Scenario: New Catalogs & Missing Keywords

My Own Scenario : New Catalogs.

I started using Lightroom, many many years ago. I created my main catalog probably nice or 10 years ago. This catalog has evolved, I’ve added Keywords to nearly all the 100,00 photos, I’ve created collections for gathering all sorts of information.

Then, about 6 years ago, I started portrait photography and so created a new catalog with it’s own unique set of keywords. I was working like this for many years, until the inevitable happened. Full Hard drives. Both my external drives for Portraits and Main photos filled up.

So, I purchased a new drive, a big capacity drive and created new catalogs for both my types on photos. Brilliant, I was working again. However, I quickly realised, that all my careful created keywording and Smart Collections were on my other drives in the original catalogs.


Lightroom, very cleverly give you a feature for transferring all your keywords from one catalog to another.

  • Open your original catalog.
  • From the Lightroom dropdown menus, select, Metadata > Export Keywords and choose what to call it and where to save it.
  • Close this catalog and open the new one. Now inside the new catalog, choose, Metadata > Import Keywords. Select the file you just saved.
  • Your keywords are now imported and showing in the new catalog. You can deleted the text file you used to import from.

So, now your catalog has the same keywords as the old catalog. This obviously works independently to the other catalog, so don’t expect newly created keywords to appear in the old catalog.

Smart Collections exports work in a similar way, but if you want just the settings, you need export each collection individually, otherwise the other option is to Export this Collection as a Catalog, and I didn’t want to copy the photos as well, just the settings, for which the first method worked nicely.

If you know of any other method, please let me know.

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