LR4 – Importing an Old Catalog into Lightroom

The Problem

The Adobe help site offers INCOMPLETE information on how to combine an old LR4 catalog with a new LR4 catalog.  I’ve collected a complete set of steps below.

NOTE:  All catalogs must be created in the SAME LR VERSION in order to be combined.


  1. Open LR4 using the NEW CATALOG where you want to add/import new images.
  2. From the top-line menu, Select FILE > IMPORT FORM ANOTHER CATALOG …
  3. A window titles IMPORT FROM LIGHTROOM CATALOG opens …
    1. Navigate to the LR catalog (*.lrcat) that you want to import from
    2. Select the CATALOG you want to import from
    3. Click on the OPEN button
    4. A window opens showing the Catalog Content00  Catalog Content import screen
      1. Select A LL FOLDERS — or — just the folders/files you want to import
      3. Click IMPORT button
  4. A new dialog box titled IMPORT FROM CATALOG opens with a progress bar.When done, the Catalog information has been imported into your NEW CATALOG, but the IMAGES are still in their original location.  You next need to point the new catalog entries to the location of the images.
  5. In LR4, find the FOLDERS panel on the lower left side of the screen.01--Folders-screen
    If the OLD CATALOG was located on a different drive than the NEW CATALOG, you will see the drive with the OLD CATALOG listed separately in the FOLDERS PANEL.

    1. Navigate to the drive, and highest level folders that you just imported from the OLD CATALOG.
    2. These entries are probably GRAYED OUT with a questions mark on the folders.Folders-1
      The GRAY and the QUESTION MARK FOLDER indicate that there are no images in the folder at this time.  This is because the LR CATALOG information has been imported, but no images have yet been added to the catalog.  That is the next step !!!
  6. RIGHT-CLICK on the highest level folder that is GRAYED OUT, and a submenu will appear.
    1. Select FIND MISSING FOLDER …   on the submenu
    2. A new window opens titles FIND MISSING FOLDER.
    3. Navigate to where the IMAGES are located that correspond to the newly imported catalog entries.
    4. Select the FOLDER which contains the IMAGES that correspond to the newly imported catalog entries.
    5. Click the SELECT FOLDER button.
  7. You should now see the catalog and images imported into the NEW CATALOG.02  Folders 2
  8. Repeat for all remaining folders are required.
  9. SUCCESS — You are now DONE!
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Mark Bobb

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