Hierarchical keywords

I like the idea of hierarchical keywords, this has the potential to be a great feature.

Sadly, it appears not to be working correctly in Photolab 3.1 on Windows:

I entered the keyword “parent>child” and photolab immediately changed it to “child<parent” (i can live with that).
But the search does not work for either the child or the parent. The only way to get search results is to type the “child” keyword and then select the “child<parent” keyword.

And just a thought…
It also would be great to be able to manage keyword relationships independently from the image. Like once adding multiple child keywords to a single parent keyword and then enter only the child keywords to images. Of course, these images should appear when searching for the parent keyword.

IHMO, I would recommend using a DAM such as IMatch which will always provide far advanced hierarchical keywords and many, many other features. I have found it possible to perform those functions there, and have the keywords appear and be searchable in PL once those are written back to the files. Given the effort required to create even a weak DAM, which is not the forte of DxO, I now join the group against wasting time and effort in DAM development.


Stephan I had the same experience as you.

Unfortunately, it only works with simple editing and searching for a keyword.

Hierarchical keywords: does not work
Modifying keywords: Function not available

I wonder why there is a new version of PL when the announced functional expansion only works partially?

That is why it is called a beta release.

No, this is not a beta version, this is the official 3.1 version !! (see DXO homepage)

Yes, indeed! (Another IMatch user here.) I do understand why DxO is doing this (perceived check mark product comparisons) but as you observe, the amount of work required for even a minimally functional DAM may be quite a bit more than they expect, unless they’re taking a really long term development view.


As much as I like and appreciate the efforts, so far the results leave some things to be desired.
I can only search for a keyword if I already know what it is. Having a list of keywords that have been used would help.
Is there a way to limit where the keyword search looks? I have a local drive that has the latest pictures and several network drives that contain all the older pictures.
When I hover over an existing keyword, the popup shows all the parental relationships. Can’t seem to be able to search one of the parent keywords.
Having to jump back and forth between PhotoLibrary to search and Customize to see what keywords are found in which image is getting old real fast.

I came through Lightroom, Aperture, then Lightroom again. The ability to do basic operations on meta-data was implicit to both products. I abandoned the next product I moved to after Lightroom and am now using PhotoLab 3 because it has half decent DAM functionality.

PhotoLab is not a cheap product and neither were its predecessors. I do not want to spend even more money on a separate photo manager. I agree creating a fully featured DAM is a big job, but that’s no reason to ignore it, especially given PL’s existing capability is a decent chunk of that already (hierarchical keywords are working great for me).

If PL is not to be considered a DAM then it should never have included keywords and projects and picks and ratings — they are a signal to me that it is trying to be a DAM. So far it’s doing better than “that other product” I was using that promised a DAM and have let users down consistently with a sub-par experience because… they were just checking a box. Still… the silver lining is after getting annoyed with them, I checked out PL which is MUCH better as an image processor.

Hi, i have the samme issue for hierarchical key words. Search not working on parent or child key word.
So… the hierarchical key words system in PL3.1 is simply not working ?
I am confused, why propose something new that doesn’t work ?
Thanks for your help

every program has this, doesn’t need to be DAM for those.
PL is not full DAM, they just started with PL2 including keywording and some other functionality, like other software trying to include “DAM like” as Luminar and AlienSkin to name those 2.
you’ve been Lr and Aperture user so you know the basic of a DAM and it is not too hard to create your own (on MAC as least with *finder), confusing for people starting for sure, but that’s it. once you’ve started the basic its a matter of saving copies to other hard drive for duplicate backup.

its main job is RAW processor and its doing a really good job, short of Staff so don’t task them all for building a DAM, which many software don’t even have.

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I disagree. Photoshop doesn’t have them, but Bridge (Adobe’s DAM) does. Affinity Photo doesn’t have it either, but is a RAW processor. Aurora HDR can process RAW and it doesn’t have it.

To me, if the application shows you a grid of photos (other than in an “Open” dialog that disappears when you select a file) and lets you do anything to them in that grid, then it’s a DAM. Whether it’s a very good or usefully functional one depends on how much you can do.

Well… 2 you mention are pixel editor and the other hdr software, not doing picks and rating with that for sure. You need something for culling first before using them.
A DAM isn’t a picture browser, its more than that, showing images is only a start.

I agree it’s more than showing pictures. It includes things like… pick and reject.

Maybe we agree to disagree on the definition of DAM, but with keywords PhotoLab is definitely over the line on both our definitions. Whether it is “supposed to be a proper DAM” is something only the developers know. My personal belief is they want it to be a good DAM and in time it will become one.

For that reason, I am not going to write it off as something I shouldn’t expect. I do expect it and I will continue to campaign for improvements.

The search for hierarchical keywords unfortunately still does not work 2 years or 2 versions later !!!. But it should work according to the PL5 manual. I only use PhotoLab’s DAM.
I am using the Windows version of PL5.

Can you please give an example of how you are storing keywords and then searching for them?

Hallo Joanna,
here is a example:

This ist my Input in PL5

The searching result of the Hierarchical Keyword "Parent"

And searching result of the child keyword "child"

Joanna, is my entry correct?

Warm greetings from Germany

Hi Josef.

I’m not sure what’s going on here. On the Mac version, doing what I would normally do, I don’t get a problem and Parent is searchable.

What I did…

  1. Added the keyword Parent to the hierarchy list…
    Capture d’écran 2021-10-28 à 18.45.39
    Capture d’écran 2021-10-28 à 18.46.04

  2. Added the keyword Child inside Parent…
    Capture d’écran 2021-10-28 à 18.46.27
    Capture d’écran 2021-10-28 à 18.46.39

  3. Typed Child into the keywords field…
    Capture d’écran 2021-10-28 à 18.44.40

  4. Selected the suggested Child < Parent
    Capture d’écran 2021-10-28 à 18.48.48

  5. Accepted the suggestion, which gave me this…
    Capture d’écran 2021-10-28 à 18.38.28

Then I went to the search field and started to type Parent

Capture d’écran 2021-10-28 à 18.37.42

Is that what you did? If not, can you give us a step by step list like I just did? We need to establish if this is a Windows only bug or whether you have stumbled across a different way of doing things that DxO hadn’t thought of.

Oh, and is this a RAW file with an XMP sidecar or something like a JPEG?

Thanks Joanna for the quick answer.

The DXO support wrote to me about 1.5 years ago that the “parent” search only works with the MAC version. For the Windows version it will be delivered in the next version.

Unfortunately I’m still waiting for it to finally work.

Before adding this to the list of Win and Mac differences, I gave it a try.
And it works halfway …
When I click on the keyword “child” to the list, the search finds both “child” and “parent” but if I add the keyword child by the text box it does not work.

I have tried every possible way I can to create an XMP file that can fool PL5 Mac into not finding Parent, but have not been able to succeed.

This is beginning to look like a Windows only bug but, not having a Windows version, I can’t be sure.

The keywording app I wrote for Mac automatically adds both words if I try to enter `Child’, so I get…

Capture d’écran 2021-10-29 à 09.30.36

(the second Child is a standalone keyword, not a repeat of the hierarchical one)

Capture d’écran 2021-10-29 à 09.30.47

My personal feeling is that, in accordance with the Metadata Working Group’s guidelines, both keywords should appear in the keywords field, not just the Child

Could you try making sure that both Parent and Child are ticked in the hierarchy list for the selected file and see if that makes any difference? Would this be an acceptable “workaround”?

I got his behaviour once with the Mac version but am having trouble repeating it.

When you clicked on Child in the tree list, did it automatically tick Parent as well? If it did, this could explain the difference.

I will have another look at that on the Mac side of things to try and determine whether this is a Win/Mac difference or simply a general problem.