I am taking a stab that someone in this group can help me with a VERY frustrating issue. I have used Adobe Photoshop Elements for years and through several versions. The program has two components: an organizer and an editor. The organizer is quite powerful, using a catalog system in organizing photos and using keyword tags, allows you to find photos fast. While not a great collection, I have approximately 70,000 photos organized and associated with keyword tags.
HERE IS MY PROBLEM. I am converting my computer system over to using a NAS (network attached storage) allowing me lots of storage, access to files nation wide with any device, and network access to files and folders among other reasons. I have discovered that if you move a photo from its original location, the associated keyword tags do not move with it. If I were to move my photos to my NAS, I lose all keyword associations and years of work.
I have been researching and searching and can find no way to accomplish the task. There are some posts on line saying how easy it is to move the catalog and the photos, which it is, but can find nothing about how to do it and retain keyword associations. Surely, Adobe didn’t create a program like this without considering the issue of how to move photos and catalogs around with the associated keywords.
Can anyone help, know anything about the procedure, or point me in the right direction to find the answer?
I have a similar setup - Media on my NAS and app on my C:\ drive.
First create a NAS share. I assume you know how to do that. Then, assuming Win 10, map that share to a drive in your Win machine via Windows File Explorer. Next open EO and do a Find > All Missing Files. Remove the missing files from the catalog (this will happen for example for files you moves outside of EO). It's also probably a good idea to File > Manage Catalogs - Repair at this point. Next do a Full backup using the Adobe backup (File > Backup Catalog). Even though it suggests that it is backing up the catalog only, it is actually backing up the media and catalog. The backup is huge - many GB (my 17K media backup is 90GB) so make sure you place it where you have the space.
The rest is from memory so if you have a problem, let me know and I will do it myself and give you detailed instructions. Once the backup is complete, do a File > Restore Catalog. The Restore will give you an option to place the media files in a new location; direct it to your mapped drive. I don't recall if you use the mapped drive or the NAS name (//NASName/NASShareName) for the restore but one of those will work. You will need to be patient - this is not a fast process.
Feel free to get back to me with any issues or questions.
Just did a backup and restore as a test. No problem with either but to amplify on the restore, you choose where to restore the catalog and media via a single option. Choose the location you ultimately want to place the media, presumably on your NAS. I was able to select it via the mapped drive rather than the NAS name but I didn't try to do it using the NAS name. Once you have restored the catalog and media, you can move the catalog to wherever you want via Windows File Explorer (you CAN'T move the media this way). Open the catalog in Organizer and off you go.
When you did the test, did you check that your keywords were still attached to the photos? I did a test this morning and no problem. The backup was created and I restored it to a new location. The few pictures I included were there, but the keywords were not. I imported the existing keyword file, but they are not attached to the photo so they do me no good.
I didn't check the keywords specifically but I have done this procedure before and they were all there. The restored catalog ought to be identical to the original one except for the location of the catalog and the media. All of the keywords and tags ought to be as they were before. All you have done with the backup and restore is create a copy of the catalog and the media in a different place. You shouldn't need to import the keyword/tag structure. If the keywords/tags didn't come through properly as to location and structure after the restore, I am perplexed. By the way, I assume when you reopened PSE, you went to Manage Catalogs and opened the new catalog in its' new location. If you just opened the organizer, you opened the pre-backup catalog and media in their original locations.
When you are comfortable that the catalog and media restored properly you can delete the old catalog and old media from their original locations though if you are like me you might want move them to some other lcation just in case.
I actually created a test catalog and imported a couple of photos and assigned keywords/tags to them. I backed up the catalog to the NAS server. I then restored the catalog and opened in the new location and the photo was there adn it showed the new location. It DID NOT have any keywords or tags associated with it. I see no way to do this and am quite frustrated with Adobe for sure for apparently omitting what should have been a very basic options.
I am well aware of creating shares and all the computer things associated with the issue. Backing up and recopy or move no problem. The problem is that when I open the organizer and the catalog after the backup and restore (or any other action), the keywords and tags are not associated with each photo. In fact there is no keyword or tag file. I did manage to find the "import keywor file" option, but that does not reconnect them with the photos. I have spent hundreds of hours creating keywords and dont want to lose it all.
I did find one reference on line about importing photos that had a question about importing keywords, but I do not have that option in Elements 2019. Cannot believe Adobe would have created a photo management program that is so convoluted and difficult to do basic things with.
Any other suggestions or ideas?
Yes, the file management capabilities of Organizer leave a lot to be desired. It is a constant complaint of those who use Organizer extensively and think that otherwise it is an excellent product.
Wasn't it that you can write the tags to the photos with CTRL-W ? Ik thought that tags are standard not written to the photo file.
edwinb97216184, yes you can use ctrl-w to place the keyword and tag data into the file metadata. However it isn't part of a backup/restore process. The restore should restore all the keywords and tags and their structure as they existed in the original backed up catalog. Having the kaywords and tags in metadata can be useful when creating a new catalog using some of the same media but that's another discussion.
The backup and restore process has always restored all the keywords and tags as well as the folder structure. The only difference is that if your library is situated on different drives or partitions, the restore can restore either on 'original location" or under a new master folder, the different original drives beeing replaced in the restore by new folders representing the drives. Anyway, not only tags and keywords are restored, but also groupings such as albums, stacks and version sets.
What is not clear in the original post is about moves: moving from within the organizer does keep everything. Moving from outside (explorer or finder for instance) logically breaks all links to the new location, that's true for catalog based management system like Lightroom and the Organizer.
So I agree with edwinb: you should not expect to find the keywords and tags written into the metadata header of the files if you have not done it on purpose (Ctrl W). They are already and always there in the catalog, as expected.
Just a word about the choice of not doing the Ctrl W automatically. There is a huge difference in speed if you assign a keyword to all files of a 100 000 items library or if you write tags to the files themselves. Even with sidecar files for raw files, no comparison. Plus there are files formats which don't support metadata correctly (videos, PNGs...)
Good clarification, Michel.
Not sure what yoou mean by using CTRL+W . You need to be careful with this statement: "The backup and restore process has always restored all the keywords and tags as well as the folder structure." It doesnt appear to ALWAYS do it unless I am missing some step somewhere. What I am sure about is that when you open the original catalog and backup the catalog to new location then restore to new location and open the new catalog, the photos are there, they show the new location, but they DO NOT have any keywords or tags associated with them. It is just like you imported the photos originally. All keyword links appear to be broken. This should not be this hard or should be better documented. It is a nightmare for sure and if someone who doesnt understand database operations just moves the photos, they will be VERY disappointed. I am quite familiar with database operations and still frustrated with the whole issue.
I guess the sad part is that if an Adobe Community professional is not able to do it, the rest of us are doomed. this entire simple process is so perverse that I will never use an Adobe product again to manage photos unless I have missed something simple, but been working on this for several days and have not found a solution yet. Sad I may have to toss out a considerable amount of work due to an oversight that should have been a quite obvious need in the design specs for the programmers.
We all need more explanations from you. I am not able to reproduce your issue and I bet that no other advanced users or Adobe staff can reproduce it. There must be some misunderstanding about your words 'moving keyword tags'.
- First, we assume that you are using the backup and restore process to migrate or move both your media library and your associated catalog, not a simple copy of folders trees or external backup software.
- We also assume you don't re-import files in a new catalog. This can only recover some kinds of metadata (tags, captions... not albums or stacks/version sets) and only IF you have issued the command 'write metadata to files, shortchut Ctrl W).
- We also assume that you don't mean to use the organizer function to save the catalog keywords structure (the 'container' of the categories and subcategories) as a text file to install the same structure in an other catalog.
- and we assume that you can't recover any kinds of tags, normal media keywords, places, faces...
Now, what you can easily test is that no tags or keywords are lost in the following use cases:
1 - migrating your catalog to another drive via the backup and restore process. See above link and try to create a very small catalog and to restore it in another drive or partition.
2 - moving files or subfolders from the organizer
3 - copying the catalog folder (location to be found from the menu Help >> System information), pasting it in another location and testing if it works exactly the same as the original.
If you mean something else, please explain. Same if you have issues and error messages in the above situations. If I don't understand, I am sure other users will.
Thanks for the breakdown Michael. Your assumptions are correct. I believe I have found the solution through experimentation and trial and error. What is missing or what I didnt see, is I backed up my Test catalog, from within the Organizer as you stated, except I backed it up and restored it to an external NAS server. I was attempting to open the catalog from the external server and although it would open and photos were there, none of the keywords were attached to them, but I did receive a message something to the affect that Adobe doesnt recommend running the catalog from an external device. When you selected OK, nothing apparently happened as the catalog did open. Suddenly a light seemed to turn on and I wondered what would happen if I did a straight copy of the newly restored catalog back to my desktop computer and attempted to run it. I did that and low and behold, all key words appeared with their photos. No idea if this is normal or not, but it appears organizer does not function quite right working from a networked server location and is soley intended to work from the desktop PC. I ran this test 2-3 times and it worked ok. Another thing I did not test was that the restored catalog was at the same location as the photos. This may be a problem, I just do not know, but Once I manually copied the newly restored catalog back to the PC, leaving my photos on the NAS location, all seems to work. I am going to attempt a full backup and restore of the working catalog today and see if my theory continues to pan out. This may be an anomally for glitch in my installation or something not everyone attempts to do, but as long as it works for me, I am a happy camper. I can live with the catalog file on my PC and just ensure there is a backup of it. Thank you for the help and inputs. I do appreciate it.