• Welcome to the Lightroom Queen Forums! We're a friendly bunch, so please feel free to register and join in the conversation. If you're not familiar with forums, you'll find step by step instructions on how to post your first thread under Help at the bottom of the page. You're also welcome to download our free Lightroom Quick Start eBooks and explore our other FAQ resources.
  • Stop struggling with Lightroom! There's no need to spend hours hunting for the answers to your Lightroom 6 questions. All the information you need is in Adobe Lightroom 6 - The Missing FAQ!

    To help you get started, there's a series of easy tutorials to guide you through a simple workflow. As you grow in confidence, the book switches to a conversational FAQ format, so you can quickly find answers to advanced questions. When you upgrade to subscription, there's also a Lightroom Classic version available.

Merging catalogues

Mark Two

New Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2016
Messages
8
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
I have LR6 on my MacBookPro 17in but I also put it on a smaller MacBook when I went travelling last year. Now I have two separate catalogues and even though I have tried to make them identical by copying folders etc, I think a better method would be to merge the catalogues. But as they are on separate computers, how do I do this?
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
16,250
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Welcome to the forum.

The first step is to get them on the same computer. it sound like you may have done this. The catalog that you want to merge into we will call the Master. The catalog to be merged from we will call the Travel (probably the one that came from the MacBook) If you have two catalogs in the same computer and none of the images are missing, it is a simple process to "Import from another catalog".
  1. Open the Master catalog in LR. Navigate the file menu to {File}{Import from another Catalog...}
  2. In the dialog that opens navigate to the "Travel" catalog and select it.
  3. In the File Handling field you can choose to "Add New Photos to the catalog without moving" This will leave the image files where they are on the computer and those folders will show up in the Folder panel. You can move these in LR later if you want to consolidate folders. The other option is to "Copy new photos to a new location and import" This will move the images into your existing folder structure for the Master catalog. This might be the same as Moving later, but it won't remove the image files from their current location like Moving them in LR.
  4. If you have some of the same image files in both catalogs, check the checkbox labeled "Preserve old settings as a virtual copy" This will keep all of your edits for the images on both catalog intact so that nothing gets lost.
 

Mark Two

New Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2016
Messages
8
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Many thanks for the advice. I'll give it a go and see how it works out.
 

Mark Two

New Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2016
Messages
8
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Welcome to the forum.

The first step is to get them on the same computer. it sound like you may have done this. The catalog that you want to merge into we will call the Master. The catalog to be merged from we will call the Travel (probably the one that came from the MacBook) If you have two catalogs in the same computer and none of the images are missing, it is a simple process to "Import from another catalog".
  1. Open the Master catalog in LR. Navigate the file menu to {File}{Import from another Catalog...}
  2. In the dialog that opens navigate to the "Travel" catalog and select it.
  3. In the File Handling field you can choose to "Add New Photos to the catalog without moving" This will leave the image files where they are on the computer and those folders will show up in the Folder panel. You can move these in LR later if you want to consolidate folders. The other option is to "Copy new photos to a new location and import" This will move the images into your existing folder structure for the Master catalog. This might be the same as Moving later, but it won't remove the image files from their current location like Moving them in LR.
  4. If you have some of the same image files in both catalogs, check the checkbox labeled "Preserve old settings as a virtual copy" This will keep all of your edits for the images on both catalog intact so that nothing gets lost.
OK, so far this isn't going well! First, my two catalogs are on separate computers. I have tried copying the more recent of the two - the one you have called Travel - onto an external hard drive from where I propose to merge it with the larger (Master) catalog on the second computer. BUT there is an unanticipated anomaly. In my Lightroom folder I have the Lightroom Catalog.lrcat folder (1.6GB), but in addition, there are TWO Lightroom Catalog Previews.lrdata folders (with identical names), one of which is 207KB while the other is 23.77GB. Why would there be two? and should I merge both into my Master catalog? If just one, which of the two? (Incidentally, on the second computer where my Master catalog is, there are also two Previews folders with identical names but radically different sizes).

With regard to 'adding' or 'moving' photos when it comes to merging the two catalogues, my photos are all stored on an external hard drive rather than on either of the computers I am working with. So how does that influence the choice I make between 'add' or 'move'?

Finally, when I finally manage to merge these catalogs on one computer, it is my intention to transfer the entire catalog to a third computer - a very large capacity iMac which has Lightroom installed but, so far, unused so without any catalogs. So how would I do such a move?
 

Mark Two

New Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2016
Messages
8
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
OK, finally managed to get one of my LR catalogues onto my new iMac where I will complete the merger with the other catalogue. BUT while all my photos and edits seem to have migrated to the new computer, when I try to rename or move a file I get a message to say renaming and moving are not possible. Any ideas why?
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2015
Messages
10,121
Location
Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Where are the original photos from the catalog you merged? If they are still in their old location, that location is probably not online (because it's the internal hard disk of the other computer). That would explain why you can't move or rename them.
 

Mark Two

New Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2016
Messages
8
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
The photos are all on an external drive. They are all visible in my new catalogue (no !! marks). I am able to edit photos but options such as renaming or moving folders, or individual photos, are not permitted which seems very strange.
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2015
Messages
10,121
Location
Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
The photos are all on an external drive. They are all visible in my new catalogue (no !! marks). I am able to edit photos but options such as renaming or moving folders, or individual photos, are not permitted which seems very strange.
That sounds like Lightroom does not have enough permissions to write to this disk, only to read from it. Select the disk in the Finder, press Cmd-i to get the info panel. Look all the way down. Is the 'Ignore ownership on this volume' checked (it should be). Then check the permissions above that. Everything should be set to 'Read&Write'. If not, click on the lock icon to unlock it and change the settings. Next, click on the wheel icon and choose 'Apply to enclosed items'.

Disk.jpg
 

Mark Two

New Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2016
Messages
8
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
You are right. When I look at Permissions on my external drive, it says 'you can read only'. But there are no options to choose from, and no 'ignore ownership on this volume' to tick. Is there some other way of being able to write to this hard drive? And at what point would the drive have become read only? I use the same drive with LR on my MacBook Pro and have never had this problem. And I have never even looked at Pemissions before, let alone changed the settings.
 

Mark Two

New Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2016
Messages
8
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
You are right. When I look at Permissions on my external drive, it says 'you can read only'. But there are no options to choose from, and no 'ignore ownership on this volume' to tick. Is there some other way of being able to write to this hard drive? And at what point would the drive have become read only? I use the same drive with LR on my MacBook Pro and have never had this problem. And I have never even looked at Pemissions before, let alone changed the settings.
And I should have added that there is no padlock icon to open. I just ran disk utility on my external drive and it says 'Owners: disabled", and, again, there are no options for making changes. But this problem only exists when the external drive is connected to my new iMac. It doesn't happen with the MacBook Pro. How can that possibly be?
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2015
Messages
10,121
Location
Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
And I should have added that there is no padlock icon to open. I just ran disk utility on my external drive and it says 'Owners: disabled", and, again, there are no options for making changes. But this problem only exists when the external drive is connected to my new iMac. It doesn't happen with the MacBook Pro. How can that possibly be?
Maybe you are logged in on the iMac with a user account that is too restricted to allow you to change these settings?
 

Mark Two

New Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2016
Messages
8
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Well I am the only user of the iMac so I don't see how there could be restrictions. Actually, I think I have figured out what the problem is but I don't understand how it has arisen. My external drive was originally formatted to NTFS, which can't be written to from a Mac, so when I first used it I had to download some software to make it compatible with OS X. Then earlier this year I got a smaller MacBook Pro and I have been using the external drive with that computer with no difficulties - reading and writing - and I didn't have to re-download the initial software. So if the hard drive has been reformatted to work fully with OS X on my two MacBooks, how come it won't let me write to it from the iMac? If I reformat the drive to Mac OSX Extended by using disk utility, and then reload my photos, will their location have changed? And will LR fail to find them?
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2015
Messages
10,121
Location
Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Well I am the only user of the iMac so I don't see how there could be restrictions. Actually, I think I have figured out what the problem is but I don't understand how it has arisen. My external drive was originally formatted to NTFS, which can't be written to from a Mac, so when I first used it I had to download some software to make it compatible with OS X. Then earlier this year I got a smaller MacBook Pro and I have been using the external drive with that computer with no difficulties - reading and writing - and I didn't have to re-download the initial software. So if the hard drive has been reformatted to work fully with OS X on my two MacBooks, how come it won't let me write to it from the iMac? If I reformat the drive to Mac OSX Extended by using disk utility, and then reload my photos, will their location have changed? And will LR fail to find them?
You need special drivers to write to an NTFS disk on a Mac, such as from Paragon software. Clearly your iMac does not have those drivers installed, so it can't write to the disk. You must have these drivers installed on your MacBook, even though you don't remember. Reformatting the disk is indeed the best solution. Don't worry that Lightroom won't find the photos initially, that is easy to fix.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
16,250
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Reformatting the disk is indeed the best solution
Reformatting will erase all existing data on the disk. So please make sure that you have copied the contents of the disk elsewhere BEFOR formatting it as HFS+.
 

Montana

New Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Messages
3
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
6.x
Recently, I could not see my photos in Lightroom - the folders were there, but there were no previews (then I found my master catalog). I also realised there are 3 or 4 catalogs. Visibly one must have come from an update (as it is named XXX-2.lrcat). My photos are all on an external hard drive.
I tried to rename my master catalog and pulled it ouf of a back up folder. However, there have are permission rights problems (I was not listed as having read/write permission for my own hard drive. The only solution to that seemed to be to eliminate Wheel and add myself). However, the problem is not completely resolved. Should I try to create a new Master catalog (with no pictures) then merge one by one the other catalogs into the Master before I delete all the catalogs and my old backups? Please advise. Thank you.
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2015
Messages
10,121
Location
Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
However, the problem is not completely resolved. Should I try to create a new Master catalog (with no pictures) then merge one by one the other catalogs into the Master before I delete all the catalogs and my old backups? Please advise. Thank you.
If you don't tell us what 'the problem is not completely resolved' means, we can't give you any meaningful advice.
 

Montana

New Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Messages
3
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
6.x
I seem to have several catalogs (including one that was updated by Lightroom as it is named X-2.lrcat and they are sometimes in peculiar places (in backup files, for example).
There is visibly a huge problem of permission rights when I tried to merge one catalog with my main one - I was not allowed to merge them.
-->Why am I constantly battling with permission rights (all photos are on an external hard drive); no one else uses my Mac. Why does "Wheel" show up as having permission, but not me? I tried to include myself and add read and write at each level (the external hard drive, the main folder of photos, then each catalog on the hard drive)?
Query: Should I try to create a new Master catalog (which would be empty), merge my biggest catalog with it and then merge the other ones to this new Master?
Lastly, for the most recent update in Lightroom CC Classic to 7.X, when I tried to launch it, it said my catalog would be renamed to X-2.lrcat. I only want 1 catalog with 2-3 recent backups. Therefore, I need to resolve all of the above before I update Lightroom to the latest version. Does that clarify Johan?
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2015
Messages
10,121
Location
Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Check the following. Select the icon of your external drive and use 'Info' to get the permissions. At the bottom of the dialog, you should see a checkbox 'Ignore ownership for this volume'. Make sure this is checked.

As for the query: you can just take the main catalog and merge the other ones with it by using 'Import from another catalog'. I see no advantage in starting with an empty one.
 

Montana

New Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Messages
3
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
6.x
Thank you very much, Johan, that seems to be working now!
 
Top