digiKam for DAM and darktable for developing images are a frequent twin. Obviously digiKam doesn't apply darktable's processing so it displays raw files (and any other) using embedded previews or own development settings.

I wonder if someone has found out a way to make digiKam actually use darktable output for previews? Possibly it's not that impossible with some tricks or a minor development on either side.

I thought about embedding previews produced by darktable into XMP for a given version and making digiKam use that. Or producing preview images in darktable with a given naming convention alongside the XMP and again making digiKam use them. Of course, raw files should remain intact.

What you think?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Indeed, it would be great to have this. In my whishlist, I also have bidirectional rating+tagging synchro. I don't think it will happen, unfortunately, since the development communities are pretty different. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 29, 2018 at 12:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, bidirectional rating works flawlessly, while tagging has some quirks. From my testing flat tags pose no problems, only tree tags have issues. All depends on how you set read/write namespaces in digiKam. \$\endgroup\$
    – gadamiak
    Jul 2, 2018 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


After giving it more thought I came up with the following integration idea, which extends the concept of sidecar files and is portable regardless asset type:

  • digiKam displays preview from a sidecar JPG file, which follows sidecar naming convention i.e. asset.ext.jpg. That would provide support for versions as well. In case of raw images that would mean a pair of a XMP and JPG sidecar files for each version.
    • The sidecar preview is handled by digiKam equally to sidecar XMP files (move, rename etc.).
    • If there's no sidecar preview, then fallback to display preview from the image itself as it does now.
    • On export operation, the source for export is the sidecar preview, not the original image. Actually, that's what you expect to have exported anyway.
  • The sidecar preview is exported from darktable using any preset the user likes, given the location and naming convention are preserved. The JPG export quality settings result in preview quality and export operations in digiKam.
    • Possibly, generation of sidecar preview files could be automated with scripting in darktable. It's my guess, as I didn't take a look on it yet. Anyway, even doing it manually would not be much of a trouble.

I'm going to make a feature request to digiKam developers. I hope it will have serious chance to be accepted as it extends the current concept of sidecar files evolutionary, not revolutionary.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I love this idea and would really enjoy using that feature. Can you give a link to the feature request you created. I'm happy to upvote it and add comments. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 12, 2018 at 19:09

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