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Now that you spent some time learning about how to work with Lightroom and about how to work with Lightroom catalogs, you may go back and look at your workflow and look at your folders and discover that you have made perhaps one of the most common mistakes when working with Lightroom, and this is the mistake of creating too many catalogs. Initially, we all do this because we don't really understand what a catalog actually is. So what happens is when we navigate to our Pictures folder, we'll find and we have our main catalog; we also have these other catalogs.
In this case, I have this Family Pictures (Pics) catalog. I have another one, which is called New, and maybe you have three, four, or five catalogs, and I can't tell you how many times I've worked with people who just have all of these catalogs and it's completely confusing and to access certain images, well, they have to go to those certain catalogs and, well, it's just a mess. Well, how can we solve this mess? Well, one of the things that you can do is you can create a new catalog. Define that as your main catalog and start working with that.
Next what you want to do is you want to import those other catalogs into what you've defined as your main catalog and then get rid of delete the other catalogs. You need to keep things as clear as possible so that you can effectively optimize and back up that catalog and so that you can access all of your images at once. Now in previous versions of Lightroom, there was an argument for working with multiple catalogs because the catalog lagged a little bit. But now in the most recent version, this isn't the case. It's best to have just one main catalog.
Well, let's take a look at how we can solve this issue where we have these multiple catalogs so that we can combine these all into one. I'm going to go ahead and navigate to Lightroom. And here in Lightroom, I'm inside of my main catalog, and what I need to do is I need to import those other catalogs into this main catalog. To do that, it's really simple. Here we'll navigate to our File pull- down menu, we want to choose Import from Another Catalog. Next, we need to navigate to this folder, in this case, our Pictures folder. Now we want to be really meticulous about this.
You may want to take notes to make sure that you've imported every catalog that you need to import. In my case, I'm going to start off with my Family Pics catalog. Here I'll select that and simply click Choose. This will open up the Import dialog. This gives me the ability to move these photos to a new location or just to add these photographs to the catalog without moving them. That's what I want to do here. These pictures already are in the right spot. They're just not in the right catalog. So for the file handling option, I'll leave them where they are.
Next step is to click Import to bring these photographs into Lightroom. Here I can see I have these pictures, I'll go ahead and double-click them, scroll through them to make sure they all made it. They did. Great! Next step I need to import that other catalog. Once again, File > Import from Another Catalog. Here I'll choose this one. Select the catalog name and click Choose. Again, we'll see that Import dialog. We know how this works and here we'll click Import in order to bring these pictures into our main catalog.
We can access these files by targeting our main catalog and we'll see these pictures inside of this catalog and here they are. Okay, well now that we've done this, what we need to do is to clean house. Otherwise, we may get a little bit confused. So here's what I recommend. Go ahead and hide Lightroom by pressing Command+H. Next navigate back to that folder where you have those extraneous catalogs. You don't need those anymore. So here we'll click on this catalog, and also this catalog, and then we'll delete those and now we can breathe a breath of fresh air.
All right. Everything is in one spot. We've grouped all of these catalogs together and from here now we can continue to work with just our main catalog.
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