Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.


macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 2, 2011

How do I combine two Lightroom libraries on two separate computers?



macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
into one catalog on one computer using one referenced set of image folders?

To combine or merge catalogs — or to move photos from one catalog to another — you import one catalog into the other.

Choose File > Open Catalog and select the catalog that you want to be the master, or primary, catalog (the one you want to add to).

Choose File > Import From Another Catalog and navigate to the catalog that contains the photos you want to add from. Then, click Open (Windows) or Choose (Mac OS).

In the Import From Catalog dialog box, do the following:

Under Catalog Contents, select the folders that contain the photos you want to import.

Specify how you want to handle new and existing photos. For more information on these options, see Import photos from a different Lightroom catalog.

Click Import.

Repeat steps 1 – 4 for additional catalogs or photos that you want to add to the open one.

For a video on combining catalogs, see Julieanne Kost's Merging individual catalogs into a master catalog on Adobe TV.
Last edited:


macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2015
Key West FL
MCAsan has the basics down well.

When the libraries are on different machines there is an additional hurdle. The machine running Lr ("computer A") to do the merge must be able to see the library and image files that are on the other machine ("computer B"). You may be successful when both are connected across a network. If not, You may need to do an additional step before you begin those outlined in MCAsan's post. This additional step is export the library on computer B to an external HD that can be read by computer A, choosing a HD format that is compatible with both (exFAT is good for both Mac and Win). You now use the "copy" library on the HD as the Import source when doing MCAsan's steps.

Note that importing libraries does not import most of the Lr application's customizations. Any "Identity Plates" and such will need to be recreated in on computer A.

Also, using the Export from computer B allows you to export a selected portion of an existing library. That way you don't have to import the whole library into the library on Computer A when only a portion is needed.

One warning when computers B & A are using different OSs. It is quite possible to create a library on B that contains filenames that are not kosher on computer A. Occasionally some manual file and path name massaging on computer B will be required when import errors occur. I occasionally have issues when I export a section of my library at work (MacOSX 10.9) to an external HD (exFAT formatted) and attempt to import them at home (Win8.1). I've never had issues simply switching to the exported library on the external HD and accessing any and all files, but importing it into a library native to the Win8.1 machine has occasionally failed for file/pathname issues.
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.