8 Replies Latest reply: Aug 7, 2013 8:57 AM by Kirby Krieger
dinky2 Level 1 (10 points)

Hi all,


Since a few days I am using Aperture on my iPhoto11 library. That library already had a lot of keywords, which I now have organized in Aperture using the hierarchical keyword feature. Now I would like to remove the keywords that have become parent keywords from the images (they were put there by an iPhoto plug-in) in order to keep only the lowest level keywords physically assigned to the photo's.


My idea was to do a keyword search on any of the parent keywords and then remove these keywords from the selected photo's. Unfortunately searching on a parent keyword also selects photos that do not physically have that keyword assigned to them but have it assigned implicitely because of the hierarchical structure.


Suppose I would have the following keyword hierachy:







I would like "Duck" to be the only keyword actually assigned to a photo. Because of my legacy iPhoto library many "Duck" pictures have the other keywords assigned to them as well. To remove them, I did a keyword search for "Nature", the idea being to then remove "Nature" from the selected photos. Unfortunately when I do this keyword search, it will also show pictures that do not actually hold the Nature keyword but have it implicitely assigned because it holds one or more of the child keywords.


What I would like is to show ONLY the images having the Nature keyword actually assigned to them. This option seems to be missing from the keywrod search dialogue, although the user manual suggests it would be possible, but in my opninion the user manual is wrong here. Under "Searching by Keyword" it states that the option "are applied" would show all images that have THE SELECTED keywords. This is not true: it will show all images that have ANY keyword applied. It is not even possible to select a keyword if you chose this option. All other options show the behaviour as described above.


So, does anybody know how I can select only images holding a particular keyword that is actually assigned to those images and ignore the hierachy ?

Aperture 3, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.3)
  • léonie Level 10 (90,960 points)




    So, does anybody know how I can select only images holding a particular keyword that is actually assigned to those images and ignore the hierachy ?


    that is not possible - by assigning "duck" as keyword you do actually assign all keywords in the hierarchie.


    But if you want to remove the keywords "Bird","Fauna", "Nature", you do not need to find the images, you can erase the keywords using the keywords HUD, if that is what you want.


    Do you really want to convert your hierarchical keywords to a flat list of keywords? Then launch the Keywords HUD (from the main menu bar: Window > Show Keywords HUD  ⇧H)), locate your keyword "Duck" and drag it to the top of the list, outside all other keywords. You will be prompted, that the keyword is in use and if it should be changed in all versions. Confirm this.

    Proceed to do this with other keywords you want to keep. Then delete the parent keywords, once all child keywords have been removed. This will remove them from the images.

    Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 00.19.38MESZ.PNG




  • dinky2 Level 1 (10 points)

    Thanks for the response.


    No, I definitively do not want to get rid of my hierarchical keyword list. Not afrer I spent hours and hours to create one.

    My question could be rephrased: how do I select only the images explicitely having a keyword applied to it (and not the ones having it implicitely assigned by the hierarchy) ?


    According to the Aperture user manual this should be possible using the "are applied" search option, but either the manual is wrong or the software has a bug, anyway, it does not work as described.


    My library has been created by iPhoto and the keywords have been assigned using the Bullstorm Keyword Manager plugin, which supported hierachical keywords. Because iPhoto does not support hierachical keywords, the implementation was done by applying all parent keywords to an image. In my example: an image of a duck would have the keywords Nature, Fauna,Bird and Duck assigned to it.


    Now I have moved to Aperture, I want to use the built-in hierarchical keyword option and to maintain the flexibility of moving keywords around in the hierarchy I want to get rid of all parent keywords IN THE IMAGES. In my example: keywords Nature, Fauna and Bird should be removed from the images. The easiest way to do that would be to make keyword selections using the parent keywords and then remove the keywords. That in itself works, but now I am presented with problem #2: Aperture cannot handle actions on thousands and thousands of images. I have tried, but it will hang my complete system forcing me to reboot.

    Some keywords are assigned to many many thousands of images and removing them must, unfortunately, be done in chuncks of, say, 500 images.  So I must make the keyword selection multiple times and I had expected to see an empty selection eventually, but now I am presented with images that do not have the keyword physically assign but inherit it from the hierarchy. So I cannot see from which image to remove the keyword.


    I am sure there must be a way to do this, but so far Aperture has been rather disappointing in terms of library management

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    First, back-up your Library.

    Second, repair your Library -- instructions are on the Apple Aperture Trouble-shooting page.  You should, imho, _always_ repair your Library after every crash.  (Force-quitting is a user-initiated crash.)


    You should be able to batch assign and delete keywords without hanging your system.  Changing keywords for ten-thousand Images may take several minutes, but it should never crash Aperture or your system.  That problem should be addressed before you attempt to pare and clean your keyword tree.


    What is your set-up?  Aperture & OS versions, RAM, free space on system disk, location and size of Aperture Library, location and number of Referenced Originals, etc.  Has it been stable in the past?  Made any recent changes?


    Third, confirm that your system runs Aperture well, and specifically that it runs your Library well.


    Fourth -- strictly my personal suggestion -- adopt a keywording system that rigorously differentiates between "keywords as groups" and "keywords as tags".  So instead of "Nature; Fauna; Bird; Duck" use something like "=Nature=; a.Fauna; a.Bird; DuckMallard" where keywords bracketed by "=" are top-level groups, keywords prefixed with "a." are _groups_ and -- this is the rigorous part -- don't ever assign any top-level or grouping keyword to an Image.  Assign only "bottom-level" identifying keywords.


    With such a system, "DuckMallard" and "DuckPinTailed" and "DuckCanvasBack" are assigned to Images as appropriate, and each Image so tagged will be included whenever you search for any of "=Nature=", "a.Fauna", or "a.Bird".


    In this example, I suggest using the prefix "Duck" before all ducks so that when you sort an alpha list of keywords all your ducks are in a row.  If, instead, you preferred to group your ducks, make a group called "a.Ducks" and then you wouldn't need the "Duck" before "Mallard", "Teal" etc.  I found it helpful to include keywords such as "DuckUnknown" and "DuckGeneric" and "ID_Me"


    Converting your current system to this system shouldn't be much work once you have your Library working well.


    There are some refinements hidden in plain sight in Aperture's use of keywords, but let's make sure your Library is working first.  On my machine, I can filter for, say, "Fauna".  As you see, this will include both Images with "Fauna" assigned, and any Images with keywords that are children of "Fauna".  I can still select all and remove "Fauna".  The result is that none of the selected Images have "Fauna" assigned -- even though, if I filter for "Fauna" I will still be shown all the Images that have keywords that are children of "Fauna".





  • léonie Level 10 (90,960 points)

    Sorry, I misunderstood your intentions.

    To find all images with the keyword "animal" directly assigned, but not the keyword "bird", try this-you can have several keyword rules combined in a search:


    All of the following that match:

    • keywords include only the following: animal
    • keywords do not include any of the following: bird, dog, snail, .....

    Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 13.59.19.png




    your answer was hidden, until I posted my own short reply.   I wish they would fix  this "posts not showing" problem soon. It is so hard to have an orderly discussion, if you ar not aware of other answers.

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    leonieDF wrote:




    your answer was hidden, until I posted my own short reply.   I wish they would fix  this "posts not showing" problem soon. It is so hard to have an orderly discussion, if you ar not aware of other answers.

    Word.    (American slang for "What s/he said" -- an up-to-the-minute equivalent of the long-antiquated "Hear! Hear!").  It's gotten so confusing everyone is calling me "Frank" in another thread.  Don't they know he's the competent one?  .

  • dinky2 Level 1 (10 points)



    Thanks for your advice, but that really is not the point. I know an app should not be able to bring the system down, and yet it does. It happens when I run out of RAM (4GB) although there is plenty of free space on the boot disk. I find it very strange an operating system can hang itself because of lack of free storage. There should always be enough left to keep the most basic tasks running to let you e.g. Kill apps.


    There are several ways to get around my keyword problem. I am merely looking for the most efficient one and came across some inconsistencies between manual and software.

  • dinky2 Level 1 (10 points)



    thanks again. I am working my way around the problem by selecting images by filtering parent keywords. If the resulting selection is too big, I remove the keywords from the images in chunks of say 1500 pics.


    Aparently, though, I will have to restart Aperture every now and then to prevent it from freezing the system. I was used to this kind of behaviour in Windows and am rather disappointed to see it happen in OSX as well ( more and more lately) But well, that's the way it is, I guess.


    Thanks for your help

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    dinky2 wrote:




    Thanks for your advice, but that really is not the point.

    If you knew the point, you should have stated it in the subject line and the first line of your post.  That saves those of us who donate our skill to help others valuable time.  I think I was correct to conclude, after your two long posts in which you still didn't get the point, that some help teasing apart your several intertwined issues would be helpful.  I am sorry if this has put you out.


    My suspicion (about your computer trouble) at this point is that you are force-quitting even though Aperture is neither crashed nor hung.  I won't burden you with additional replies.


    Good luck.