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

Synchronizing Your Folders in Lightroom

In Uncategorized on June 7, 2009 at 10:04 am

You have imported a folder of images into Lightroom.  Later you add more images to that folder.   Have Lightroom figure out which haven’t been imported into its catalog and import them for you:

  • In the Library Folders panel,  right-click on your folder (ctl-click on a one button mouse) .
  • Select Synchronize Folder.   Lightroom looks at the folder and determines how many of the images it does not yet have in the catalog.
  • Check  Show Import Dialog if you want to be able to copy, move or rename the files, add copyright metadata, keywords, or apply develop presets as the images are imported.
  • Scan for Metadata Updates will look to see if any of the images already imported have been updated more recently in Bridge or another program.  (It will read check the XMP file.)
  • Hit Synchronize.
  • If you checked Show Import Dialog, go through this dialog as you normally would.

There are many situations where you may add more images to a folder.   Here’s one example:  a client of mine has a folder of scanned images.  This folder of images has been imported into Lightroom.  When she scans new images and they are saved into the folder, she now synchronizes the folder to get the new scans into Lightroom.

  1. Is there a way to make a “batch” synch of folders in Lightroom. Doing each folder individually is incredibly time consuming. Thanks!

    • Hi Bill,

      For many reasons in Lightroom, it is best to have all your folders within one master folder. For me that is “Pictures”. Inside this are folders for each year, and then within these, folders for each shoot. If you have one master folder, you can just synchronize this, and it will automatically do the subfolders.


  2. How do you update your original files with the edits you make in Lightroom. or is the information always stored in the external catalogue? I am confused about the catalogue thing.

    • Hi Wendy, the information is automatically stored in the central catalog. If you want it to also be written out to your files, either select and right-click on your files and choose Metadata>Save Metadata to File, or in Lightroom>Catalog Settings (Edit>Catalog Settings on the PC), check the box “automatically write changes to XMP.” For raw files, this will write the info out to the sidecar XMP files that tag along with the raw files. For jpegs and tiffs, it will write the XMP information directly into the jpeg or tiff file header.

      In any case, be sure to back up both your Lightroom catalog, and your image files!

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