Lightroom: Save flags in XMP

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When marking images as "rejected" this flag appears be be saved in the local catalog but not in the XMP files. If I copy the XMP files for a project to another machine and synchronize metadata the rejected photos don't show up as "rejected" on the new machine. Other changes - eg. flagging files as "picks", changing the star rating or adding a coloured flag are copied across via the XMP file as expected.
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Steve Brown

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  • confused

Posted 4 years ago

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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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That the expected behaviour, and flags aren't the only information that's limited to the catalog. Use Export As Catalog to transfer all of the information between computers.
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Jozsef Szasz-Fabian

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Not, that's the wrong way. Export as catalog is cumbersome, heavy and inappropriate. Not saving the flags in the .xmp is a bug.
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Steve Brown

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I don't want to create a big catalog file just to transfer a few flags between machines.

If star ratings and "picks" are saved in the XMP file then surely the "rejected" flag should be there as well? I see no logical reason not to include it.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I agree that it is inconsistent to include ratings and color labels but not flags.

This probably has its roots in versions 3 and earlier, in which flags were "local" to collections -- that is, a photo could have a different flag in each collection containing it. While it would be technically possible to store sets of settings in metadata, there would be lots of details making it much more complex than simply storing a "global" rating or color label.

LR 4 changed flags to be global, and according to Victoria's write-up at the time, one reason was "future compatibility with other applications". It would have made sense at that point to store the flags in metadata just like ratings and color labels.

(Note that a "pick" is a flag setting -- Photo > Set Flag > Flagged -- and is not stored in metadata.)
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Forum software managled my punctuation. Should read:

While it would be technically possible to store sets of [collection, flag] settings in metadata...
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Steve wrote, "I don't want to create a big catalog file just to transfer a few flags between machines."

Using File > Export As Catalog can be pretty fast if you just want to transfer metadata. Uncheck the options Export Negative Files, Build / Include Smart Previews, and Include Available Previews. On my machine, exporting a project with 260 photos as a catalog takes just a couple of seconds, and the catalog file is only 9.5 MB (about three times as large as the corresponding .xmp files). (On most machines, creating and copying 1000 files of 10K each (10 MB) is typically slower than creating one file that's 30 MB.)

To build on Victoria's comments, as a general mechanism, synchronizing just the .xmp files to transfer metadata has a number of issues that, while they may not affect you, would affect others wishing to transfer or synchronize metadata to another machine:

- LR doesn't use .xmp files for JPEGs, TIFFs, and DNGs.

- .xmp files don't capture a large amount of metadata, including: collections, stacks, virtual copies, develop history.

More generally, many, many people want LR to provide the ability to share catalogs and projects between computers and users much more seamlessly than the current mechanisms allow. It's the second most popular unimplemented feature request in this forum:

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
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Jean Carisiosa

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Hello I just want to ask also if the customize or sorting of photo in the catalog are also save on XMP files?
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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No, sort order is not stored in XMP.  In general, anything relating one photo to another (sort order, membership in collections, membership in stacks) is not stored in XMP.
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testerus

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Adobe Bridge saves Rejected as XMP:Rating=-1
I wonder why Lightroom can't do the same?
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Jozsef Szasz-Fabian

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Bug: Flags aren't saved to XMP files.

There is an annoying bug in Lightroom. Flags (flagged, rejected) aren't saved to the XMP file. I worked months (countless hours) to flag the images, then I saved the metadata and removed the cr2's form catalog for backup. I sadly discovered that all flags has gone!
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Tanya O

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I did a simple test to see if the changes I made in LR3 would port over to LR6. Everything ported over except the flags. That's pretty huge if you are traveling away from home/office and you set flags for photos to review and reject and then synchronize the folder in LR6 and no flags port over in the sync.  This is a huge feature in LR and should work.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"I did a simple test to see if the changes I made in LR3 would port over to LR6."

LR 6 will read and convert a LR 3 catalog, and in doing so will read all the flags. Does that not work for you?

"That's pretty huge if you are traveling away from home/office and you set flags for photos to review and reject and then synchronize the folder in LR6 and no flags port over in the sync."

LR provides other mechanisms that let you work on a laptop while travelling and then efficiently transfer that work to your main computer. In particular, you can use File > Export As Catalog and Import From Another Catalog.  See this Lightroom Queen article for details: 
https://www.lightroomqueen.com/how-to-lightroom-catalog-multiple-computers/

I'm not arguing against this feature request (I voted for it a long time ago) but rather pointing out that there are existing LR features that can accomplish what you want
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Tanya O

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When I upgraded from LR3 to LR6 things went haywire and long story short I had to recreate all of my catalogs in LR6 and manually transfer over changes I made in LR3. I've never used the export catalog feature before so I need to learn about it and test it. 

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Tanya O

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Synchronizing flag accepts and rejects between Lightroom w/XMP files.

I presently have LR 3 & LR 6 installed on my computer and wanted to test what exactly is saved in XMP files. Every change I made in LR 3 ported over (color label, star rating, keywords, Develop enhancements) except the Flagging.

LR 3 w/Flags


LR 6 no Flags


How can I get the flags to sync?

I plan to purchase a laptop to take with me when I travel to shoot and want to be able to sync/import everything including flags. My likely scenario would be new photos on the laptop that are then moved to my PC. However, if I flag photos on my laptop, I want to be sure that that information ports over to my PC.

Thanks
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Synchronizing flag accepts and rejects between Lightroom w/XMP files (merging).

Flags aren't stored in XMP, but you are doing this the wrong way. If you want to work on a desktop and a laptop, then don't try to sync these via XMP, but use 'Export as catalog' and 'Import From Another Catalog'. That will sync everything.

Note: This conversation was created from a reply on: Synchronizing flag accepts and rejects between Lightroom w/XMP files.
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Jozsef Szasz-Fabian

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This is the problem: flags aren't stored in XMP. Regardless of one what would do with the files/catalog/etc., flags should be stored in the XMP.
Another way of losing your work is to backup the .cr2 files with .xmp files, sadly, when importing back the .cr2 files in another catalog (that is created for the backup drive), the flags are gone.
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Rick A

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I do have a broader question: what is the purpose of an XMP file? 
Also, until Adobe doesn't save flags into the XMP, I've been using the "reg" colour label and/or (1 *) as my "rejection" flag when I need that information recorded in my XMPs for use in Bridge.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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The main purpose is to transfer raw develop settings and other metadata between different applications. Many applications can read metadata like keywords, only Adobe applications can fully read the develop settings written by other Adobe apps.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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It's essentially for cross-app compatibility, not just within Adobe but across a multitude of programs. https://www.adobe.com/products/xmp.html
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David Converse

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You could also use keywords. Flagged and reject. Lots of software reads keywords and you can search and filter for them. Keywords are written to most graphic file formats, not just XMP sidecars.

Bottom line, since you know this desired feature doesn't exist, it might be best to adjust your workflow to fit.
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Jozsef Szasz-Fabian

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Actually, this is what I'm doing before removing photos from catalog for backup purposes. Keywords like _flag_, _reject_ do the job.