Laura Shoe's Lightroom (and Occasionally Photoshop) Blog for Digital Photographers

Working on Two or More Computers with One Lightroom Catalog

In Uncategorized on April 3, 2009 at 8:08 pm

If you regularly work on two or more computers and carrying an external hard drive is not a problem, then consider putting your images and your Lightroom catalog on the external drive, so that you can move easily between the two.

If your catalog is currently on your internal hard drive, you will need to move it to the external drive:

  • In LR, go to Edit (Lightroom on a Mac) > Catalog Settings, and on the General Tab note the location of your catalog.
Finding Out Where Your Catalog Folder Is

Finding Out Where Your Catalog Folder Is

  • In Finder or Windows Explorer, move this folder to your external drive.

Now all you have to do is to tell LR to launch this catalog when it starts:

  • With your external drive plugged in,  hold down Ctl/ Cmd as you launch Lightroom to get the Select Catalog dialog.  Click on Choose, and navigate to the .lrcat file inside your Lightroom Catalog folder on the external drive.
  • Hit Continue.

That’s it!  When you need to work on your other computer,  plug in the drive, point to the catalog on this drive when you launch LR.

I would suggest a different approach if you ocassionally work images on your laptop when you are in the field photographing.  See this post for more information.

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  1. […] hard drive has the advantage of allowing you to easily move from one computer to another — see my post on this topic.)   On my drive I have a Photo Library folder, and within that is my Lightroom […]

  2. Problem for me is that I keep al my photos on RAID system that stays in the office. Mostly I import photos straight to that drive and edit there. LR catalog file is on that drive.

    But sometimes when on the go, I have to import photos to my laptop and edit there.

    Now when I get back to office and wish to get therese photos and edits to RAID system and LR catalog, I can import photos from my laptop, but I loose all the edits I’ve done on the go.

  3. […] hard drive has the advantage of allowing you to easily move from one computer to another — see my post on this […]

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