I've spent some time in Lightroom setting up tag synonyms and hierarchies to get a structure I'm happy with:


And I really want to include most of these synonyms in the exported images. However, when I export an image and re-synchronize my library folders, any synonyms I set up get imported as new tags:

enter image description here

Is there a way to export tag synonyms but avoid importing them back as separate tags?

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    \$\begingroup\$ what exactly does it mean "re-synchronize my library folders"? The answer below is about reimporting but I guess it is not the same. My workflow for export is that it is "a one-way ticket". Exported photos never come back to LR. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 23, 2016 at 22:41

2 Answers 2


Where are the synonyms being stored in the exported images?

In general on export Lr is gonna write all the keywords and synonyms into a flat list. IPTC provides for keywords, and that's it. Keyword hierarchies are actually stored elsewhere in the XMP metadata, and not all applications can even read them.

I'd wanna look at the XMP in the exported file, but I'd surmise it's just a comma separated list of all that. So when Lr imports that list, it treats the synonyms it finds as a new keyword.

Exporting and then reimporting isn't a normal Lr workflow, so I expect they didn't account for this. I would think simply turning off the option to export synonyms would solve your problem, since they already exist within Lr.

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    \$\begingroup\$ agree, exported photos should not come back to LR \$\endgroup\$ Nov 23, 2016 at 22:44


If you have these selected to export, they are now actual keywords. That Help document explains about excluding keywords from export.

I don't get the part about export and resynchronize. What exactly are you doing?


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