Today’s Question: I know this isn’t a particularly important issue, but I’d like to rename my Lightroom Classic catalog. Is it OK to do that, or will it create problems in Lightroom?
Tim’s Quick Answer: You can indeed rename your Lightroom catalog file, but you do need to be careful to rename all of the applicable files correctly in order to avoid any issues.
More Detail: The first step to renaming your Lightroom catalog is to locate it on your hard drive. You can quickly navigate to the correct location from directly within Lightroom. From the menu bar choose Lightroom > Catalog Settings on Macintosh, or Edit > Catalog Settings on Windows. In the Catalog Settings dialog go to the General tab, and click the “Show” button to the right of the Location field. You’ll find the Show button near the top-right of the Catalog Settings dialog, and clicking it will cause a window to open in your operating system showing the location of the catalog folder. You can then close the Catalog Settings dialog and quit Lightroom.
Next, open the folder that contains your catalog files. Within that folder you’ll find a file with an “lrcat” filename extension. This is your actual catalog file. In addition, you will find one or more additional files that have the same base filename with some additional text.
For example, if your catalog is called “My Lightroom Catalog.lrcat”, you will also see a file called “My Lightroom Catalog Previews.lrdata”. If you want to rename the catalog file, you also need to rename the other files to match, while retaining the “extra” text that is part of those files (such as “Previews” in the example here).
So, in this example I might rename my catalog to “Tim Grey LR Catalog.lrcat”. I would then need to rename the Previews file to “Tim Grey LR Catalog Previews.lrdata”. If there are other files with the same base filename (such as if you have also built Smart Previews), you’ll need to be sure to rename those files in the same way, essentially only replacing the text that is common to all of the catalog and supporting files in that folder.
After renaming all applicable files, you can simply double-click on the file with the “lrcat” extension to launch Lightroom and open your newly renamed catalog.
If you have access to my “Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom” course, you can view a video lesson that outlines this full process in Chapter 3, Lesson 5, “Ranming Your Master Catalog”. You can find my “Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom” course on the GreyLearning website here: