How to Export Adobe Lightroom Catalog to a Stand-Alone Catalog

How To 6 min
Watch the steps to using the catalog feature to export and manage images with Adobe Lightroom Classic.

Curtis Crow, the Photo Pro, demonstrates how to export a catalog from Adobe Lightroom to a stand-alone catalog. Exporting a catalog allows you to move a set of images with all of your work. You can choose images from folders or collections to upload to DVIDS, move to another computer or pass off to a colleague. Exporting catalogs with the appropriate settings is vital to back up and archive your work for later use.

Backing up your work is crucial to keeping the original RAW files. It is very important to double-check the contents of your folder before deleting any files. Follow along with the steps below in Lightroom Classic.

  1. Turn off any filters, e.g., all 5-star photos.
  2. Make sure you have selected all photos.
  3. Double-check you're not in any collections.
  4. Choose the file you want to export.

  1. Open the File menu and click Export as Catalog.
  2. Determine where you want to save your exported file.
  3. Name the folder.
  4. Wait for the export to complete. Depending on the speed of your machine, this process can take up to 30 minutes.
  5. Check the file location and determine that the export has occurred.

  1. Relaunch Lightroom with this catalog. The Back Up Catalog dialog box appears.
  2. Select Back up to ensure that any future changes will be made within the catalog. Note: In newer versions of Lightroom, you can select the preferred interval to back up.
  3. Move catalog into an external hard drive, internal hard drive or cloud if desired.


Adobe product screen shots reprinted with permission from Adobe Inc.

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