iPhoto Library Manager > Help > Merging libraries

Merging libraries

iPhoto Library Manager allows you to merge the contents of multiple libraries together into one, while preserving all your albums, events, and photo metadata. For a full list of what items can and can't be copied (which varies depending on what version of iPhoto you're using), look here.

To begin a merge, click the "Merge Libraries" toolbar button, or select "Merge Libraries" from the Library menu. This will present you with the following view for setting up your merge:

There are four main parts to setting up your merge

Choose Source Libraries

To specify one or more libraries whose contents you would like to merge into another library, drag the libraries from the library list on the left and drop them onto the area labelled “Choose Source Libraries”

Choose Destination Library

Then, you must specify what iPhoto library you want to receive all the photos and other content you're merging. You can either drag one of your existing libraries to where it says "Drop destination library here", or if you wish your existing libraries to be merged into a brand new library, click the "Merge into a new, empty library" button. You will then be prompted to choose a name and location on your hard drive to store the new library. If you wish to change this location later, just click the "Change location" button to do so.

Duplicate Handling

When merging libraries, iPhoto Library Manager provides an option to only import a single copy of any photos which are duplicates and appear multiple times among the libraries being merged together. If the “Eliminate “duplicates while merging checkbox is off, then all photos will be imported, regardless of whether they are duplicates. Similar to when using the Find Duplicates command, you can specify a list of criteria for iPLM to use when deciding which photo from a group of duplicate photos should be kept. You can read more about how these criteria work in the duplicate rules chapter of the manual.

Note that unlike when using Find Duplicates, you do not specify an actions (e.g. flagging, moving to trash, etc.) when merging, since iPLM is simply using the rules to choose a single photo to import from each group of duplicate photos. You can read more about how this works in the Handling Duplicates When Copying section of the manual.

You are also given some options to customize how iPhoto Library Manager determines that two photos are duplicates of one another. You can read more about these in the Choosing keepers with duplicate rules section.

When merging into an existing iPhoto library, if a group of duplicate photos contains one photo that is already in the destination library, that photo will always be the one to be kept rather than a photo from any of the source libraries being merged. The reason for this is because there is not a reliable way to replace an existing photo with a different one in iPhoto, including making sure that photo appears in the correct place in albums, keepsake items, web galleries, and other various aspects of the library structure. The best way around this limitation is to merge into a new library rather than an existing library.


Some other options are configurable when setting up your merge:

Once you have set up your merge, click the "Preview" button to advance to the preview screen, where you can see what the results of your merge will look like.

Merging tips and tricks

<< Importing new photos into a library
Fat Cat Software - iPhoto Library Manager Help - Copying albums and events

iPhoto Library Manager > Help > Copying albums and events

Copying albums and events

When keeping your photos separated in multiple libraries, you sometimes need to copy a set of photos from one library to another. With iPhoto, the only way to do this is to export the photos from one library and then import them into another. However, in the process of doing this, you lose all the data you've worked to assign to your photos, such as titles, dates, keywords, ratings, places, and faces. iPhoto Library Manager provides a way to copy photos directly from one library to another without losing this valuable information.


To copy albums or events to another library, select them in iPhoto Library Manager, then drag them them onto the library you would like to copy them to. iPhoto Library Manager will first collect the information about those photos from the source library, and then import those photos into the destination library and restore all the photo information as it was before. If a photo has been modified in the original library, then the original version of the photo will also be transferred to the destination library, so that the "Revert to Original" command in iPhoto will work as expected. If you drag more than one album at once, and a photo belongs to more than one of those albums, the photo will only be imported once, but will be added to all the appropriate newly created albums in the destination library.

Note that you cannot drag albums from iPhoto itself into iPhoto Library Manager - you must drag the albums from iPhoto Library Manager's own window in order to perform a copy. Also, only regular albums, folders, and smart albums can be copied between libraries. Copying “keepsake” items like calendars, books, and slideshows, or copying web galleries between libraries is not supported.

Unregistered users are limited to only copying albums/events totalling no more than 20 photos.

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© Copyright Fat Cat Software 2010. Website by Brent Cameron Design