Moving and renaming files and folders

The key question for you is, do you use PL to manage projects, keywords or the history list?

If the answer is yes, by moving files outside of PL, or any other DAM, you will “screw things up”.

If no then, from PL’s point of view, all you really have to do is ensure that you are using .dop files for saving edits because; if not, all your work will only be saved to the database and you will break the connections between the image files and their edits. You can check if you are using .dop files by looking in the Preferences…

Provided you are not managing projects, keywords or want to persist the history list between sessions, and providing you are using .dop files, you can then delete the PL database, and possibly the cache, after the move but before reopening PL.

To delete the database, delete these three files…

… and to delete the cache, delete this folder…

… but only do this when PL is closed.

All of this were unnecessary if DPL had a function to fix broken connections. Lr can do it on folder and file level…


But can PL ever become Lr? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

No, it can become better (whatever that means)

  • Library/AM register functionality: improve
  • Customize register functionality: 99.9% there
  • Printing/Layout register functionality: improve
  • Overall color management functionality: improve

We’ll be there in a few years :+1:

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I don’t know anything yet about PL4 managing “projects”, whatever that means.
Keywords are something I have yet to learn, and I believe that will be handled by PhotoMechanic Plus.
As to the “history list”, is that kept in the “.dop” file, or in PL4’s database?

I’m not going to mess around with any of this on my iMac. I was given a MacBook Pro, that eventually will be given to the eye hospital I volunteer at, in India. For now, it’s running on a different location. So, what I will do is install a demo copy of PL4, and upload some photos into a new folder inside the Pictures folder. Maybe I’ll call that folder TEST. After using it for a while, I will rename that folder “TEST-X” or something similar.

Until now, I thought I would do this while PL4 was closed. Is it possible to do this from within PL4, sort of like the way I used to do it in Lightroom? Since the main goal of this is to keep PL4 happy, this sounds like the most logical choice - if PL4 allows me to rename folders.

Here is the “advanced preferences” from my iMac.
How can I tell if I am using .dop files for saving edits?

If you mean the settings within the red rectangle, yes, those are still at the default settings:

Projects are a way of collating references to files from anywhere in your library, regardless of their original folder, so that you can work on a bunch of connected file (a project) without having to keep changing folders. And you’re obviously not working with projects, which means you don’t care if the PL database is deleted.

As you mention, you are wanting to use PhotoMechanic Plus for keywords, so you don’t need the PL database for those.

I personally don’t use the history list because I don’t care in which order I made changes. If something needs changing, I just go to that tool and change it again. The history list is kept in the database between editing sessions but, if you are not bothered about that, you don’t need the PL database for those either.

Yes, that’s what I meant and, as you have them set, you are using .dop files for saving edits.

All this adds up to the fact that you can delete the PL database at anytime and PL will recreate it for you automatically because PL uses it as a sort of working cache to speed some operations up.

Because moving files outside of PL can cause conflicts with the database, because you don’t need the database, you can simply delete it after having moved your files and PL will recreate all it needs from scratch with the new locations.

Oops, one more mistake on my part. So, in the “history” list, I can go to something I did 20 steps ago, and only that one thing will get changed, and the 19 things I did after that will remain???

In Lightroom, if I do that, everything since that change is ignored - I think.

Regardless of Lightroom, it is wonderful to know that anything in the history list can be modified, without having an effect on all the other things I did. That’s good to know.

You don’t need the history tool for this. Just go to the Exposure tool (or whatever you like to change) and push your sliders around…

No. If you change something in the history everything after that point is toast, gone for good.


Unfortunately, it works like any other history list. Go back and change something and you lose everything you did after it.

OK, please confirm - if in step 25 I made something brighter, and I’m now on step 50, if I go to the history list and modify step 25, steps 26 through 30 are lost. So, suppose I wanted to change the setting to a lower brightness - and knowing that I’ve used this same tool for many other purposes, how do I “un-do” some single specific change I had done earlier? I think you are telling me to go back to the same tool, and somehow find that one specific time I over-did it, and change that single correction.

Until now, I would have thought to go back to that change in my history list, revise it, and then need to do all the following changes all over again.

Ignore the history for the moment, go to the respective tool and adjust your image. This is what @Joanna and every other sane being would do.

Then again, if you click on step 25 and change brightness, steps 26 to 50 will be lost and gone forever, even “undo” (ctrl-z) is helpless. Change the past and the present as you know it will be lost. Changing the history is like time travel. But when you edit an image, time (as laid down in the history) does not matter.


That makes perfect sense. Thanks!

I might not be one of those “sane beings”. When things are all confusabobbled, I sometimes want to go back to the beginning and start all over again. …and when that happens, it’s a lot easier for me to get to what I want.

(Before you think I’m totally nuts, doing it this way helps me learn better than fiddling around with something I’m already frustrated with. Because of this forum, I find myself editing things that I might otherwise ignore, as I learn from doing so, and I learn even more from the feedback. When people here send me a “.dop” file, I try to understand what they did, and why, then do what I just wrote - start all over again at the beginning. Knowing what one of you did to get something to work isn’t enough - I need to try to be able to do it on my own. )

Learning by trying and doing is exactly what I do. No need to be afraid of what others might think!
And sometimes, I resort to the manual: get access to it from DPL’s help menu because it can help to also build the know-why.

If you come across an image that looks good to you, create a new preset (to see if it might work on other images too) and then keep pushing sliders and bending tone curves etc. go wild and crazy and see what works (for you and you alone) and what does not - no need to ask for someone’s permission - unless you work for a client who wants the sky to be greener…

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Eventually I may be doing this. For now, I start each time with a “clean piece of paper” (meaning the Advanced Preset), and follow my editing procedure, doing the “big” things first, then the smaller adjustments. Then I move to a different image, and in a while come back to the first image - and most of the time I immediately see something I need to do. PL4 is exciting to use. By comparison Lightroom was boring. Sometimes things turn out the way I envisioned, and other times I find a better choice.

I’m pleased that the feedback here is getting finer as time goes on - a month or two ago, much “larger” changes were needed for my photos. I guess I was not only using the “wrong” tools, but over-using them.

I also enjoy it very much when you’re all discussing images one of you post, as an example. (Until you wrote what you did, I never thought of making a preset out of images one of you has posted. I didn’t even know that was possible.)

Absolutely agree. I use the history all the time, but one must understand its limitations and where it adds value. It is, after all, only a visible undo stack. The history list is not intended for editing the way Mike wants to use it. He should just go to the tool and adjust his image as you suggest.


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I’m not quite sure what you mean here. There is no Advanced Preset, only an Advanced workspace, which just shows a selection of palettes and tools but with no corrections. Might I suggest you meant the Optical Corrections only preset, which you set as the default for new files?

And can I reinforce what @platypus and @mwsilvers mention - don’t use the history list unless you are prepared to lose everything after the step you go back to to change something. PL’s adjustments are neither time nor order critical. Simply go to whichever tool that you think needs changing and work with that.

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when < Active corrections > is activated, the momentary used tools show up
– helpful, while ‘jumping’ back and forth in the history

My mistake - I thought one of you implied I could do that, and it sounded reasonable, but I now understand that’s not possible without losing everything I had done after that correction. Actually, it made perfect sense to me that it COULD work the way I was thinking, but since it doesn’t I’ll forget that and make new additional changes that will appear at the top of the “history stack”.

(If it took me four tries to crop an image to a shape I was satisfied with, why bother remembering the bad choices? If PL7 added this ability, it seems to me it would be useful… but for now, I’ll forget about this and just use the history as you’ve all explained, and re-use the appropriate tool until I’m satisfied.)