I am exploring Digikam, but I don't see a option to just 'view' my pictures from my hardrive witouth importing them all to my computer.

Is this so, or am I missing something?

(I am looking for a free alternative to bridge to view and select pictures)

Thanks very mucho in advance for any help, Anna


3 Answers 3


from the first answer at https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/digikam/+question/53629

Sadly, digikam doesn't provide an option to set multiple folders as its album collection. But don't worry, there's a workaround: you can link other folders to you album folder. In the following example, I'm using /home/bob/bakabaka as the location of my image folder I want to link, and /home/bob/Pictures as the album folder used in digikam. In the console/terminal, type the following:

ln -s /home/bob/bakabaka/ /home/bob/Pictures/

This will create a symbolic link in your album folder. Now you can browse through the images in the first folder in digiKam.

Just in case you decide that you don't want it to show up anymore, you can always delete the link:

rm /home/bob/Pictures/bakabaka

This will delete the link, but leave the original folder intact.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Good thread resurrection and that would do it (assuming you like using Terminal - and who doesn't?). I'm not sure why you would, though - it's trying to find a way get around digiKam's main function. You're better off using a viewer to view and photo management software to manage your collection. Lots of no-cost and/or open source viewers out there. But you've given a good answer to what was asked, so have an upvote. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 2, 2023 at 12:14
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, @ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere. My rationale is being able to use DigiKam's more advanced functions like facial recognition, without having to upload my entire library to Google Photos and/or use proprietary software. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2023 at 19:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Makes sense, though my reading of the OP was they wanted to avoid creating a database. I've just played with an idea for all those Terminalphobes out there - it's also as simple as using a GUI file manager to cut/paste into (and out of) subfolders in the Root Album Folder - it takes DigiKam a few seconds at restart (or rescan) to add new files or remove deleted / moved files, but it'll do it (though I know the data doesn't actually move and what's going on behind the scenes is a lot closer to the symbolic link idea). But you've inspired an edit to my answer... \$\endgroup\$ Jul 4, 2023 at 8:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm 99% sure most Linux file browsers have symbolic link creation. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 9, 2023 at 19:31

I also did not found option to browse directories and view images in Digicam (w/o import).

If you search for alternative of Adobe Bridge you can try XnView MP which support the same list of operating systems as Digicam and its free for personal use. XnView also support RAW files (in some degree) so at least you can preview them.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Was interested by a possibly "slimmer" alternative to digikam Checking out the wiki xnview.com/wiki/… shows that XnView 'scans' your files and adds them to a database, ie automatically imports them to a catalogue. \$\endgroup\$
    – dmkonlinux
    Feb 19, 2022 at 4:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know neither Digicam nor Lightroom/Bridge in depth, but I think XnView's cataloging is different from their importing. XnView can be used with its catalog deactivated to look at one's photos— like a Windows Explorer specialized for photos. The catalog speeds things up though, storing thumbnails, ratings, keywords, etc. For what the OP is asking (and beyond), XnView does seem like a very good choice. \$\endgroup\$
    – KEF
    Feb 27, 2022 at 11:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KLE-France, I read in OP question: "free alternative to bridge to view and select pictures" and XnView cover perfectly those requirements. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 27, 2022 at 11:13

Digikam refers to itself as "photo management" software - it's really all about working with a collection rather than individual pictures.

The default editor in Digikam is "Showfoto", which can also be run separately without the Digikam database functions. It's not just a simple viewer - it's a pretty comprehensive editor - but it will allow you to open individual photos (or whole folders) without trying to create a database. Other viewer software is available.

If there is specific functionality in DigiKam you want to use, it's possible to keep your collection in one place and assign the Root Album Folder somewhere else. That way, you would be able to move the files you wanted there (or to a subfolder), work on them, and copy/cut/paste back to the main collection. DigiKam will find new images and remove deleted images when it restarts - though I would recommend keeping at least one picture under the Root Album Folder, even if it's just a placeholder, and some of the more advanced functions will need a database.

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Alternatively, if you're familiar with Terminal commands, @rokejulianlockhart's suggestion of symbolic links is a neater way to a similar outcome.


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