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How do I synchronize multiple folders?

Participant ,
Nov 27, 2023 Nov 27, 2023

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I batch renamed files spanning multiple folders in a catalog.  The renaming could not be done from Lightroom because its tool is insufficient (that's another topic).  Yes I realize renaming from within Lightroom would prevent the files from going out of sync.  But that was not an option as regular expressions were the only way for me to do the renaming.

 

So now I have many images in many folders which are no longer found by Lightroom.  I need to synchronize all the folders containing the renamed files.  But I can only seem to select one folder at a time to sync.  If I [Ctrl] select more than one folder in the navigator window, I can right click and choose "Synchronize Folder..." from the context menu, but only the top most folder I selected  is actually synced.  In the main Library menu, the "Synchronize Folder..." option is grayed out unless only one folder is selected.

 

Is there a way to choose multiple folders to sync?  Or do I have to go through each folder one by one?

 

Lightroom_20231127230328.png

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Community Expert , Nov 27, 2023 Nov 27, 2023

You cannot select multiple folders at the same time to [synchronize folder], unless you select one 'Parent' folder that will synchronize all sub-folders within the 'parent'.

Anyway I am sorry to say that, because you renamed the photo files outside of LrC, I suspect you will need to individually re-link every separate single photo file, one-by-one, unless LrC is smart enough to automatically recognize 'nearby files' when you re-link one photo- which I doubt.

If you are prepared to lose all editi

...

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Community Expert ,
Nov 27, 2023 Nov 27, 2023

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You cannot select multiple folders at the same time to [synchronize folder], unless you select one 'Parent' folder that will synchronize all sub-folders within the 'parent'.

Anyway I am sorry to say that, because you renamed the photo files outside of LrC, I suspect you will need to individually re-link every separate single photo file, one-by-one, unless LrC is smart enough to automatically recognize 'nearby files' when you re-link one photo- which I doubt.

If you are prepared to lose all editing data, Collections, etc, etc, then synchronizing folders will import the files once again as if they were totally new imported files, and you will also be left with the 'old' file-named photos showing as 'Missing' unless you check the box to [Remove Missing photos from Catalog].

MISSING FILES & FOLDERS (Lightroom Queen)

 

Regards. My System: Lightroom-Classic 13.2 Photoshop 25.5, ACR 16.2, Lightroom 7.2, Lr-iOS 9.0.1, Bridge 14.0.2, Windows-11.

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Participant ,
Nov 27, 2023 Nov 27, 2023

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I appreciate your reply.  These are date based folders in 'yyyy-MM-dd' format.  The next level parent folder is the 'yyyy' year.  Given the number of files that do not need to be touched in the rest of the year folder, I'll go one by one through the necessary folders with renamed files.

 

My edits are not lost because I use sidecar XMP files to hold metadata.  The .xmp files were renamed along with their companion images.  After synchronizing and re-importing the file pairs, all the edit history is intact.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 28, 2023 Nov 28, 2023

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Well Done! You didn't mention you had the XMPs.

XMP files store the last edit state you made to a photo  (Not History though!), the fields that appear in the Metadata panel, and some other fields as well. They don't store the collections, stacks, or books they are in.

 

Regards. My System: Lightroom-Classic 13.2 Photoshop 25.5, ACR 16.2, Lightroom 7.2, Lr-iOS 9.0.1, Bridge 14.0.2, Windows-11.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 28, 2023 Nov 28, 2023

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Just to add, if the approach used is to import afresh the renamed files (making use of XMP metadata showing latest edits) then this does not automatically clean out these images from the Catalog under their former names. So their remembered editing, Collection membership etc will still be there until removed.

 

Another consideration may be, this procedure will have stripped away all virtual copies or proofing copies that you may have made, for these images.

 

For the future, if you settle on a file naming scheme that LrC cannot implement, you are in effect committing to submit all images to your external utility before import to the Catalog. If you can instead tolerate file naming that LrC can implement, within a folder scheme that LrC can implement, IMO you get a big pragmatic advantage.

 

Can you share (in principle) what particular naming scheme you want, and how your workflow might depend on that? It's always good to bring this back to real world cases. Perhaps something can be recommended that would be practically equivalent, without the particular difficulty that gave rise to this discussion.

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Participant ,
Nov 28, 2023 Nov 28, 2023

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Are you sure?  I believe synchronizing the folder does remove the "missing" (in this case renamed) images from the catalog.  It then adds the "new" (renamed) images and associated XMP metadata back into the catalog.  The loss of virtual copies is annoying.  That's not something I often make use of so it's an acceptable outcome for me.

 

Lightroom is able to generate my desired naming scheme.  I use a custom import renaming template to do that

jbinco_0-1701191964874.png

(Here's a screenshot of the tags.  The raw text cannot be copied out of the window.  Add that to today's list of annoyances.) 

 

The issue in this instance was that one camera used over multiple shoots was set to sRBG color space while another was set to AdobeRGB.  Using AdobeRGB adds an "_" (underscore) to the raw file names on most cameras while sRGB does not.  I've always wondered about the origin of that "standard".  So I had files intermingled with {SerialNumber}{Fileame} and {SerialNumber}_{Fileame}.  I normally use AdobeRGB so don't include another "_" in the renaming template.  I have changed my template to do that now.  The "_" delimiters in the final file names are important for later steps in my billing and archiving workflows.  I've modified those to handle consecutive delimiters so "ABC_123" and "ABC__123" will be handled the same when parsed.  That could introduce other issues if the EXIF camera serial fails to be read at import.  But that's going to have to be a tomorrow problem.

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Nov 28, 2023 Nov 28, 2023

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OK, yes, there are options within Sync Folder dialog that will need attention but it sounds as if you are on top of that part.

 

So far as renaming, I'd comment it is only usage of the whole filename that will give the bothersome result.

richardplondon_0-1701217134072.png

 

Perhaps consider this renaming token instead? It's the important distinguishing part of the starting filename. Even when used subsequently on a file that has already been renamed to scheme, the {original number suffix} token should usually stll be able to access the right info, retained in metadata.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 28, 2023 Nov 28, 2023

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quote

I appreciate your reply.  These are date based folders in 'yyyy-MM-dd' format.  The next level parent folder is the 'yyyy' year.  Given the number of files that do not need to be touched in the rest of the year folder, I'll go one by one through the necessary folders with renamed files.


By @jbinco

 

There should be no problem with synchronizing the parent year folder. Files that do not need to be touched will not be touched. It may take a bit longer to scan all folders, but it will be much faster than synchronizing several folders individually.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Participant ,
Nov 28, 2023 Nov 28, 2023

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While it technically would have been possible to sync a years worth of files just to fix the files from the speciifc days I needed to rename, the processing time and risk could be excessive.  It took LR many minutes just to analyze some of the individually effected folders.  Would have taken hours or days potentially to analyse the full collection.  I also try to avoid unnecessarily including files in batch processes that aren't absolutely needed.  There's always potential for errors and corruption.  My policy is to only touch the files I need to touch.

If the effected files covered 80% of the collection, I may have made a different decision.  As it was, they were only a small fraction of the collection.

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