Combining Catalogs

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Today’s Question: Is there a way to combine the Lightroom catalogs we already have that are separate?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can merge multiple Lightroom Classic CC catalogs into a single catalog. The key is to use the “Import From Another Catalog” command to import photos and the information about those photos into the catalog you’ve designated as the “master” catalog.

More Detail: While the process of merging catalogs in Lightroom Classic is rather straightforward, it is very important to be organized in this process to avoid problems.

You’ll first want to take an inventory of your catalogs, and make sure those catalogs are in good condition. In other words, you won’t want to have missing photos and other problems in your catalogs before merging them. I also recommend making sure you have everything backed up completely, including your catalogs and your photos.

You then want to identify which catalog will be your “master” catalog, and open that catalog in Lightroom. Then make sure the storage devices for all of your photos (for all catalogs) are connected to your computer, so that all photos will be available.

Finally, choose File > Import From Another Catalog from the menu. This will enable you to import photos from another catalog into the current catalog. I recommend using the option to add other photos where they are rather than moving them, just to avoid added complexity. You can always move photos later after merging catalogs.

You can repeat the “Import From Another Catalog” command as many times as needed, based on how many catalogs you need to merge.

Note that the process of merging catalogs and otherwise streamlining a “messy” workflow in Lightroom is covered in great detail in my “Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom” video course, available in my GreyLearning library here:

https://www.greylearning.com/courses/lightroom-mess