I am using Adobe Lightroom 4 and shoot RAW+JPG. I normally post process all my images and then bulk export them back out to JPG when done overwriting the original JPGs but sometimes I might forget to export a day or two. Is there a way in Lightroom to display all the photos that have been modified but NOT exported?

I imagine there is someway to define a filter or smart collection to do this but have not been able to find the correct combination of fields to choose.

  • 2
    Maybe you should be using a publish service instead of exporting. – coneslayer May 3 '12 at 1:36

According to the Lightroom 4 Missing FAQ the only place that you can currently determine whether a photo has been exported is in the develop history, which is not searchable, ruling out filters/smart collections.

A hard drive publish service would keep track of unexported photos, but you would need to manually add the images to the service, and unlike the export dialog there is no option to automatically import the images back into the catalog, you would need to synchronize the folders containing the published images every time.

Until Adobe makes it possible to filter images based on being exported the best approach would seem to be either, as @Akram suggests, use a specific collection for images that need to be exported or have a 'not-exported' keyword added to your images when they are imported, which would permit you to create a smart collection of images that both have adjustments and have not been exported. Either way requires manual intervention to keep accurate however.

  • I really hope Adobe understands how useful this would be and are working on it. Doubt it obviously. – bafromca Sep 12 '13 at 13:04

Ok I think I found at least one fairly technical way to solve the problem. I realized that Lightroom stores all it's information in a SQL Lite Database catalog, the lrcat file. So with a little help from the following article which pointed me to some details as to where the file was stored and some tools to access it.


I was then able to craft the following SQL Query to return me all the images who have a last history entry that is NOT export, import, or print. That way if I just imported an image but didn't modify it, it would not show up in my list of files that I modified.

SELECT a.name, files.idx_filename
FROM "Adobe_libraryImageDevelopHistoryStep" a
INNER JOIN (SELECT image, MAX(dateCreated) LastDateCreated
FROM "Adobe_libraryImageDevelopHistoryStep"
GROUP BY image) x ON a.image = x.image AND a.dateCreated = x.LastDateCreated
INNER JOIN Adobe_images img
    ON img.id_local = a.image
INNER JOIN AgLibraryFile files 
    ON img.rootFile = files.id_local
where name NOT LIKE 'Export%' AND name NOT LIKE 'Import%' AND name NOT LIKE 'Print%'

Not a simple end user solution but works for me as a database guy.

  • That's fantastic. Can you script this inside Lightroom or is this sqlite only? – bafromca Sep 12 '13 at 13:04
  • As far as I know it can only be done in sqllite – Joe Solano Sep 12 '13 at 19:34

I believe there isn't a way to see this, I agree this is a wanted feature and I'm surprised that Adobe didn't include in LR4. Usually what I do is I create a collection, and add the photos that I want to export to this collection.

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