Moving images between computers

Is there a good way to move a processed photo from one computer to another (Mac to Mac in my case)?

What I’d like to do is load my photos onto my laptop and process them with DxO, then at a later time move the photos, along with my edits, to my desktop computer. The move would need to include added keywords as well as all the slider adjustments plus crop, local adjustments, etc.

What are the photos that you process on your macbook? Raw, dng, jpg…?
What’s your final copy that you transfer to your pc? Jpg, tiff…?

I generally use a physical transfer medium to copy things between computers. It is simple and provides another copy (backup) during transfer. Make sure to also copy the sidecar files.

There are more things to consider depending on your answers.

  • PhotoLab does not store keywords in the sidecar files but only in the database.
  • Exporting to jpg, tiff and dng puts keywords into the files.
  • Sidecars will be created only for jpg and tiff but not with dngs.
  • Copy the database files too
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As I undstand it edit is no problem, kept in the side bar. DAM is in the data base so no idea how you would do that other than copy that between the two. DAM was always seen as creating a lot of problems.

I should clarify a little what I’m trying to do.

I shoot only in RAW (DNG). Normal process is to import the files to my Mac mini and do everything there. It will hold all of my photos and they will be backed up from there, processed there, exported and published from there.

But if I am travelling I will want to import and process some on my MacBook Pro while away from home and then later move everything from the MacBook Pro over to the Mac mini as if I had done it on the mini in the first place.

Which is to say, the laptop would only ever be a temporary location for the photos, but whatever I do to the photos there should make it onto the Mac mini later.

The way other software deals with this is to have “libraries” which can be moved and split and merged.

Why don’t you keep it on portable hard drive then when you’re home you transfer them on you computer. 2 x 1TB is about 120$ and small to bring along.

It’s not the physical transfer I’m concerned about. @platypus has mentioned copying sidecar files will bring the edits along, but it sounds like there is no simple way to bring keywords across.

In Lightroom there is a “library” which is a self-contained “thing” you can move around and open in any copy of Lightroom. You can also select a bunch of photos and export them as a new library, and import a whole library into another. All of this means you can run multiple libraries in multiple locations and bring them all together easily.

I really think DxO needs to work on getting the database out of the system folders and/or build export/import functions. I’m not that fussed about taking a bunch of steps to move my images, so long as it doesn’t involve re-doing actions in multiple places.

Okay, this is what I now get:

You want to be able to work on two Macs and not lose on one computer what you did on the other.

Simple: PhotoLab cannot provide this. It does NOT support syncing or merging the databases.

Working strictly on one computer at a time, you can implement the following scheme

A x B y A x B y etc.

A: work on your Mac Mini
x: copy database (and files you want to work on) to MacBook
B: work on MacBook
y: copy database (and new files) to Mac Mini

You could create scripts x and y that copy the necessary things reliably.
Please note that

  • You might want to delete the cache in x and y
  • As long as your database stays intact, you don’t have to use sidecars.
  • As soon as you forget to do x or y or do AB, things go boink.

The only way this would work is place the location of the database in a central place.
Point all plv3 versions to that point and i think never open two at the time.

You can alter the place where it should store the DB and when this place is always reachable for dxopl it wouldend be a problem i think.

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sadly enough, DPL does not - at least not in its Mac version - allow to easily put the database where you like.

You can copy the database to and fro using the database backup and restore functions that can be found in the DPL file menu, though it’s not necessarily simpler than to copy or sync the folders with a script. Backup/restore creates additional files too.

don’t know if a netfolder can be used but i can change the place.

@OXiDant that’s a Windows-only feature. Even with that, it would necessitate still using a single library stored on a portable drive. That would be a passable solution, and in fact I already have all my photos on a portable drive, but it’s not ideal to have to take that drive on travel when I wouldn’t need access to my main library nor the extra space while travelling.

So what I’m getting from the discussion so far is that there are no tricks I am missing – PL really doesn’t consider the multi-system scenario, despite offering multiple activations with the licensing.

It seems like my most plausible option is to run the laptop as a standalone concern and then later copy photos with .dop files across to the desktop and either don’t bother adding keywords on the laptop or manually recreate them on the desktop.

I’ve added a post about this over in the “Which feature” forum.

I suspect adding keywords to the .dof files, along with the current image edits, is in the pipeline and will hopefully be implemented in the not too distant future . Once that is accomplished would that satisfy your requirements?


That solves the main problem if the other copy of DxO will ingest those and add to its database. However, if I am going to be adding keywords on the laptop, I would want the full keyword database there as well… that’s how I save a lot of time by using hierarchies I’ve already defined.

Keywords are on an image by image basis only at this point. A keyword library may be in their long term plans, but I would not expect to see anything like that for quite a while.


I don’t believe that’s true. I get a large selection of auto-complete suggestions as soon as I start typing despite only having added keywords to a handful of photos in PhotoLab. These suggestions are coming from the keywords I entered in Lightroom that are in the DNG files PhotoLab has seen.

From the help:

The keywords you enter are saved in the DxO PhotoLab database, but not in the images themselves (RGB, JPEG, TIFF, and DNG files), nor in the files (.dop or.xmp) that accompany RAW files. If you start entering a keyword that is already registered in the database, PhotoLab will suggest keywords starting with the same letters. Use the up and down arrows to select the desired keyword and then press Enter.

So maybe you should look at a raid system on your network (you can access from any wifi connection) or even just open your computer to be accessible from your laptop (and vis-versa) for sharing files, easy done on Mac.

PL is not a full DAM, they starting implementing some function and its a work in progress, this is not Lr or Adobe Bridge.

I’d suggest you do keywording in another DAM and limit DXO usage to post processing images. Edits carry over with the dop files.
The DAM in DXO in its current state is IMO pretty useless.


Given the regular update of my dam it’s likely to remain as usless. Which is why do many of us felt it was an errer to start a development that really could never produce something to keep dam users happy.


Lightroom, Aperture, Luminar, ON1, and doubtless others, all have DAM functionality — some better than others. If DxO wants to compete with any of those (and surely it does) then it should have a decent capability of its own, and it seems the developers think the same way because there is something there already. It’s so close already to a decent job that it would (in my view) be criminal not to flesh it out.

I’ll just close out with this line from the PhotoLab brochure page (emphasis mine)…

PhotoLibrary, everything you need for perfect asset management