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Merging Catalogs

First time Lightroom users often make more than one catalog.

If you did so, you can merge the extra catalogs.

Let's say you have two catalogs:

• Messy

• Tidy

You want to merge the Messy catalog into the Tidy catalog.

In Lightroom-speak, you're going to import the photographs from Messy to Tidy.

New versus Existing Photographs

Lightroom labels your photographs as new or existing.

New photographs are those in the Messy catalog—but not in the Tidy catalog.

Existing photographs are those in the Messy catalog—and in the Tidy catalog.

  Messy Catalog Tidy Catalog
New photographs are . . . Here Not here
Existing photographs are . . . Here Here

Import Messy to Tidy

Do the following.

1) Open the Tidy catalog.

2) Go to File > Import From Another Catalog.

3) Navigate to the Messy catalog and click Open (Windows) or Choose (Mac).

4) The Import from Catalog window will open.

The window has three areas.

Area #1 - Catalog Contents

This area pertains to the contents of the Messy catalog.

5) Select the folders and photographs that you want to import.

6) Select Preview in the lower-left corner to see previews of the photographs.

Area #2 - New Photos

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Area #2 - New Photos

Again, new photos are photographs that are in the Messy catalog—but not in the Tidy catalog.

7) Open the File Handling menu.

There are three choices.

#1 - Add new photos to catalog without moving

The new photographs are imported—but they're left at their current location.

#2 - Copy new photos to a new location & import

The new photographs are imported—and are moved to a new location.

#3 - Don't import new photos

The new photographs are not imported from the Messy catalog to the Tidy catalog.

Only existing photographs will be imported.

Area #3 - Existing Photos

As mentioned, existing photographs are in the Messy catalog—and—in the Tidy catalog.

Let's say you have a photograph of your pet toucan in both catalogs.

The develop settings are different for the photograph in each catalog.

Which develop settings do you want to keep?

Those in the Messy catalog—or those in the Tidy catalog?

8) There are two selections in the Existing Photos area.

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Area #3 - Two Selections

Selection #1

Select the Preserve old settings as a virtual copy option to keep both versions of your photographs.

The Messy catalog versions will be virtual copies in the Tidy catalog.

Selection #2

Select the Replace non-raw files only option if you want to import JPEG, TIFF, and PSD files only.

The raw files won't be replaced.

The Messy catalog raw files are used in the Tidy catalog.

Replace Menu

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Area #3 - Existing Photos

9) Open the Replace menu.

There are three choices.

#1 - Nothing

If you choose Nothing, Lightroom won't replace anything.

The metadata, develop settings, and photograph files in the Messy catalog are used in the Tidy catalog.

#2 - Metadata & develop settings only

If you choose this option, the metadata and develop settings in the Messy catalog are used in the Tidy catalog.

The photograph files are not changed.

#3 - Metadata, develop settings, & negative files

If you choose this option, the metadata, develop settings, and photograph files, in the Messy catalog are used in the Tidy catalog.

Import

10) Click Import.