Mismatched Catalogs

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Today’s Question: Can one merge catalogs from different versions of Lightroom easily, such as a Lightroom 4 catalog into a Lightroom Classic catalog?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Sort of. While you can’t directly merge a catalog from an older version of Lightroom into a catalog from a more recent version, it is easy to upgrade an older catalog and then merge it with your master catalog.

More Detail: The process of merging two Lightroom catalogs is rather straightforward, though it is important to be organized in your approach to this task. However, the two catalogs must both match the version of Lightroom you’re using for the destination catalog. That means, for example, that a Lightroom 4 catalog would need to be upgraded before it can be merged with a Lightroom Classic CC catalog.

To upgrade a catalog to the latest version of Lightroom, you simply need to open the outdated catalog with the current version of Lightroom. You can choose File > Open Catalog from the menu, navigate to the folder where the outdated catalog is stored, and double-click on the name of the catalog (the file with the “lrcc” filename extension) to open it.

When you open an outdated catalog, Lightroom will prompt you to upgrade the catalog. A new catalog file will be created as part of this process, so the older catalog will be retained as a backup. When the upgrade process is complete, you’ll be able to review the updated catalog in Lightroom.

After upgrading the catalog you want to merge into your master catalog, you can re-open the master catalog in Lightroom. Then use the “Import from Another Catalog” command to effectively merge the other catalog into your master catalog. When the import is completed, all of the photos and metadata from the other catalog will be included in your master catalog.

My video training course “Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom” includes lessons on upgrading outdated catalogs, merging catalogs, and much more. You can get this course along with all of my other Lightroom courses with the “Mastering Lightroom” bundle available through GreyLearning here:

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