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How to Use Lightroom's Catalog Export and Import Features

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Martin Evening shows step by step how to import/export Lightroom catalogs from one computer to another (for instance, from a desktop computer to a laptop and vice versa).

In this article, I’ll show you the steps for using the catalog export and import feature to copy a Lightroom catalog from a main computer over to a laptop computer.

Step 1

Figure 1 shows the computer that holds the master catalog collection of photos, where all the master images are stored on the internal drive. My objective here was to export the entire Lightroom catalog to a removable hard drive so that I could access it via a secondary computer. To do this, I highlighted All Photographs in the Library panel (to select all the catalog contents), and then chose File > Export as Catalog to display the Export as Catalog dialog box. I wanted to export the complete catalog, so I deselected the Export Selected Photos Only option. And because I wanted to export a lightweight version of the catalog, I deselected the Export Negative Files option. But I kept the Include Available Previews option checked, because I wanted to preserve these previews wherever possible (see Figure 2).

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