I have thousands of image files that I want to import into Lightroom. Some of the files are .nef, some are .jpg, .tiff, and other formats.

If I have file1.nef and also have file1.xmp in the same directory, when I import file1.nef it automatically brings in the data from the file1.xmp sidecar. But if I have file2.jpg and also file2.xmp in the same directory, when I import file2.xmp it does not bring in the metadata in file2.xmp. I believe this is because Lightroom knows that certain formats such as .jpg can contain their own metadata, so it looks in the file instead of looking for a sidecar.

Is there any way (perhaps a setting at import time or a general Lightroom setting) to force it to take metadata from file2.xmp when I import file2.jpg (either as the only metadata or as additional metadata beyond whatever metadata is in file2.jpg, either way being okay with me)?

UPDATE: In the meantime since asking this question I found: http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/43266/Reading-and-Writing-Photo-Metadata-Programmaticall

and I am now writing the metadata into my .png and .tiff files.

But it would still be nice to know if I didn't have to do this.

  • What program produced the .xmp files?
    – Zak
    Feb 6, 2012 at 3:48
  • 1
    I'm just writing them myself programmatically. They are in the same format as Lightroom exports. I have confirmed that with a .nef file I can successfully import one of my program-written sidecar files; the keywords are loaded correctly.
    – M Katz
    Feb 6, 2012 at 5:09
  • For what it's worth, exporting masters from Aperture is another way of ending up with JPEGs with XMP sidecars (Aperture can embed the IPTC data but some data is lost if you do that—the XMP includes more metadata than embedding). Jul 10, 2014 at 9:14

2 Answers 2


According to this post in the Adobe forums Lightroom (and Adobe Bridge) both ignore xmp sidecar files for JPEGs.


May I suggest you to use our Daminion as a workaround to transfer your metadata from sidecar xmp files:

1. Import your JPEG files into Daminion. The program will import your changes from sidecar files (it will check each file and compare modified date of an original JPEG with its sidecar xmp file)

2. Select all the imported files and select Action > Write To metadata. This action will write all the extracted metadata from step 1 back to your JPEG files.

  • Please check this action on a small portion of images before, to check if this works with you.
  • Single-user Daminion version is free.
  • Daminion can write metadata even back to NEF files (without sidecar files)
  • Any feedback is welcome.
  • 1
    Does Daminion have the option to combine both the metadata that's already in the .jpg files with metadata in the .xmp files and write them both to the .xmp file? (i.e., just add the .xmp data to what is already in the .jpg file)
    – M Katz
    Feb 6, 2012 at 19:33
  • 1
    Sorry, I missed your comment. No it's try to locate a sidecar file first, if if doesn't exist built-in XMP information is extracted (or other metadata (IPTC, EXIF) according to the MWG specification). For specific custom metadata handling scenarios ExifTool is the best approach. Feb 13, 2012 at 13:08

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