I'm pretty new to Lightroom Classic CC. I've used Lightroom CC for some time and this wasn't an issue, because the images were stored in the Creative Cloud. However for some reasons I've decided to switch to Lightroom Classic CC.

Here's what I'm trying to do. I have my "Photos Library" folder in sync with Microsoft OneDrive. I have this folder in two devices, my laptop and my desktop. I'm unsure however how to save the edits I make on my laptop to see (and continue) on my desktop if needed.

How does Lightroom Classsic CC keep track of my changes? The changes are embbeded in the RAW file? Should I have a XMP file for each image?

After some research I stumbled upon an Adobe article talking about catalogs. After reading it I'm still not sure on how catalogs apply to this scenario. Like I said, I'm pretty new to Lightroom.


1 Answer 1


Lightroom Classic CC uses a SQLite database called ‘the catalogue’ to store references to all images, metadata and edits. This database is meant to be used on one computer at a time.

To overcome these limitations, Adobe developed the Lightroom CC cloud based ecosystem. You basically have 3 options:

A: Sync the catalogue

Put the .lrcat file (and possibly the Smart Previews folder if you don’t synchronize all images) in some Dropbox or google drive. This is easy to setup, but you absolutely need to make sure that Lightroom is only opened on one machine at a time. Otherwise you risk corruption of the catalogue and loosing some or all of your edits.

B: Use mainly Lightroom Classic

With this approach, you need to declare one of your computers as main editing machine, and you need to do all imports there *. Then you enable sync with Lightroom CC (this works only for one catalogue at a time), and install the desktop version of Lightroom CC on your other machine. Keywords and color markings are not synchronized but all other edits are, so you can do editing on all your devices. This doesn’t eat up loud storage, as Lightroom Classic only uploads Smart Preview (Small editable images with reduced resolution). You can’t zoom in as far as with real raws but for most edits it should be fine.

* You can use a second catalogue while you're travelling, and then use the "import from other catalogue" option on your main machine. This way you can preserve all the edits, but you need to be careful with keywords and collections, to not pollute your main lrcat.

C: Use mainly Lightroom CC

You install Lightroom Classic on one machine, and use Lightroom CC for everything else, including importing of images. This costs cloud storage, but you can import less important images only to the desktop and just don’t sync them into the cloud. Again, Keywords and color markings won’t be synced between Cloud and Classic.

There is a lot of overlapping between option B and C, as they're depending on the same technology. You can use it e. g. to import and sync back images of your mobile phone back to your desktop computer.


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