5 Replies Latest reply: Jul 10, 2010 3:42 PM by Old Toad
Robert Stone Level 2 (260 points)
I have a main iPhoto library with ~60K pictures and would like to be able to do imports from my cameras to my MacBook Pro for preliminary sorting and cropping, then export to DVDs and import from there to the main library (this also serves a backup function, of course). Is there a way to transfer the list of keywords from one library to another? I strongly suspect the answer is "no" but would love to hear it be otherwise. Thanks for any input.


Intel iMac; MBP 2.2, G4 2x800 MHz, PowerBook G4 1.5...mult...Apple][+, Mac OS X (10.6.4), Sony HDR-HC5 HD Cmcrdr, Rebel T2i, SD 750, SD 550, Epson V700 Perfection Scnr
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (136,665 points)


    If you take one pic and attach all the keywords to it then transfer it over, then those keywords will now be in the other Library.

    As a workflow that's quire expensive. It would be less so to use iPhoto Library Manager to move the pics/albums/Events plus all associated metadata between libraries. WIth the money you'll save on DVDs you can then purchase an external HD - a better back up system.


  • Robert Stone Level 2 (260 points)
    Thanks, TD

    I had no idea that would work (transferring a picture would transfer the keywords), I thought I had tried it but maybe on an earlier version.

    You are right about some cost for the DVDs but at 20-30 cents apiece and getting 500 or so pictures on each for me it is worth it to have another form of backup. I also have twin 2 TB external drives that I keep everything on / backed up plus a 1 TB drive I periodically copy to (about quarterly) and take to work so it is off site. You might well call me paranoid, but you'll never call me pictureless! Thanks again for the information - it is great info.

  • Old Toad Level 10 (133,355 points)

    Don't forget that to export a photo out of iPhoto with the keywords embedded you'll have to select either jpeg or tiff format and *check the checkbox to include the Keywords and Titles*. That way the mule file will contain all of your keywords and will bring them into the library with it when it's imported.

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    TIP: For insurance against the iPhoto database corruption that many users have experienced I recommend making a backup copy of the Library6.iPhoto (iPhoto.Library for iPhoto 5 and earlier versions) database file and keep it current. If problems crop up where iPhoto suddenly can't see any photos or thinks there are no photos in the library, replacing the working Library6.iPhoto file with the backup will often get the library back. By keeping it current I mean backup after each import and/or any serious editing or work on books, slideshows, calendars, cards, etc. That insures that if a problem pops up and you do need to replace the database file, you'll retain all those efforts. It doesn't take long to make the backup and it's good insurance.

    I've created an Automator workflow application (requires Tiger or later), iPhoto dB File Backup, that will copy the selected Library6.iPhoto file from your iPhoto Library folder to the Pictures folder, replacing any previous version of it. There are versions that are compatible with iPhoto 5, 6, 7 and 8 libraries and Tiger and Leopard. Just put the application in the Dock and click on it whenever you want to backup the dB file. iPhoto does not have to be closed to run the application, just idle. You can download it at Toad's Cellar. Be sure to read the Read Me pdf file.

    NOTE: The new rebuild option in iPhoto 09 (v. 8.0.2), Rebuild the iPhoto Library Database from automatic backup" makes this tip obsolete.
  • Pat Schafer Level 1 (0 points)
    Sorry to hijack this thread - but in my iPhoto ('08) when I select file/export ..jpeg ... the File Export dialogue box only shows 3 tabs - file export, web page and quick time; not the 7 tabs shown in your example Old Toad - what an I doing wrong.

    What I want to do is this - find the best way to move an entire iPhone library to another system retaining filenames, titles, and events. The 'other system' is on the other side of the world and I don't want the expense of buying an external drive. There are about 2000 photos in RAW format which I would also like to retain. Note the 'other' iPhoto library already has many 1000's of photos. I have iPhone LM and the 'other' system could license it as well if this helps.

  • Old Toad Level 10 (133,355 points)
    Those tabs are due to 3rd party plugins I've added to iPhoto.