During a folder overhaul between two catalogs I found myself ending up with around 7K images where the images lost their metadata. The metadata are still available in the old catalog, but the folder structure is completely different so it will take some time to manually locate each and every one. Furthermore, in the new catalogue I have added some new metadata. So that, when I update the metadata according to the old one these new ones are lost.

An optimal solution would be if I could sync the metadata, which are located in the .xml-files, between the two catalogs. Is that possible?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe the Syncomatic plugin can help? beardsworth.co.uk/lightroom/syncomatic I haven't used it though. Just have read the description, by chance. \$\endgroup\$
    – knb
    Aug 9, 2016 at 18:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ What platform are you working on? Solutions for Mac might not be the same as for Windows. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Sep 8, 2016 at 13:31

2 Answers 2


You said that have 7K images. Assuming the filename counter did not overflow, you could automatically match the .xmp files to the raw files by their name. I don't know if such software exists, but writing this in Java, Python or even C++ with boost::filesystem would be an easy task.

This doesn't really answer your question, but as people might land this page from a Google search, I will include this:

My approach to syncing catalogues over computers this is kinda geeky, but works. I have a github repository for my edits. The .gitignore file ignores all .NEF files (in my case, add whatever extension you need). I force Lightroom to write and update sidecar files (.xmp files) always.

When I'm done editing, I commit and push to the git repository. On the other computer, pulling, gets all the changes in. Lightroom will complain that the sidecar files don't match the data in the catalogue. Select all files that have changes (for example the whole album), and from the menu, choose to update the catalogue from the data in the sidecar files.


Step 0 is BACK UP everything.

First write out the metadata from the existing catalog to either the jpegs or the raw's companion xml files. Now import the old catalog into the existing catalog. You will probably have to deal with some conflicts but hopefully LR will sort it out. Now any unconnected images will have to be re-connected. Luckily LR does a good job of learning and will shorten this task.

Good luck, and remember back up everything.

You might want to ask the question of the Lightroom Queen or look up merging 2 catalogs. I am fairly sure my original answer is on point but check with the Queen as she is the expert and can be found at http://www.lightroomqueen.com/ Victoria is in the UK. Also Laura Shoe is extremely knowledgable and can be found at http://laurashoe.com/

One key point, your images are NOT in the catalog, the catalog simply points at the images.

  • \$\begingroup\$ As stated, we're talking > 7K images, so reconnecting that many manually ( it did do any reconnecting automatically) is something I REALLY want to avoid. Furthermore, the images themselves are already in the new catalogue (some with new edits etc), so re-connecting is not allowed since only one copy of each file is allowed in a catalog. \$\endgroup\$
    – ego_
    Jun 14, 2015 at 21:47

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