Integration and compitability of PL6 and FastRawViewer for culling and rating

@cohen5538 It is an excellent piece of software and you can thank me for the right mouse click for the ‘Reload’ feature, but only for asking, and the author for checking out the feasibility and implementing the feature when I asked, to save having to go to the ‘Files’ menu every time! I put the idea/request forward one day and received the following the next, i.e.

"Dear Bryan:

It takes less than expected, here are new build links:


  1. Menu - File - Reload file is active in both Grid and Single File View modes

  2. Reload file (also) refreshes metadata displayed in Grid/Filmstrip

  3. Reload file is available via context menu in both main (single view) window and in grid/filmstrip

  4. If several files are selected (checkmarked), Reload (via Menu - File or via context menu on filmstrip/grid) will update metadata for these files.

  5. There is a new Preferences setting: Thumbnail cache - (Thumbnail/Metadata fetcher subsection) - Reread thumbnails on file reload.

If not checked (default: checked), metadata refresh will re-read EXIF and XMP only, not thumbnail, this is much faster.

  1. If separate batch shortcuts are used, there is a new command Menu - Select/Batch - Batch reload files to reload selected files (with separate batch shortcuts enabled, Menu - File -… works on current file only).

Your feedback is always welcome,"

I have attached my own keyboard customisations as a PDF just out of interest but it is important to customise to your own needs etc. 2022-10-16_084036_BHAYT FRV keyboard shortcuts.pdf (3.1 MB)

However, all is not necessarily plain sailing all the way with FRV!? It favours xmp sidecar files and the only place they are considered appropriate is with RAW files, unless you are a Capture One user. So you can discover xmp sidecars being added to JPGs if you don’t choose the right options.

My settings are

I am concerned about the ‘Check Metadata tag’ because I am not sure all software even puts that in and most do what is offered by the FRV alternative which is to always use the sidecar but other forum users may have better ideas for these settings!?

However, changing a TIF in FRV created an xmp file but PL6 picked up the change so I believe that FRV is changing the embedded data and creating a sidecar file!

The files just after PL6 creates another copy of a TIF with no xmp sidecar file!

This is after FRV has changed the ‘Ratings’ and the ‘Label’ and has been detected by PL6 as shown by the ‘S’ icon [AS(OFF)]

and after the metadata has been ‘Read from image’ by PL6

The biggest issue is that the colour labels are not compatible as shown in the snapshots above! FRV can show the colours applied in PL6 but not vice versa!

AS(ON) or AS(OFF) that is the question (or at least a question):-

Please remember that the concern amongst users about not using AS(ON) is largely driven by the risk of DxPL changing the format of keywords whenever metadata is written back to the image, and that reading and writing process is under the control of DxPL, not the user, once the user sets AS(ON). If that keyword data has been placed there by the user’s “favourite” DAM etc. then they are unwilling to see it “damaged” by DxPL, even if the same keyword format will be used for any exported image!

But if the keywords are being set and managed within DxPL then why worry, simply set AS(ON) and “enjoy” the freedom that comes from the simple exchange of metadata updates without any hassle (except incompatible colour labels maybe)!?

But - But - But please remember that the ‘first discovery’ rules reverts to taking the metadata from the image (embedded or sidecar) and not the DOP whenever a “new to the database” image is detected, i.e. the system effectively revert to the pre PL5.3.0 ways, and for that to work any (relevant, i.e. sidecar file accompanying a RAW) must be preserved along with the image and the DOP otherwise the metadata will be “lost”.

All backups, moves and copying of files must the 3 files to ensure data preservation The RAW, the xmp sidecar, and the DOP and the data must make it to the xmp sidecar or the embedded xmp metadata for JPG, TIF & DNG etc.) for those copies to be worth anything!

@John-M You know that I respect the way that you work and disagree with destroying the database, given that I have already saved and then “trashed” databases on PL5.1.4 (Test machine) and PL6 (Main machine) already this morning, in the interests of testing!!

But I disagree that the database is the only source of metadata both the xmp sidecar will contain the metadata automatically with AS(ON) and via the ‘Write to metadata’ command with AS(OFF) and like it or not the metadata has been written to the DOP for the [M]aster and the Virtual copies since before PL4 for ‘Rating’ (‘Rank’) and ‘Rotation’ and for a mass of metadata since PL5.0!

Before PL5.3.0 it was written but never read for the [M]aster, since PL5.3.0 with AS(OFF) it will be the only source of metadata used by PL5.3.0 onwards and PL6 on first discovery unless the user then chooses to execute a ‘Read from image’ immediately after the discovery (importation by any other name) if there are concerns that image metadata changes may have been made after the time of the DOP!!


Just tested and it is just the other way around for me. FRW does not read colour label and rating applied in PL6. The other way around it works. But I have to manually refresh, see screenshot, because I have sync with xmp sidecar files off.


“The metadata for this image was changed by another application.
changed by another application. Click on the icon to choose how DxO PhotoLab should
should do with it.”

metadata sync

“The metadata for this image was changed by another application.
Do you want DxO PhotoLab to read the metadata from the image or to overwrite it
Overwrite the metadata with the data from the database?
Apply to all images in this folder.
Write to file
Read from the image”

Maybe I have to change the settings in FRW, so reading from PL works. Or settings in PL. No idea, don’t need it for my workflow

@KameraD New test directory

  1. Proposed test 2 JPGs and 2 RAWs

  1. PL6 - Set rating to JPG = 1, RAW = 2, JPG = Blue and RAW = Green and ‘Write to Image’

  1. FRV (FRW) - Open FRV in new directory

Snapshot shows PL6 above after forced ‘Write to image’ AS(OFF) and FRV below after discovering the directory for the first time!

  1. Change in FRV to JPG = 0, 3, Purple, RAW = 5 Yellow

But note that the labels are not colours but labels

So lets change to colour in the FRV preferences


I had to redo the colours in FRV otherwise the metadata was not going to be changed and I got the following after a ‘Read from image’ in PL6

BUT this may or may not then be compatible with other software!

The options in FRV are

Please note as I have stated before FRV will always need to have the metadata refreshed it does not discover any changes automatically. PL6 discovers the changes automatically and refreshes automatically with AS(ON) and via the ‘S’ icon with AS(OFF) and then manually updated with AS(OFF) via the ‘S’ icon and the ‘Read from image’, directly invoked or invoked via the ‘S’ icon.

Please note that the ‘Read from image’ and ‘Write to image’ are always available with both AS(ON) and AS(OFF) but the only way a transfer is going to take places with AS(OFF).

Note to DxO:-

May have come up in Beta Testing and it is possible that DxPL can recognise other “labels” but not in the test earlier with the TIF colour not being recognised but we need a ‘Synonym’ table to increase the compatibility with other software @Musashi @sgospodarenko rather than having to make other software fit to the DxO behaviour

How do you export the metadata?

Cannot find a way to do it. Besides this, changed the rating & labels settings as you mentioned. Though it was not necessary for me, because I get this labelling options also with the standard settings. See screenshots.

But no problem at all for me, FRW not reading rating or colour label, because I don’t need it. Only how it works for me, from FRW to PL

@KameraD If AS(ON) then there is no need to write metadata explicitly it comes automatically with the option

When AS(OFF) then use

for one or many selected images but cannot specify entire directory only by selecting all files in the directory!

To force a DOP read or write use these


Hope that helps.

PS The metadata ‘Read from image’ and ‘Write to image’ are available at all times regardless of AS(ON) or AS(OFF) or whether you think DxPL missed an external change. If an expected change did not materialise in DxPL, when AS(ON) or no ‘S’ with AS(OFF) then try ‘F5’ before forcing a ‘Read from image’!

Please also note AS(ON) synchronisation is successive ‘Read from image’ and ‘Write to image’ but automatically executed when DxPL detects changes, internally or externally. All such operations and the manual executed operations are destructive to the target metadata. If in doubt run with AS(OFF) and force your own writes and periodically back up the image for embedded xmp (JPG, TIF, DNG) and the sidecar files for RAW for safety!

PPS DxPL is no more “dangerous” than any other metadata software, later to the game so able to avoid certain pitfalls, relatively new and a lot of work done in a short amount of time but it seems to be generally O.K once you understand the “wrinkles”/“foibles”.

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Yes, helps absolutely, thanks. This is one of the topics, I until now, did not deal with, because I didn’t really understand the cosequences. And that’s why I didn’t check the box, so as not to mess anything up. At least now I know how to trigger the process manually. But since there is still no need for me, work only with PL6, NikCollection 5 and View Point 4, I leave everything as it is :wink:

I’ve used FastRawViewer for quite some time, but probably everyone has their own way of doing things.

  • You can delete files in FastRawViewer, or ‘move to the Rejected folder’. They are two separated actions, do not confuse them :slight_smile: .
  • You can setup DxO PL as an ‘external program’ in FastRawViewer. This needs to be done manually, one time, though.
  • You then have a hotkey in FRV to ‘pass to dxo’. If DxO PL is not started yet, it will start it. If it is already started, it will open the file.
  • This seems to only work ok one file at a time though. DxO creates ‘an external selection’, a project with just the one active file from FRV in it. Depending on what you expected, this is perfect or not what you wanted :slight_smile: .

I can’t tell you anything about metadata, because I don’t use FRV or DxO for that. So I never checked or bothered.

I have a pretty crude workflow. I open the image card folder directly in FRV, and go through it to inspect files. I move things to the rejected folder that I don’t want to keep. Then in the end, when I’m left with what I want to keep, I use the ‘Copy to folder’ option from FRV to copy everything from the memory card to my system. I close FRV.

I open the folder I copied the files to, transfer them to my cloud-backup and/or my local external drive backup when I’m home - I always do this first before I delete files by accident.
Then I open the folder in DxO and start working on it.

This way I don’t ever remove images from the memory card, they go to the rejected folder. I don’t ever remove the ‘keepers’ as well. Only after the memory card is full (and all my other cards are full) will I think about formatting / removing images from a card. I can go a surprisingly long time before I have to delete something with the size of memory cards these days.

And when I need to make room on a memory card, I start first by removing the rejected folder.

This way I have backups locally at my home for when my cloud provider has ‘issues’ or account problems. I have my cloud provider for when the backup drive at home fails.
And I have files on my laptop(s) or my home computer to work on (I never work ‘on’ the backup drive). If I need to go into my collection or edit some older pic on the road, I can always access them through my online cloud backups.

And since I only delete from the memory card when I really have it (preferring to use another card in my bag instead of deleting files from the current memory card), I can often quickly take a file from the memory card again if I screw something up on my computer somehow… or a ‘picked photo’ turns out to not be a great pick and I want to look at the burst again to pick another.

@jorismak FRV can pass a number of “selected” images to DxPL, but only from the same directory, as follows

In this snapshot FRV is shown above DxPL and I am showing the ‘PhotoLibrary’ screen to show the ‘External Selection’ but the actual screen that is opened by such a ‘Run’ or “launch” is the DxPL ‘Customize’ screen.

FastStone Image Viewer (FSIV) will launch many images but unfortunately these would be many invocations each with one image, except that it doesn’t work that way so you only wind up with one image in DxPL, the last one from the selection.

XnViewMP can send ‘Tagged’ files from multiple directories to DxPL in one pass i.e. XnViewMP “remembers” ‘Tagged’ files and via the ‘View’/‘Tag’/‘Show Tagged Files’ it will show all the ‘Tagged’ files it has remembered, even ones that aren’t around any more, as I just found out!

The above snapshot has four files from one directory and 2 from another ‘Tagged’ in XnViewMP, then selected and then passed to PL6. @sgospodarenko this failed and the ‘Customize’ screen showed nothing but the 'PhotoLibrary screen showed all 6 present and correct (as did the ‘Customize’ screen when next invoked).

All windows in the above snapshots are active windows, not some mock up done from a number of snapshots.

I also tend not to delete images so rather than ‘_Rejected’ I name my directory as ‘_Other’ and FRV comes pre-configured to move the DOPs as well when moving images!

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Hmm, nice. I will take another look! I tried it as a little experiment before posting, and when I had two files selected, only one appeared in DxO in the ‘external selection’. Maybe I had selected images wrong (because selection-logic in FRV is quite different to, well, everything else).

But as I said, I almost never use that. I just open the folder I copied files into in DxO manually, and I don’t go back and forth.

@BHAYT you raised some thoughtful important points about FRV and PL interaction.

  1. Non Raw images i.e. jpg or tiff without embedded xmp.
  2. Dealing with XMP sidecar and conflicts with DOP sidecar
  3. Non conformation of color labels between the two vendors and having to customize color label code in FRV.
  4. Inclusion of the DOP file, while transferring the image file to a different folder.

As for me, I had one important insight from the posts in this topic, which is: “KIS” - Keep It simple. otherwise, on next updets you can never know which data interface is going to be corrupted.

  1. I will cull the photographs by using _reject & _Selected sub folders.
  2. Since I mostly use Raw files, I do not intend to configure xmp sidecars
  3. For sure I will not use the Color Labels in FRV. Maybe just the star rating on raw files
  4. Very impotent tip, to be checked in FRV settings.


you are right, checked it on PL4 too. But it’s not such a problem. In PL, right click on the image and selecting “load original image folder” in the pop up list, and there I am

@cohen5538 Exactly the way that I have been using the product since a free version of OpticsPro 8! I finally bought OpticsPro 11 which is still installed and then DxPL through all releases until now PL6!

However, I have always launched/passed the image from FastStone Image Viewer, applied one or other of my basic presets, copied the settings, ‘Load original folder’ and then start pasting the edits, often selecting all and pasting the copy (or a new preset made from the original image) to all the images and further refining on more problematic images.

On a visit to a garden I will typically take 300 - 500 photos (I chronicle the visit). The only ‘Local Adjustments’ I typically use are ‘Linear gradients’ and as PhotoLab introduces more and more features for fine adjustment of an image so it moves further and further away from the original purpose for which I bought it, i.e. quick adjustment of images (at the time I only shot JPG, now JPG + RAW) in bulk and with excellent export capabilities (apart from the nauseating


@Musashi when I always want ‘Unique’, the safest method and it allows me to fix any mess later. There is no session or forever option available - why not!!??).

It still does a good job for me but there are things missing that are available elsewhere and I need to revisit ON1 to see what is on offer now!

I do not have these external selections, this is exactly what I am looking for. Are you using the Mac or Windows version? I am on Windows with PL5.5. For me, it always opens the whole folder in PL and loads all images in the library module, not just the selected ones.

@maderafunk What have you done to break it? Firstly I have the platform software and cameras in my profile title!

So I am on Win 10 and have PL5.5 and PL60 installed and launching from FRV I can pass a number of selected images that form an ‘External Selection’, from FSIV only one makes it across and from XnViewMP all tagged items, including from a number of directories can be passed and this is the way that it has always worked for me since DxO OpticsPro 8 but only from FSIV (FastStone) for many years before adding FRV and the during testing late last year I discovered what XnViewMP could manage. I also believe that IrfanView handles this well and will test that later.

After launching one or many images then the whole directory can be selected or a project made from some or all of the images (when sent by FRV or XnViewMP). FSIV is free, as is XnView and Irfanview and FRV has a test period and a reasonable price!

Thanks for your response @BHAYT. I am using digikam (open source). It has an “open with” dialog, the same as the open with dialog when you open a picture from the windows explorer. What happens, when you open an individual picture or several from the windows explorer?

Are you saying that the behaviour depends on the software used as image viewer? If so, do you know how they differ and how the images need to be opened? Maybe I could write a plugin for digikam if that is the case.

@maderafunk There was a post that discussed the Command Line Interface DxO Photolab Command line interface.

The last time an issue like this came up it turned out that the originator of the topic had an old version of Photo Mechanic and a very large directory. I also had the buggy version of Photo Mechanic installed, which didn’t help Open individual file rather than directory - impossible?!

I have just uninstalled Digikam 7.10 and upgraded to 7.8 and remembered why I gave up on DigiKam!

Attempting to launch to PhotoLab directly sent the whole directory and does so regardless of the package on the other end. With one image selected the ‘Open with’ command results in a request to designate a program and the whole directory winds up in that program! If more than one image is selected then that option does not exist at all in the menu!

So we have:-

DigiKam - transfers entire directory but not as an ‘external selection’
FSIV transfers multiple files one at a time but only the last one will be seen in DxPL
FRV transfers one or a selection of images (from the same directory)
XnViewMP transfers one or a tagged selection of images (from one of more directories)
IrfanView transfers one or a selection of images to DxPL


I am sorry but you are now on your own with Digikam, I seem to remember reading that the feature was only available on Linux but that might just be my memory playing tricks! Even going via the Light Table does the same thing!

Sorry I am out of ideas!!

Pretty much the same thing! The image directory is opened in the ‘PhotoLibrary’ as a directory rather than in ‘Customize’ as an ‘External selection’.

The issue is that the differentiation between images is lost and as stated above DigiKam doesn’t even show the ‘Open with’ when multiple images are selected!


The best you can do is to assign a ‘Rating’ or a keyword on PL5.5, a ‘Label’ would be available on PL6 and “launch” PL5.5 and then go look for the marked items from amongst however many images you typically have in a directory!?

@BHAYT Thank you, those are some really interesting posts.

Digikam is using the internal command of Windows, if you have setup files to open with PL, they will open with PL. And same as when you open these files from the Windows Explorer, it will load the whole directory.

But I figured out how to open files directly as external selection from the command prompt.

You just pass the absolute filepaths of PL and the image paths, you can add as many images as you want. Important is, that the filepaths are absolute, somehow relative paths don’t work, and just have a space between each path.


"C:\Program Files\DxO\DxO PhotoLab 5\DxO.PhotoLab.exe" "C:\Users\XXX\Desktop\image1.jpg" "C:\Users\XXX\Desktop\image2.jpg"

That will open these images directly in Customize Mode and create an “External Selection” Project for them. So this should easily be possible to implement in Digikam, that’s why I prefer it, as it is open source and I can implement it myself.


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interesting topic, when i have more time i need to re-read this again.

Every pl version update i am in the itch of re examen my XMP-data, my processing status of older images,(denoising mostly but also edit skills)
workflow slimlining.

Present workflow is:
1 old ingestion of panasonic software, (takes images and movieclips)
2 explorer of win to reorganise new imported folders and throw away all useless OOC -jpegs. (keep rawfiles)
3 FRV=> first culling and labeling(colors now seen by dxopl v6 so usable) and rating
4 (open for debate) Bridge 2022 for keywording and batch iptc (some say use Lr’s library but the video’s on youtube i seen where less fast in keyword tagging then the tree list in Bridge i think.)
adding extra iptc data on the images, GPS needed in DXOPL from google)
5 dxopl indexing and refreshment. (before it was auto read even when sync was off. now it seems to create a S so i know it must be refreshed. ( See how that works on all images.)
(note DB of dxoPL i don’t use it much as source so it’s redundant mostly.)
6 edit and add iptc/keywords in bridge not DXOPL (ok iptc yes keywords NEVER)
(new step need to remember to hit “write to xmp” when needed.

Bridge can create project in DxOPL (search is folder only) but searching in dxoPL after index is much easier. (folder tree)

my first “simple” start is run FRV though all my rawfile archieves updating xmp files.
then through bridge 2022 to update iptc data and such in xmp. (needed that anyway)
(keep note of progres by adding textfiles with date of visit and status.)

when i have my source side fully updated then i open DxOPL V6 index.
then walking through all image files and maybe maybe export every image once extra jpeg.
(softproof and write to properties the new metadata in the jpegs for archive.)

I really hope it is gona be a dreadfull winter with lots of bad weather and nothing to see on telly… :sweat_smile: :crazy_face:

Depending on your photography genre and/or shooting style your workflow may be suited to one of two methods with FRV - either selecting unwanted photos and reject/delete them or, alternatively, selecting wanted photos and moving them to a folder for editing. For sports and wildlife photography where I use high frame rates I have way more rejects than keepers so I find the latter option to be quicker.

My method is:

  1. Copy all images from card to a temporary hard drive folder for safety. I used to use FRV directly on the card (and still do for non-critical shoots) but others have rightly suggested there is always a risk of card failure so better to make a copy first.

  2. Open the temporary folder with FRV and run through the files assigning two stars to any I want to use.

  3. Filter the view in FRV to only show two stars, then make a second more critical pass. Here I assign one star to any I want to reject which removes them from view as I work. Rather than moving them to the reject folder this gives me the option to revisit them easily by just changing the filtering.

  4. Using FRV copy the two star rated files to a new working directory and open that directory in DXO Photolab for editing.

  5. At a later date delete the temporary import directory and format the card before next use.

Just my way of doing it, FRV is very flexible and you will easily find a good workflow.

I use the same workflow with FRV, moving images from the card to a temporary folder, selecting images that I want to use, and then moving them into a permanent folder for processing in DXO.

Gentlemen, thank you all for your efforts testing. It’s been very informative.

Golden rules

  1. do your work in FRV and then move to PhotoLab. It’s not a two-way street (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t depends on version of PhotoLab, that’s no way to build a workflow).
  2. Prioritise system level management. The goal is to come out of FRV with a Selects folder which you will then take into PhotoLab.
  3. Colour labels should only ever be used in the application which is generating the labels. Cross-application compatibility of colour labels has been widely exaggerated.

In real world terms, I move four and five star images to PhotoLab (about 50-80 out of a 1200 soccer match shoot to add some real numbers) via a Selects folder. I first review five star images in PhotoLab and then review four star images. The final review pass is done in PhotoLab so I can try the exposure slider and noise reduction (I shoot a lot of high ISO) when making final selections.

When I’m done, there’s usually 25 to 50 finished images.

The finished images have to go through PhotoMechanic still for metadata so the less the better. But metadata processing in PhotoMechanic is a whole separate conversation. The one very important point I would make – PhotoLab metadata is more or less incompatible with third-party applications. PhotoLab’s deletion or acceptance of metadata depends on versions and subversions. PhotoLab metadata management is totally non-viable. Just don’t use it, except for toy purposes on home photos.

The finished jpegs with metadata are saved out a final time from PhotoMechanic using PhotoMechanic’s watermark feature including the right titles as date-time-headline. I’m not happy to have to do a final lossy save but from PhotoLab quality is 100 and so it is from PhotoMechanic. The final files are renamed correctly and only need to go to ImageOptim for web upload versions (down from 45 MB to about 8 MB with no visual loss). I keep the copy of the images with metadata and the original filenames as masters.

At one point, I had high hopes that PhotoLab metadata and PhotoMechanic metadata might end up being cross-compatible but enough events where metadata was lost and had to be carefully reconstructed or photos posted to the web ended up without the right metadata (part of an advanced workflow with WordPress to use the jpg metadata for captions) and had to be reprocessed.

I hope DxO eventually brings better third-party compatibility to their metadata features for star ratings, colour labels and IPTC data. I’m not holding my breath or wasting any more time on testing workflows though. You gentlemen who have carefully worked through all of these variations, testing them diligently, are heroes. Unfortunately, results depend on which version of PhotoLab. Non-viable.

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