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Listing of all photos in folders in LRC catalog that are not in LRC

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Nancy Everds

Premium Classic Member
Premium Cloud Member
Oct 9, 2021
Seattle, WA
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Version
LRC 11.14
Operating System
  1. Windows 11
I've been struggling with trying to figure out a way to get a list of file names in File Explorer of all photos that are not in the LRC but are in the folders that contain the photos in the catalog. I understand that I can synchronize, but I want to compare what might be imported with what is already in LRC before they show up in the import screen. Is there a way to do this? Apologies in advance, I have only very intermittent web access this summer. After today, I may not be able to respond to questions for a week or so.
There are several plug-ins that allow you export a list of files or file paths from Lightroom. That gives you a list of what is in Lr.

There are several methods to get a list from Windows of all the file names or paths.

You can paste these into 2 columns in Excel and Excel can tiell you which are common or missing.

Let me know if this route is of interest and I will try fill in the gaps.
Not sure why you don't want to do a synchronize for the folder with the "show in Import dialog" check box turned on than then see what's new there. If you don't like what you see just cancel or pick and choose which photos you want to import.

However, another method is this.
  1. select the the folder in the LrC folders Panel
  2. slect all the images
  3. Create a new folder using the folders panel in Lrc and have it include all the selected images (accecpt the warning that it will move the selected images.
  4. Go to File Explorer and any images listed in the original folder will be those not known to LrC.
  5. Clean up that folder as desired
  6. In LrC, select and drag the images from the temp folder created in step 3 back to their original folder.
Gnits, thank you, I would be interested in the details if you could provide. Thanks.

Califdan, splendid apprapoach for small number of files, very useful. My old work flow pre LRC was to save images by date, then make a sub folder for works-in-progress, and another for prints. When I go to older images, I’ve been trying to simplify this structure by combining folders into the date parent folder, but sometimes end up with dup names in the WIP or print folder (cannot move images into 1 folder because an image already exists with that name), however, there is no image with the same name that shows up in the folder in LR. I want to see info about the 2 images before deciding what to do.
I agree with Dan, even for a large number of files Once imported these can be easily isolated into a temporary collection or compared with similar photos already in the folders.
Here is a short explanation to generate a list of Lr images and a separate list of images in Explorer.

Simply paste both lists into Excel and use the Conditional Formatting / Find Duplicates to highlight matching entries.

The items not highlighted are missing from one list or the other.

So...here goes.... Ps. It is easier to do than describe....

Using ListView PlugIn from John Beardsworth.

In Lightroom go to the folder of interest and select all images (better to only select masters and not virtual).
Using John's plugin ... pick the option to export to Excel as CSV (because there is less formatting),



Close ListView. and back to Lr Grid view.

Select a single image in grid view.
Right Click and Show in Explorer.


Select all images in the folder (Ctrl A) and then simply click on the Copy Path button.
This places a list of all the paths of all the images in the clipboard.

Go back to the Excel sheet and paste the file names into column 2.

The column on the left are the files from lightroom. The column on the right are from Explorer.


In Excel, with the Home tab selected ... click on Conditional Formatting.

Select both columns and then use Conditional Formatting... to highlight Duplicate values.

All cells highlighted have duplicates in the other column.

Any cells not highlighted are missing ...

ie. If in the left column....they are in Lr but not on the disk.
if not highlighted on the second column then they are in Explorer but not in Lr.

Also, if you are handy with Excel then you can get far more sophisticated ...

Some tidy ups are best done using Grid view or similar. but sometimes having a list can simplify ... especially if dealing with large numbers.

Be careful when creating your Lr list to include only real images (ie use the filter bar to exclude virtual).

Post a query here if anything needs clarification or send me a private message thru the Forum.


Ps. I did a short video of this but was unable to post to the forum.... pity...
Thanks to all! Very helpful! I'm an excel geek--anytime I can get data into excel, I'm happy, so your process makes lots of sense to me. I'll download the plugin you mention, and give it a whirl.
Thanks for additional comments. We will be in non-cell area (Glacier Bay) for next week, so please be patient if I haven't responded to a post.
The plug-in can be configured simply to reduce the number of columns transferred to Excel.

Once in Excel delete all columns leaving only the combined full path and file name. Place this in column 1, so you can easily paste the list of paths from Explorer in column 2. Now you are well placed to use the Duplicate finder in Excel… described above.

I have deliberately used functions easily available in Excel and Explorer. You can fine tune the Excel formatting tool to highlight NON duplicates rather than duplicates to highlight the missing items from the respective lists.
I like to keep the catalogue squeaky clean. I recommend, every now and again, synchronize at the highest level of your folder hierarchy. If is shows one or more loose files, more to the head of each of the next-level sub-folders and synchronize. Then so on until you isolate the culprits. Once isolated, import the loose files at the current location, then decide if you want Lr to delete them properly or keep them. By loose files, I mean image files in your Lr image folder that have not been properly imported or lost by Lr for one reason or another. They are invisible to Lr and just clog up your system and probably slow it down. If you haven't done this for a while, it could be quite messy. I'm the last person anyone would call a neat freak but I sure like a tidy catalogue.
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