10 Replies Latest reply on Jul 23, 2014 3:31 PM by dlong9050

    Merging Catalogs Issue


      I am trying to merge my laptop catalog with my desktop catalog. Both machines are LR5.4 and OSX 10.9.3.


      I am following the documented LR process. The merge starts, runs and looks like it completes but the new data (photos and catalog information) does not show up in desktop (merged) catalog.


      When I try it again, the dialog box indicates that the new files have been exported (as they are no longer highlighted).


      I can not locate any files (by name) on the desktop that have moved from the laptop.


      What do I do next?


      Thank you.

        • 2. Re: Merging Catalogs Issue
          dlong9050 Level 1

          Thanks for the tip Bret however this video does not explain exactly what I am trying to accomplish. This video looks like it pretains to LR3. Not sure if being on LR5 matters.


          My "Master Catalog" is on my desk top.


          When I travel, I download my pictures in Lightroom (Mac Book Pro). I would like to merge the 2 catalogs, saving all my changes as I do a TON of editing on the road. 


          Here is the link to the video I have been following. 

          How To Combine Multiple Lightroom Catalogs Into One - YouTube


          Start at the 3 min. mark, the beginning is pretty "fluffy".



          • 3. Re: Merging Catalogs Issue
            Brett N Adobe Employee

            You said you were bringing your catalog from one computer (your laptop) to your other computer (your desktop), so I supplied a video specific to that workflow. Terry White's video is for when you already have both catalogs and images on the same computer (or never had them on separate computers in the first place). Once you get past the parts of moving the files and catalog to the same computer, these two videos are essentially the same.


            One thing you have to remember about Lightroom is that it does not store your images, it merely tracks them. The catalog is just a database about your files, not the files themselves. So when you move a catalog file from one computer to another, you have to also bring the images files as well. So it may be that you have combined the two catalogs, but that you did not copy over the images files, thus they cannot be found on your computer.

            • 4. Re: Merging Catalogs Issue
              dlong9050 Level 1

              Hi Brett,



              Thanks for clarifying and yes you are correct, there are 2 parts to this effort.


              First copying over the photos and laptop catalog from laptop to desktop, then merging the libraries on the desktop.


              I first copied the photos from laptop to desktop.


              I then copied over the lrcat and Previews.lrcat from the laptop to the desktop. Didn’t see a need to copy the preferences or presets.


              So now all files are in the same folder- all pictures pictures and both catalogs.


              I once again tried to merge (Import) the laptop catalog into the desktop catalog- here is the import panel.





              The highlighted line is the start of the laptop pictures, 11 lines later (189 pictures) represents the total of what I am trying to merge. As you can see I get 5 lines (with an -) and only 16 pictures actually merge into the desktop catalog.


              I can not change the check box on any of these lines.


              Here is what I get on the Library Folders Panel…………………..






              Normally I would just import the photos and be done with it however I made a ton of changes to these photos (on the desktop) so it’s imperative that these changes find there way into the desktop catalog.


              I appreciate your help and certainly willing to do a screen share if necessary.


              I am also willing to pay for a solution to this issue.


              Thanks again.



              David Long

              • 5. Re: Merging Catalogs Issue
                dlong9050 Level 1



                Here are the screen shots that go with my comments above..................


                I replied from the email and it did not attach the images.


                This is the "Import Panel."

                Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 9.22.45 PM.jpg



                This is the library folders panel.

                Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 9.23.29 PM.jpg

                • 6. Re: Merging Catalogs Issue
                  Brett N Adobe Employee

                  Is the folder path from both computers the same? We can only see a partial path here. We see that in both cases, the final folder is "2014-05-16", but is the complete folder path before that exactly the same? For example, is the user name from both computers the same? Everything has to be identical. Did you verify that the laptop catalog worked correctly once you moved it to the desktop computer before merging?

                  • 7. Re: Merging Catalogs Issue
                    dlong9050 Level 1

                    Hi Brett,


                    Thanks for hanging in there with me.


                    I copied the laptop lrcat files and the pictures to the desktop. The pictures for both laptop and desktop are in the same folder. The lrcat files are also in the same folder, which are all on the desk top. So yes the path is the same.


                    Here are the screen shots:

                    Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 3.24.01 PM.jpg


                    Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 3.36.48 PM.jpg


                    Am I missing something?

                    I will also be unavailable for 10 days, starting tomorrow, so I apologize for the slow response.

                    • 8. Re: Merging Catalogs Issue
                      SeanMcCormack Adobe Community Professional

                      Personally, I'd start the Laptop in Target Disk Mode, so it shows as a drive on the desktop, then import the laptop catalog into the desktop catalog, letting it move the files/previews etc automatically. No faffing around moving files manually.

                      • 9. Re: Merging Catalogs Issue
                        Brett N Adobe Employee

                        We want the pictures to be in the exact same folder path as on the other computer. For example, is your user account name "Dave" on both computers? If not, if any of the folders in the path are different between the computers, it may lead to this behavior.

                        • 10. Re: Merging Catalogs Issue
                          dlong9050 Level 1



                          Thanks for hanging in there with me on this issue. I believe I have discovered the problem or at least the source of the problem.


                          I started a new catalog on my laptop, added a few hundred photos from my dive trip last week and made lots of edits/changes. I then followed your instructions including file identification, file movement and paths names- my merge from laptop to desktop worked perfectly. I then merged the new laptop catalog with the old laptop catalog- again the merge went perfectly.


                          BACKGROUND: Two years ago I created a "SCUBA diving catalog" on my laptop from my desktop catalog which has a ton of other non-SCUBA pictures. In essence, the laptop catalog is a subset of my desktop catalog. Each dive trip I would I add more photos to this laptop catalog, then attempt to merge it back with my desktop catalog. I have NEVER been successful which is why I posted my original question back on July 4th. In the last two years I have always ended up having to import photos (not merge catalogs) to the desktop catalog (and loosing all my edits).


                          SOLUTION: I am totally convinced that there is something about this "subset laptop catalog" that will not allow it to be merged back to the catalog it came from (on the desktop). So although I am not sure of the exact cause, I now know if I start a new catalog for each dive trip, it WILL merge with the desktop catalog.


                          Thanks again for you help.