I've been shooting RAW+JPEG and I'm importing them together into Lightroom (i.e. the JPEG becomes a side-car of the RAW file).

trouble is, I can't seem to find a way to review the out-of-camera JPEG (as opposed to Lightroom's rendition of the RAW file). How can I switch view between different side-cars of the same image in Lightroom?

For what is worth, I need a way to view different side cars (e.g. the JPEG that accompanies the RAW image), not decoupling them. For one, having them linked makes the first review and deletion of unwanted files a lot easier as I do not have to delete twice.


Ok, after some research my conclusion is:

  • you can't see side-car files in Lightroom

and also that

  • Lightroom does not really support a RAW+JPEG workflow

By RAW+JPEG workflow I meant being able to:

  1. (at the user's discretion) Review both files together, while being able to tag both files at once (say, mark both files as Rejected with a single command).

  2. (at the user's discretion) review either file on its own and tag only one of them.

After browsing a lot of pages with non-sensical advice, my conclusion is that most people talking about using Lightroom for RAW+JPEG management never really tried to practice any of their advice.

For instance Laura Shoe on RAW+JPEG, her (mis)advice is to either manage both files separately or use auto-stacking. The trouble with Lightroom's auto-stacking is it does not allow you to tag all files in the stack with a single command. So you can't just go through a stack of 1 RAW + 1 JPEG and just hit X to mark both as excluded.

There is a user feedback thread at Photoshop.com asking for this feature.

In the mean time, people that need/want this are using Breezebrowser or Photomechanic to do this. Here is a user review of using Photomechanic for RAW+JPEG.

  • FWIW, I've been trying a demo version of PhotoMechanic, and it indeed does the trick.
    – Francisco
    Jun 5 '13 at 7:57

Edit: Actually it is fairly simple, but you have to thing about this before importing photos:


More here: http://laurashoe.com/2012/09/24/shooting-in-raw-jpeg-mode-lightroom/

If it comes to explicitly showing sidecar files in order to speed up selection, there is no such functionality. However there is a post on the subject on Adobe feedback website: http://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/lightroom_capability_to_display_embedded_preview

  • that seems silly. will it at least stack them? May 31 '13 at 10:26
  • 3
    Sorry. It is not that simple. Your answer amounts to "to see side-car JPEG files make them not a side car file.". I want my RAW+JPEG files linked together. It makes reviewing and discarding unwanted photos much easier.
    – Francisco
    May 31 '13 at 10:33
  • Well, then there is no such functionality in LR. However there are people complaining about lack of it: feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/… you can support and hope :)
    – user1681
    May 31 '13 at 11:07
  • I think the correct answer is that I had misunderstood what a side-car is supposed to be. The support for what I want in Lightroom is (for all I can tell) obtained by: (i) treating JPEG's as separate files on import; (ii) Use autostack by capture time setting the time interval to zero. I haven't tested it but it seems like it will do it.
    – Francisco
    May 31 '13 at 17:17
  • Yes this might do the trick. Well LR simple doesn't take advantages of sidecar files as well as internal RAW previews - we can't fight that :)
    – user1681
    May 31 '13 at 18:04

Actually, none of these answers point directly to a workable solution.

Firstly, ensure that the following preference option is selected :

Edit > Preferences > General > "Treat JPEG files next to RAW files as separate photos"

Now, irrespective of whether you immediately try to search for your JPEGs or after you close and reopen the application to search for JPEGs, files imported before selecting the above preference will not be visible until all or selected folders are synchronised.

For better control over the process, I'd prefer to synchronise each folder separately, rather than selecting all folders and synchronising them in one go.

Right click on a folder in Lightroom > Click on "Synchronise"

On the pop-up window that follows after you click "Synchronise", you may choose to open the import dialog if you want to select only wome JPEGs and not all. Alternatively, choosing to open the import dialog, will also give you the option of applying developing presets or metadata presets if any.

This synchronisation step will now be able to find the JPEGs as separate photos to be imported into the lightroom catalog. Once this process is complete, all the JPEGs will be instantly searchable from the catalog.

From this point onwards, any JPEGs imported into the Lightroom catalog, will automatically be treated as separate photos and will be visible in your collection.

The above procedure is required only for those files that were imported before selecting the crucial preference option of treating RAW and JPEG files as separate photos.

Additional information:

I prefer to additionally perform the following steps to ensure a hassle-free work flow :

  1. Select the desired folder
  2. Go to library filters > Metadata > Select 'file type' > select 'JPEG'
  3. Select all JPEGs using 'Ctrl+A'
  4. Right click on the selected folder and select 'Create a folder inside this folder'
  5. Name the folder as 'JPEGs'
  6. Since, all JPEGs inside the selected folder are already selected, the folder creation dialog will automatically select the option to include and move these files to the newly created folder.

I would then repeat the same steps for the RAW files as well and move them into a similarly named sub-folder.

I prefer to do this for better file management as well as to avoid accidentally working on a JPEG instead of a RAW file.


It's best to perform all the file and folder operations from inside the Lightroom, if performed at the operating system level, it will certainly create a havoc inside the Lightroom catalog and therefore must be avoided at all cost.


Thanks Rafal, Checking the box for Treat JPEG as separate does the trick.

There's one more thing/step (and I wish Adobe would make this an Automatic thing), and that is to Stack the JPEGs & RAWs. Select All > Photo > Stacking > Auto > Auto-stack by exposure time > set Time between Stack to 0:00:01 or 0:00:02

[I used 0:00:02 (vs. :01) because I had some auto bracketed photo sequences]

The other way I've seen people do this is to pre-organize RAWs and JPGs into separate sub-folders prior to import. Good Organization, but LR won't stack photos in different folders (or at least it wouldn't for me)

  • This feels like a comment rather than an answer.
    – user31502
    Jun 18 '16 at 20:49
  • @Mike This is a comment, not an answer. Please copy & paste the text into the appropriate comment field, and then delete this “answer.”
    – EJ Mak
    Sep 9 '18 at 1:02

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