Understanding Portrait PSPA File Format

Modified on Fri, 2 Feb at 9:48 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. 

Ready to import your PSPA package into Memento Yearbook? Consult this step-by-step article

No professional portraits this year? You can still make portrait pages - learn more.

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

The PSPA standard does not include important information that can help you make panel pages easily, such as the roles of people in your school (Students, Teachers, Administration, etc.), or job hierarchy relative to each other (Principal, Vice-Principal, Teacher, Assistant Teacher, Student).

Memento Yearbook adds extra categories to its portrait manager to provide this missing information so you can build custom portrait panel pages with great ease.

L. Title: Job descriptions, eg. Vice-Principal, Custodian, Music Teacher, Assistant Teacher

M. Priority: Priority breaks alphabetical order in panels. For instance, the Principal is usually the first person on the staff page, followed by the Vice Principal. Teachers often appear at the front of their homeroom class pages.

N. Salutation: the formal address of staff, eg. Mr., Mrs., Ms, Dr., Professor

This additional information can be added into the index.txt file before import, but it is easier to assign roles after importing, then add titles and salutations directly to portraits after import.

Need help troubleshooting your portrait import? Consult the Portrait Database Issues and Errors article.

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