Confused about how to upgrade your catalogs from previous Lightroom versions? Here’s the short version:
How do I upgrade my catalog from version 4 to version 5?
If you’re ready to upgrade, first make sure you have a current catalog backup, just in case something goes wrong. Proper measures have been put in place to avoid disasters, but you can never be too careful.
When you open Lightroom 5 for the first time, it should follow any existing Lightroom 4 preferences, and either prompt you for a catalog to open, or try to open your default catalog. If you’ve never run Lightroom on this machine, it will ask you where to create a default catalog.
When you try to open any earlier catalogs, Lightroom 5 will ask you to upgrade your catalog. You can select a different folder name or location for the upgraded catalog if you wish. The new version 5 catalog will be an upgraded copy—your original catalog won’t be changed, although the previews file will be moved to the Lightroom 5 catalog. You may want to move the original catalog to your backups folder once the upgrade is complete.
The upgrade process may take a while, as it checks the original files for additional information, for example, the bit depth and color profile. Note that if the original files are offline, for example, on disconnected external hard drives, then that extra metadata will not be added to the catalog.
Need more detail?
Laura Shoe has an excellent video, and many thanks to Jim Wilde for the guest post below, which covers the extra points to look out for if you used the beta for ‘real work’.
If you used the beta for real work…
If the public beta was installed prior to the installation of the general release version, I would recommend proceeding as follows:
If the LR5 Beta catalog is no longer required: Optionally uninstall the LR5 beta software first (may not be necessary, but perhaps beneficial to ensure a clean environment for the new install), then remove the beta catalog (zip it up if needed for archival purposes, else delete it). After that you can proceed as if doing a clean installation and upgrade of the previous version catalog, as per the basic instructions above.
If the LR5 beta catalog is required, and is to be merged with existing previous version “master” catalog: in this situation, even if the LR5 beta software is uninstalled first, when starting LR5 general release for the first time it will open using the LR5 beta catalog. This can be circumvented by resetting or deleting the LR5 preferences file first, but for this note I’m assuming this is not done. So, with the beta catalog open, go to File menu > Open Catalog and select the previous version “master” catalog in the resulting file browser window. This will result in the catalog upgrade dialog appearing, as per the basic instructions above. When the upgrade is complete, and the catalog opened into LR5, you can then proceed to File menu > Import from another Catalog. In the resulting file browser you need to select the LR5 beta catalog, and proceed to make the appropriate selections to achieve the merge of the 2 catalogs.
Note: It is possible to proceed the “other way round”, i.e. open the beta catalog first, then run the catalog merge by importing the previous version catalog using the File>Import from another Catalog procedure. However, the problem with this approach is that all Publish Service collections that you may have setup in the previous version catalog will be lost, as “import from another catalog” does not transfer these. So if you are a user of Publish Services, proceed with caution if trying to merge an LR5 beta catalog with a previous version catalog.