhoto into the new Burn Folder. In the Finder, drag in the Word documents, audio files, movie clips, and whatever else you want to burn. Click the Burn button once you’ve assembled everything and you’re done.

There’s only one small problem with this method—and I’ll admit it’s a small problem: when you drag an image from iPhoto into the Burn Folder, the Finder creates a copy of the image. When you drag in items from other Finder windows, however, the Finder is smart and only creates an alias to the original file. Since you’re duplicating photos, you’re temporarily losing some disk space, and a ‘copy file’ operation takes longer than a ‘create alias’ operation. Now, in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a big problem, as you’ll delete the Burn Folder when you’re done making your CD or DVD. But if you like keeping every speck of free disk space truly free, and you’re the kind of person who counts the half-seconds in every second, then here’s the solution to this issue…

After you start dragging the images from iPhoto, but before you drop them into the Burn Folder, hold down the Command and Option keys. Keep holding them down until you drop the images into the Burn Folder. When you do drop the images, the Finder will create aliases to the originals, instead of copying them. (You can tell they’re aliases by the small arrow in the lower left-hand corner of the icon.) Voila, no more wasted disk space, and you can use those precious seconds you’ve saved from the copy operation to play just a bit more Quake 4.

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