Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
One of the common things you might need to do in Lightroom in regards to catalogs is import an external catalog into a catalog that you've already created. There are number of different reasons why you might need to do that, and because of this what I want to do is talk a little bit about this process. First though I am going to minimize the Lightroom interface so that we can see what I have on the Desktop. Here I am just making Lightroom a little bit smaller, and on the Desktop you'll notice I have this folder, it's titled puppies. If I double-click this I can open it up, and inside of this folder you'll notice I have a Lightroom Catalog.
Now the catalog that's here it contains all of the catalog information as well as images. If you open up this folder you'll see the different images. Now this is a catalog which has been exported from a previous version of Lightroom, we will talk about exporting catalogs in the next movie. Yet for now there are many ways to get catalogs out of Lightroom or perhaps you're just upgrading to a newer version of Lightroom, and what you need to do is to import and update your catalogs. In either case, the process is exactly the same.
You have that catalog somewhere, in this case I have it in this particular location, and what I want to do is rather than having two catalogs, in other words rather than having Lightroom 4 catalog and puppies catalog, I want to have just one catalog. What you need to do is to import that catalog, then two become one. Let me show you how it works. What we will do here in Lightroom is go ahead and expand that, and go to File and then choose Import from Another Catalog. This will allow us to import that other catalog which is this one right here.
I'll click Choose and what's going to happen is, it's going to tell me a few things. First it says, the catalog that you selected it needs to be upgraded before it can be imported with this version of Lightroom. Lightroom will upgrade this catalog in the background and then resume the import after the upgrade completes. So that's definitely what we want to do and then it asks us, do we want to save this upgraded catalog? Do we want this newer version of that? Well it couldn't hurt to have that, so I will go ahead and click Save.
Now if you are worried about increasing that file size in that folder, you would just simply choose Discard. In this case I am going to chose Save, and then I'll click Start Background Upgrade, and the great thing about this, is of course, I can continue to work in Lightroom, right? I can do all that I need to do while that's happening in the background. Once it's complete it will open up this Import dialog. Now here it says, Import from the Catalog, and it's going to import a folder and also some images. Then it asks me, how I want to handle these particular files? Well I could add new photos to the catalog without moving, we know what that is, right? We have seen that before or I could copy these to a new location.
Now most likely what you'll want to do is, bring these to a new location, if the location doesn't really make sense with your photo library. Again it's really about your own structure, your own internal structure. In my case, I would rather have all my photos in one main photos folder rather than all these different various folders. So I want to copy these to a new location. Now when I select that I get to choose location. So here of course what I am going to do is go ahead and navigate to my Desktop, and then I'll go to the Exercise Files and Photos folder and then click Choose.
Now the great thing about this is it will bring these files over into that location. I can also click to see the Preview and if you've used Lightroom before you may remember this import dialog. It's not quite as good as the main Import dialog but at least it allows us to see these pictures, and as a side note, these are photographs that I captured, of our little dog that we adopted, Daisy the dog, and her brothers and sisters. One of our neighbors was having puppies and I took some photos of them. Well I am ready to import.
Here I am going to go ahead and click Import, and it's going to go through the process of bringing those files in. Now the great thing about what's happened here, is I have all these files, they are now in this folder in my main Photos section and I can then begin to work with them. These photos now exist in this separate folder, let me show you. So I am going to go ahead and minimize this and then open up my Exercise Files folder. In this folder, if we open up Photos in the golden retrievers, just close these other folders here.
We can see these files exist inside of this location, now what about the other location, the old location? Well if we go back and open up this, they also exist here, because remember, I asked it to copy these to a new location. The reason I'm pointing this out is if you're upgrading let's say an older catalog and you have thousands and thousands and thousands of images, you may not want to create copies of those because it'll just be too much information. In those situations, you may simply want to add the photographs and then you can always move them after the fact.
Simply add them from their location and then make the changes as far as where they're located inside of Lightroom. Let me show you what I mean. So here we will go ahead and close out of these windows and go back to Lightroom. Let's say for example that this location where these files are saved, I don't like, we'll just click on the folder and drag it to a new location. It says, hey, you are going to make this move, fine, click Move and now you can see it's in a new spot. I made a mistake, that's not the right spot, drag it to another and then again you can move it.
You can also rename this. If this naming convention isn't correct you can right-click or Ctrl+Click and choose Rename, here I want to give this a capital letter Golden_Puppies and then click Save, and now I have that in a naming convention which matches the other ways that I have been naming my folders. So as you can see you have a lot of flexibility here, and what this does is it allows you to combine two different catalogs into one and this can really be helpful in a number of different situations, whether you shoot photographs on location and have them on your laptop and then you need to integrate that laptop catalog with a desktop catalog or maybe you're upgrading to a newer version of Lightroom and you just need to combine catalogs together.
Or maybe you've created too many catalogs and what you need to do is minimize the amount of catalogs you have because really you should only have one. Well whatever situation, you can go through this process, and again it all starts by going to your File pull-down menu and choosing Import from Another Catalog.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
164 Video lessons · 48210 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 84218 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 54145 Viewers
148 Video lessons · 91046 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.