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Printing all picture in all folders


New Member
Sep 28, 2020
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Classic version 13.0.1
Operating System
  1. Windows 11
I'm a professional genealogist and archivist, and I'm trying to figure out how to improve the efficiency of something that I need to do a few thousand times!

When I digitize historical documents I use a camera, connected to a copy stand, to take individual photos of each page of a document. The camera is tethered to Lightroom Classic, and I use this to reliably put all of the copied images associated with the document into a folder. So, for a ten-page letter, I'd end up with a folder that has ten images in it.

Then, to make it easy for the client to view the entire document, I use the LR-Classic print module to generate a single PDF that includes all of the images in a single document. The process works great, and it's very reliable and efficient, particularly on a small scale. But, I've got a few large projects where I've digitized a thousand documents or so each.

Now that I'm staring down the barrel of having to merge/print a thousand documents, I'm trying to figure out if there is a better way to do this than to manually print-to-PDF a thousand folders of images into those thousand PDFs.

Does anyone have any suggestions for doing this more efficiently than manually printing one folder at a time?

Thanks very much,

For dealing with 1000's of pamphlet style books... I would explore (and invest a little time) becoming familiar with Actions feature in Photoshop.

Are you capturing raw or jpgs... do you need to do much to post process the images to get them cropped to the right size, etc...

I would consider a workflow along the following lines.

Have a Lr export preset to export the images into a subfolder of the current folder with the key parameters such as file type, colour gamut, pixel size, etc...

Then develop an action which
  • Opens all images in the sub folder as layers in Photoshop.
  • Save as pdf..... experiment with the pdf settings.

Maybe your tethered capture might be able to create the output files in their final output format and save a step.

You can then convert the action into a Droplet... leave the droplet on your desktop and then drag and drop the required images onto the Droplet.

There are multiple other ways.

There is a feature in Photoshop under Menu File/Automate called PDF Presentation


This has a lot of advantages as you can create pre-sets for the Pdf created. You can also decide what Metadata to include at the foot of the image, such as Filename, Title, etc..

You can also combine this with Photoshop Actions or Droplets.

If you have the skills, or know someone who does, then you could write a script within Photoshop to do the same thing or have a script written in Python or MatLab or Javascript or similar. The advantage of a script is efficiency and the ability to have rules in relation to saving, storing and naming the resultant documents.

I capture raw Canon images (CR2) of each page in a document. Every individual photo of the document gets unique edits applied to it. Most typically, it's manual cropping work. For example, handwritten letters are usually written on multiple sides of a piece of paper. So, I have crop out the pages, and custom order them, so that they can be read in the correct order in the final merged PDF.

As a result, preserving both the LR edits and the LR custom order is important for the workflow. As you suggest, I also use metadata applied to the individual images in the LR print module to automatically put a footer in the PDF so that the merged PDF is documented on each page.

I've lightly investigated PS automation, but, unless I'm missing something, it doesn't seem to pay heed to the custom order of the images that were applied in LR. It also can't "see" virtual copies of images, which I believe only exist in the LR Catalog.

Thank you for the tip on the droplet. That is a new one to me. I'll check that out.

Does anyone else have any suggestions for how to automate (or simplify) the printing of the images in one or more LR folders? Especially in a way that preserves the edits and custom order that has been applied in LR Classic?

Thanks very much!

As so much relative effort is required on each page and you also use virtual images, I suggest the following interim approach.

Complete all the edits for the pages in a folder. Manually sequence the images into the preferred order. Then export all the images, incl virtual images into a subfolder. I suggest you create a custom file rename of the form 99-BookName., where 99 is a sequence number. This should create the files in the desired sequence… but worth testing this to be sure,

You can then use some of the Photoshop automation features to create the PDF, incl the PDF Presentation tool mentioned above.

At the end of the day, your existing workflow might be close to optimum.

I have used many different tools to create multi page pdfs with structured placement of the image on the page and placement of metadata relative to the page.
1. Custom JavaScript that works within InDesign and Photoshop. I regard this tool as very unfriendly and in need of a major upgrade to improve usability.
2. Photoshop PhotoMerge ….. Same comments as 1. Generating the CSV file to include the url of the image file and the metadata to be printed is not trivial.
3. Microsoft Word Mail Merge. Works great when it works…. but not reliable when working with images.
4. Affinity Publisher. This has the best photo merge features at the moment, but it does not cater for intelligent placement of meta data.

Finally, the Lr SlideShow module has a very good feature for placing metadata intelligently on the page relative to say the bottom left, enter, bottom right of an image and I think, this can be saved to file.
Now that I'm staring down the barrel of having to merge/print a thousand documents, I'm trying to figure out if there is a better way to do this than to manually print-to-PDF a thousand folders of images into those thousand PDFs.

Another angle to investigate, if your Adobe subscription includes Acrobat (the pro version, not just the free version): Acrobat can create a PDF file from selected images. For your example of a 10-page letter, it’s possible to drag those ten images and drop them in Acrobat, and Acrobat asks this:


You can confirm that the image sequence is correct before saving the resulting PDF. For me, this the most direct way to a PDF for multiple images when no further image editing is needed.

However, that doesn't solve your issue of having to load each folder separately, over and over. But I think Acrobat supports JavaScript, so it might be possible to script it to iterate through folders and convert all images in each folder to its own PDF file.

Another option is to find software that is built to batch process images efficiently, such as ImageMagick, free, open-source command-line software. Many popular photo websites use it, so if you have ever pressed a button on a photo website to edit, manage, or convert images, there is a good chance they have ImageMagick do it behind the scenes. I haven’t used it directly because I’m not a programmer, but it seems like the kind of software that could be made to do a folder-by-folder bulk conversion. This link I found in a web search is an example, and it also mentions another alternative called img2pdf:

If the command line is too intimidating, you can try to find something with a friendlier interface. One example is Retrobatch; the picture at the top of their home page is an example of how you might visually set up a workflow that goes through each folder and does stuff. But Retrobatch is Mac-only, so you would have to find something similar for Windows.
If one does not have access to the full Acrobat App, a workflow like this is possible for Windows OS-
Install the free PrimoPDF, (It installs as a 'Printer Device')-
In LrC - Select all the images to include in the PDF and goto the Print module,
Set the 'Print Job' [Print To:] "Printer"
In Page Setup- Set PrimoPDF as the 'Printer', A5/A4, Landscape/Portrait, suitable borders in Layout.
Click on [Print] and the PrimoPDF dialog opens to choose a filename for the PDF.
2023-11-20 05_22_51-cars.pdf - Foxit PDF Reader.jpg
But, I've got a few large projects where I've digitized a thousand documents or so each.
I have to ask that with that many documents, wouldn't you want to provide some sort of Table of Contents and/or Index?

I'm afraid I don't have any answer but I may be looking to maybe use JPG's exported to a specific size to fit on an 8.5x11 page. Then find a plugin for something like Word that would BATCH create a Word document from all the JPG's, include a SUB_HEADER from the TITLE in the JPG METADATA, and create INDEX entries from whatever information you recorded with the picture.

The other non-PDF suggestion is to create a WEB page in LRC. The way LrC creates it, you don't have to have a Web site. I've copied a LrC Web Gallery to file then burned it onto a DVD. You can include METADATE fields on the photos.

Apologies since I don't know your business and I'm thinking outside your box.