I use Lightroom and Photo Mechanic. When I make changes in Photo Mechanic (ratings, colour labels, etc.), the changes are written to an XML file. Often I make hundreds of changes.

In Lightroom, it is slow and cumbersome to make LR load the XML and determine that the metadata status has changed.

Can I somehow force Lightroom to read all or some of the images to see that there are changes?

3 Answers 3


Select any level under "Catalog" (i.e. "All Photographs"); or any level under "Folders" or "Collections," and press CMD-A (mac)/CTRL-A (win) to select all images. Then select menu Metadata>Read Metadata from Files. This will prompt you with a warning about overwriting the catalog... select "Read," and go take a break if there are a lot of images to update the catalog for.

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You can, of course, manually select fewer images rather than all of them at that level (e.g. click>shift click).

For any level under the "Folders" tree you can also just select the folder and right-click>Synchronize Folder, then select "Scan for metadata updates" in the pop-up; there's no warning dialog this way and it's a couple clicks shorter.

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When you do a sync of a library folder you get a popup that looks like this:

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If you select 'Scan for metadata updates' you should be able to update an entire folder's worth of image metadata...

  • Sadly, this option is not an option for my catalogue. Perhaps this will work for those who synchronize catalogues.
    – Blasttmann
    Dec 1, 2022 at 14:54

@BobT's answer got me diving deeper into the Metadata menu in Lightroom Classic.

The item "Read Metadata from File" is how Lightroom Classic accomplishes a comprehensive metadata refresh.

  1. Select all items you wish to refresh metadata for.
  2. Select Metadata>Read Metadata from File

Read Metadata from File menu item

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