Photography / Lightroom Tutorials

How To Move A Lightroom Catalog

How to move a lightroom catalog
Published 14 August 2020

Last updated on 5 July 2022

Wondering how to move a Lightroom catalog? Then you are in the right place. Moving a catalog is quite important and not a hard thing to do, but it can be necessary.

Let’s first talk about what is a Lightroom catalog. Well, it’s basically a database with all the data and edits of your images. Of course, it’s important that you store it safely and always have access to it. You can move it from one computer to another, or from your computer to an external drive if you want to keep a back-up of all your files.

Let’s go ahead and take a look at how to move a Lightroom catalog so you get a very clear image upon the facts.

1. Create A Back-Up

This is a very important rule whenever you make a change to any important files. Make sure you create a back-up and have everything intact in case something goes wrong in the process.

You can see where your catalog is saved by going to “Edit” and then “Catalog settings,” or simply pressing “Ctrl+Alt+,” on your keyboard, then simply go to that folder and make a copy of it.

How to move a lightroom catalog

2. Decide Where You Want To Move It

You can move your catalog to a new drive or folder. If you want to move it to a new drive, then plugin that drive and create a new folder for it. 

3. Move Your Catalog

Before you do this, make sure that Lightroom is closed. If you don’t close it first, you will get the classic error that a program is using that file. Simply move it on your new drive or folder as you would with any other file. 

4. Open Lightroom

When you first open Lightroom, you will get an error saying that your catalog couldn’t be found, and offer you the possibility to create another one or choose a different catalog. That’s not a problem, as all you need to do is tell him again where your catalog is located.

How to move a lightroom catalog

Click on “Choose a Different Catalog” and point it to the location. You want to select the “.lrcat” file for this. 

Right now, your catalog should be moved to the new location, and all your data saved, from ratings, to edits. 

If you wanted to move your Lightroom catalog to a different computer, you should make sure that you are logged in with the same account, so it will back up all your files in the process. 

Since the last update, now both Lightroom Classic and Lightroom save all your files in the cloud. Before that, Lightroom Classic was independent, so you had to go through multiple steps if you wanted to access your files on more than one device. 

The good part is that now, everything can be done in seconds as long as you have a stable internet connection, and you also know how to move a Lightroom catalog.

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As a digital marketer, Andreea also has an incredible passion for photography, so she's here to give you all the information you need on the topic!

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