Can I copy a collection from one catalog into another

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selsong

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HI

Im still fairly new to Lightroom. Any help would be appreciated

Can I copy a collection from one saved catalog into another easily. Or do I have to just import all the photos into the current catalog and process all over again?

Many thanks for any help
 
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Let's first try to understand catalogs and collections by this analogy.

Say that I live in Houston, TX (catalog) and I am a member of a local Camera Club (collection).

The only way that I can become a resident of Dallas, TX (another catalog) is to move there. Moving to Dallas does not automatically make me a member of a Dallas Camera club (another collection) I have to join and become a member of that local camera club.

Now I can move all of the members of the local Houston Camera Club to Dallas (Export as Catalog/Import as Catalog) but that will not make them members of the Dallas Camera club since both camera clubs are local to their respective cities. The Houston Camera Club stays in Houston even those the members might live elsewhere. The Members of the Houston Camera Club that were imported to Dallas no longer exist as a club (collection) since they can't bring the Houston Camera Club along with them. They can form a new club or they as individuals can become members of the Dallas Camera Club.

Smart Collections are somewhat different. If some of the members of the Houston Camera Club are Nikon shooters them I can create a smart collection of "Nikon Shooters" that automatically includes all people (images) that have own (keyword) a "Nikon" If my Dallas catalog also has a smart collection of "Nikon Shooters", then when I move the members of the Houston Camera Club to Dallas, those members that own a Nikon will automatically become members of the Dallas smart collection of "Nikon Shooters".
 
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HI
Can I copy a collection from one saved catalog into another easily. Or do I have to just import all the photos into the current catalog and process all over again?

Yes you can, using the Export/Import catalog routine:

1. Right-click on the collection that you want to copy to another catalog, and select "Export this Collection as a Catalog".

2. In the resulting dialog, provide a name and location for this interim exported catalog. Then check the "Include available previews", and check/uncheck the smart previews option as you prefer. Regarding the "Export negative files" option, that depends on where the other catalog (the one you are copying the collection to) resides....if it's on the same system, no need to check that option. But if the other catalog is on a different system with no access to the original files (the "negatives"), then you should check that box. When you've made the selections click on Export catalog.

3. If the other catalog is on the same system, open the other catalog after doing the export, then select File>Import from Another Catalog, select the interim exported catalog and it should then import the collection.

4. If the catalog is on another system, the export as catalog will have created a master folder containing the exported catalog and associated previews, plus a sub-folder containing the copy of all the associated original files. Copy this master folder to the other system, open the other catalog and go through the same "Import from Another Catalog" process. This time you'll have an additional option relating to the original files, i.e. you can move them to another place on the other system or leave them where they are.

Either way, it's a fairly simple process. Let us know if you run into any trouble and need some more help.
 

selsong

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Many thanks Jim
Yes you can, using the Export/Import catalog routine:

1. Right-click on the collection that you want to copy to another catalog, and select "Export this Collection as a Catalog".

2. In the resulting dialog, provide a name and location for this interim exported catalog. Then check the "Include available previews", and check/uncheck the smart previews option as you prefer. Regarding the "Export negative files" option, that depends on where the other catalog (the one you are copying the collection to) resides....if it's on the same system, no need to check that option. But if the other catalog is on a different system with no access to the original files (the "negatives"), then you should check that box. When you've made the selections click on Export catalog.

3. If the other catalog is on the same system, open the other catalog after doing the export, then select File>Import from Another Catalog, select the interim exported catalog and it should then import the collection.

4. If the catalog is on another system, the export as catalog will have created a master folder containing the exported catalog and associated previews, plus a sub-folder containing the copy of all the associated original files. Copy this master folder to the other system, open the other catalog and go through the same "Import from Another Catalog" process. This time you'll have an additional option relating to the original files, i.e. you can move them to another place on the other system or leave them where they are.

Either way, it's a fairly simple process. Let us know if you run into any trouble and need some more help.
 

Ellis Vener

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Thank you Mr. Lee!
 
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Yes you can, using the Export/Import catalog routine:

1. Right-click on the collection that you want to copy to another catalog, and select "Export this Collection as a Catalog".

2. In the resulting dialog, provide a name and location for this interim exported catalog. Then check the "Include available previews", and check/uncheck the smart previews option as you prefer. Regarding the "Export negative files" option, that depends on where the other catalog (the one you are copying the collection to) resides....if it's on the same system, no need to check that option. But if the other catalog is on a different system with no access to the original files (the "negatives"), then you should check that box. When you've made the selections click on Export catalog.

3. If the other catalog is on the same system, open the other catalog after doing the export, then select File>Import from Another Catalog, select the interim exported catalog and it should then import the collection.

4. If the catalog is on another system, the export as catalog will have created a master folder containing the exported catalog and associated previews, plus a sub-folder containing the copy of all the associated original files. Copy this master folder to the other system, open the other catalog and go through the same "Import from Another Catalog" process. This time you'll have an additional option relating to the original files, i.e. you can move them to another place on the other system or leave them where they are.

Either way, it's a fairly simple process. Let us know if you run into any trouble and need some more help.
 
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You really export images, not collections. So to export two collections of images, you could select all the images in the fist cllectin and add them to the quick collection. The you do the same for the images in the other collection. Then you can go to the quick collection, select all images and export them as catalog.
 
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You really export images, not collections. So to export two collections of images, you could select all the images in the fist cllectin and add them to the quick collection. The you do the same for the images in the other collection. Then you can go to the quick collection, select all images and export them as catalog.
But I want my images to remain in the collections in the new catalog. I don't think that would happen the way you are describing?

I will be exporting 20+ collections, each with hundreds of images. I would really like to avoid having to sort them back into collections in the new catalog. I don't even know how I'd easily do that.
 
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Yes, it would work. Try exporting as catalog, and then opening the temporary catalog. This is what would be imported.
 
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But I want my images to remain in the collections in the new catalog. I don't think that would happen the way you are describing?
They will remain in those collections. If you export as catalog, every collection that contains at least one of the exported images will be included in the exported catalog. Even if you have not selected that collection when you exported. That is because -I repeat- images are exported as catalog, so collections come along for the ride if they contain those images.
 
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Hi all,

I have the same question, with a slight variation: I want to export multiple collections into a single new catalog.

Is the process the same as @Jim Wilde described back in 2015? Or has it changed since then? And how would it differ when exporting multiple collections into the same new catalog?

Thanks.
You can select multiple Collections (in the Collection panel) and [Export as a Catalog] from the main menu FILE: Export as Catalog.
Hold down the [CTRL] key as you select Collectons and [CTRL + A] to select all images in the Collections.
You do preserve the Collections in the exported catalog.
My example-
1)Selected Collections in my Master Catalog-
2021-11-04 08_12_05-Lightroom Catalog-v11 - Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic - Library.jpg

2) Resulting Collections in Exported Catalog-
2021-11-04 08_08_07-testing - Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic - Library.jpg
 
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Same explanation from a different angle, if it helps explain things…

...When Lightroom Classic imports an image from another catalog, it notices which collections that image was a member of in the source catalog, then it re-creates those collections in the destination catalog. But I don’t think it automatically pulls in all images of those collections. It limits the scope to which sources were selected to import.

For example, if you select a folder containing two images and they are part of different collections that include 500 images, the collections containing those two would be re-created in the destination catalog, but containing only the two images within the sources that were selected for import.

So if you wanted to make sure that the data brought in by Import from Another Catalog includes not only the collections but all of the images in them, you want to make sure the scope of the selected sources in Import from Another Catalog includes all images that would be in any collections you want to bring over completely.
 
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As well as seeing what is happening, there's a big benefit from exporting as catalog and then opening that temporary catalogue - you can see the collections that are going to be carried over and can delete those which you may not want. You may also want to review keywords in the same way.

Of course, many of us never need to jump through these hoops. LR is designed to work best with a single catalogue managing all your photography from import to output. It supports more than one, but most multi catalogue workflows make work for yourself.
 
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As well as seeing what is happening, there's a big benefit from exporting as catalog and then opening that temporary catalogue - you can see the collections that are going to be carried over and can delete those which you may not want. You may also want to review keywords in the same way.

Of course, many of us never need to jump through these hoops. LR is designed to work best with a single catalogue managing all your photography from import to output. It supports more than one, but most multi catalogue workflows make work for yourself.
Yes, I've been thinking about this. Even though most of the images in my original 40k catalog aren't keepers, I'm now leaning toward just migrating the entire catalog to Lightroom. They'll just live in a folder in Lightroom anyhow, right? They are organized in such a way that they won't be cluttering things up or anything. I'm worried about having two different catalogs, even if I"m rarely (if ever) using one of them.
 
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