Understanding PSPA/PSPI Portrait Files

Your school photographer will provide you with a disk, a USB, or a downloadable link which will include all portrait images and data files. The files must be in a PSPA or PSPI format. This file formatting is an industry standard for professional school photographers in North America.

The TreeRing Portrait Importer reads the files to import all of the portraits to the yearbook sorted by grade, teacher, or group. If the files are not correctly formatted with PSPA or PSPI the Portrait Importer will either not import the portraits at all or not import them in the correct order.

Understanding PSPA/PSPI Portrait Files

These two files must be included in the portrait files:

Images File: 

The Images File contains the portraits of the students and staff. Each image needs to be uniquely named using only upper/lower case letters, numbers 0-9, and special characters _ (underscore) or - (dash). The images must be saved as JPG or JPEG and the image size should be 640 x 800 pixels (.8 aspect ratio), and 300 dpi.

Index.txt File:

The Index.txt File is a data file that contains all of the information needed to pair up with each portrait image for sorting and displaying in the yearbook.

The Index.txt File must be formatted in the correct order (listed below). If it is not formatted correctly you will not be able to use the Portrait Importer or it will import the photos to the wrong location in the yearbook.

The Index.txt File can be created in a spreadsheet program (Excel or Google Sheets) and then saved as Tab Delimited Text. Each column in the spreadsheet must follow this structure and field order:

Structure of an Index File

Column A:  Volume Name - Root folder name which contains all of the images and data files.  Required

Column B:  Image Folder - Image folder name which contains the images.  Required

Column C:  Image File Name - The unique name for each portrait (including file extension). The image name in the Index File must match the image name in the Images File.  Required

Column D:  Grade - The grade for the students.  Required if portrait pages should be sorted by grade

Column E:  Last Name - The last name of the student/staff.  Required

Column F:  First Name - The first name of the student/staff.   Required

Column G:  Homeroom - Name/number of student's designated classroom.   Rarely used and column can be left blank.

Column H:  Period - Name/number of student's designated class period.  Rarely used and column can be left blank.

Column I:  Teacher Name - Student's teacher.  Required if portrait pages should be sorted by teacher

Column J:  Track - Special designation for students.  Rarely used and column can be left blank.

This shows how an Index File looks as a spreadsheet:


Important:  Header names for the columns should not be used when formatting the Index File. In the example above, row number 1 needs to be deleted before saving the spreadsheet.

This shows how the Image Folders will look in the portrait files. The folder names must match the names in Column B in the Index File.


When you click on an Image Folder you will see the portrait images.  The image name for each portrait image must match the Image File Name in Column C in the Index File.


When saving the spreadsheet the File Name must be Index and the File Type must be Text (Tab delimited).


If it is determined that the portrait files are not formatted properly, contact your school photographer. Some school photographers are not associated with the Professional School & Sports Photographers International and are not familiar with the PSPA/PSPI requirements. The photographer does not have to be a part of the association to format portrait files correctly.  They just need to follow the format that the PSPA/PSPI has defined and has been explained in this article.

You can share the information in this article with your photographer and/or provide this link:

View a PDF of the PSPA/PSPI Guidelines




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