Understanding Portrait PSPA File Format

Modified on Mon, 19 Feb at 9:35 AM

Your school photographer will supply a disk, USB, or a download link containing all student portrait images and data (PSPA file). This essential file enables you to effortlessly integrate student portraits into the yearbook, ensuring a quick process and stunning results with minimal effort.


Creating the PSPA Dataset: The Process Explained - Before photo day, the school provides the photographer with a list of students and staff (spreadsheet file), organized by grade and class. Each person receives a barcode slip on photo day, scanned before their photo is taken. This barcode, linked to the school roster, automatically attaches each photo to the corresponding individual's details, like name and grade.

Understanding the PSPA File Format Structure

Image File Specifications

Each image file contains the portraits of students and staff. Each image has a unique name. The image file format is JPG, with a minimum dimensions of 640 x 800 pixels (0.8 aspect ratio) to print correctly at 300 DPI.

File Structure

The provided media (USB key, zip file, file cloud storage) will contain a  top-level folder under which all files and structures will be contained. The top-level folder should follow the naming structures like this:


MASTER.TXT [optional]

README.TXT [strongly recommended]

FOLDERx [use an arbitrary name but must be unique]

IMAGEx [use unique names for each image]











Index.txt File Overview:

The Index.txt file (standard UTF-8 or ASCII) is required to match each portrait with its corresponding data for organization and display in the yearbook. It must be correctly formatted as outlined below to ensure compatibility with the Portrait Importer and accurate photo placement in the yearbook.

A standard PSPA database includes the following information -  some of it is mandatory,  some is very important, and some is not required.

  1. Volume name - for media or top level folder name is an arbitrary name.
  2. Image Folder - The folder holding the images is located directly under the root volume .
  3. Image File Name - The file name for an image, with extension .
  4. Grade - - The grade data assigned to the individual, if applicable. Example: “4”
  5. Last Name - The individual’s last name. Example: “Smith”.
  6. First Name - The individual’s first name. Example: “John”.
  7. Home room - – An identifier for the individual’s home room. Example: “AA” .
  8. Period - An identifier for the individual’s period. Example: “6” .
  9. Teacher Name - The name or identifier for the individual’s teacher. Example: “Jones”. 
  10. Track - The name or identifier for the individual’s track.
  11. Department - Indicates which role the individual plays at the school. Recommended values are “Faculty”, “Administration”, “Support Staff”, “Student” and “Teacher”. 
  12. Title - Indicates courtesy title such as Mr. Mrs. And Dr
  13. Image Size - Indicates image size such as Small Large or Other

Edit the Index File

The index.txt file may be opened up in a spreadsheet software - it will display as a series of rows & columns showing what information is linked to each photo. 

Note : Click on the "SPOA Digital Guidelines & Standards" provided by the School Photographers of America for more detailed information about the PSPA file format.

Enhancing the PSPA Data

Memento Composite software is engineered to offer capabilities far beyond those supported by the PSPA file standard. As a sports photographer, your index file can either augment a standard PSPA file or be entirely distinct. Therefore, Memento Composite allows you to add unlimited fields in any order you need.

For instance, your PSPA file format might include fields such as Player Number, Player Position, Team Name, Coach Name, among others.

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