Opening an Old Lightroom Catalog


Today’s Question: After reading how to merge several Lightroom Classic catalogs, my friend asked if she could merge a couple of pre- Classic catalogs to a new Classic catalog. My guess is that she would need to open and update the old catalogs to Classic first. Would that be the way to go?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can indeed merge a catalog from an older version of Lightroom Classic (including versions before the name was changed to “Classic”), into your current catalog. You simply need to upgrade the old catalog first, as you suggested, which is a very simple process.

More Detail: As I’ve addressed in the past, it is possible to merge multiple Lightroom Classic catalogs into a single “master” catalog, which can greatly help to streamline your overall workflow.

Fortunately, even if some of your catalogs were created with older versions of Lightroom Classic (even from before “Classic” was added to the name), you can still merge those catalogs into a master catalog that is already updated to the latest version of Lightroom Classic.

The only “extra” step involved in the process is to upgrade the older catalog to the format for your current version of Lightroom Classic. Rest assured, by the way, that as part of this process a new catalog will be created, so that your older catalog will remain intact as a backup.

To upgrade a catalog, all you need to do is open it with the current version of Lightroom Classic. So, go to the menu and choose File > Open Catalog. Navigate to the location the older catalog is stored, and open it. You will be prompted to upgrade the catalog, and once that process is completed you can merge the catalog into your master catalog.

For more details on how to upgrade catalogs, merge catalogs, and otherwise cleanup your workflow in Lightroom Classic, check out my course “Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom” in the GreyLearning library here: