Ponga Help

How to Get Around (or What Do You Call Things in Ponga?)

A quick glossary of common terms related to Ponga pictures and how the words are used for the purposes of documentation.

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If you have any questions about these terms or spot any inconsistencies, please drop us a note in the chatbot or email us at support@ponga.com. We’ll see if we can’t fix it.

Everyone absorbs information in their own way. Some of you might find it helpful to review this terminology list as a way to better understand the articles in our support center.

Ponga Picture

An individual picture including all of the selections, metadata, apps, and other information associated created by Ponga.

Ponga Albums

Individual Ponga pictures can be collected into albums for convenience. You may notice that the link for an album refers to /sets. It's the same thing. Currently, you can't create a set of, or otherwise nest albums. (We do think that's a good idea, though! 🧐)


An image might describe any of a variety of file types that can be uploaded to Ponga in order to create a Ponga picture. An image might be a photograph, a scan, or an illustration. As long as it is in a file format support by Ponga, you're welcome to add it to your account. For a list of supported file types, see What image file types does Ponga support?


The toolbar is the floating panel on the far left that includes controls. It is always visible in a picture.

  • Zoom bar allows you to increase or decrease the magnification of a picture. You have six levels of magnification and you can always control them from the zoom bar.
  • Navigate allows you to toggle between select and navigating in a picture. By default, your mouse is in navigate mode until you start making a selection and it automatically pops back into navigating mode as soon as your selection is complete. This navigate tool is handy if you've made a selection, but then changed your mind.
  • Select is a tool you'll use frequently to make selections in a picture. To add detail to a Ponga picture, you simply click on the tag or selection tool in the toolbar and select the point or area of the picture you’re interested in. This starts to create a rectangular selection area, drag up and to the left or down and to the right to enlarge the selection area.
  • Show/Hide tool gives you an easy toggle to hide the selection boxes to see the original picture.

Note on Zoom: Depending on the kind of keyboard, mouse, and browser your using and the settings, you may also be able to zoom in using two-finger control on your mouse. Note that this kind of zoom can be hard to control, especially on a very high-resolution image. (You might want to wear a helmet as a precaution.)

Tag or Selection

The area selected with the select tool is a selection or sometimes called a tag. When you've made a selection, the sidebar opens where you can post comments, add links, attached images, or recordings. When you upload pictures, faces are detected for you. When you name a person in the gallery, Ponga will put selections around their face in every picture they appear. A comment will automatically be added, attributed to you and include the face you named in the gallery.  Every face of that person in every picture that includes them, will have a selection box around their face.


After entering details to a Ponga picture using the selector, the most recent of those details will appear to pop up when you move your mouse over a selector on the picture. This action is called a mouseover and pop-up details is called a preview.


When you upload an image, Ponga takes the image file title and converts it into the title for a picture making sensible changes. For example, "_" becomes a space, and Title Case is added so that "george_slaying_dragons.jpg" becomes "George Slaying Dragons."


In most cases, this will be a blank field at first. You add to it just by clicking in that area and typing. You can include up to about 1,000 characters in this field so feel free to use it for jotting notes and external links.

Canvas or Viewport

The canvas is the visible area of the Ponga picture in the browser window. Using the zoom functions in the toolbar at left, you can tap on the "navigate" tool to move around the canvas. Your cursor turns into a hand that allows you to move the picture around. A white area may appear on the outside edges of the image.

Note that in a very low-resolution image, the Ponga picture may not fill the entire canvas, even when viewed at the lowest magnification.


The sidebar is the area that pops out from the right side of a Ponga picture when you click on a selection. In the sidebar, you can scroll through all of the comments, recordings, embedded media, and more that make up the content of a selection. Notice that each comment includes the author of the comment and a timestamp when it was made.


Items generally refer to the item selected in a picture. For example, in the screenshot above, a selection is made around a couple of items: an open book and a picture.  

Albums or Sets

Multiple Ponga pictures can be grouped into albums for convenience. Albums are automatically created for people named in the gallery, or they might be created by members for their own convenience to specifically to share as a cohesive group or with a specific group of people. Albums might also be called sets. Currently, you cannot nest one album inside of another. You can, however, have one picture in multiple albums.

Library of All Pictures

This refers to the top-level navigation or home view where you can see all of the pictures and sets that you’ve created as well as those that have been shared with you.

Getting Started

Using Ponga to explore your own photos has you cycling through four basic steps:

  • Add Images: Upload in batches to preserve the context of occasions
  • Add Names: Use the Gallery to put names to faces.
  • Add Details: Point out details and tell the hidden stories.
  • Add Family: Bring loved ones into the conversation.

Typically, you'll do this in cycles as digital versions of prints, slides, and photos of events are available. Once Ponga has been "introduced" to a person's face and you've matched it with a name in the Gallery, it gets easier and easier to add more pictures of that person. Names are added automatically as the face matches a face previously named. That gets you to the "good part" more quickly where you can add stories and use the pictures to reconnect with family.

A great place to get started is in our series of Getting Started articles in our Help Center. You'll also find videos and tours to welcome you as you create your account and get started in our Ponga Academy.

Last updated:
March 14, 2023
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