Search globally (incl. within subfolders), and by rating?

Having started using Photolab recently, I have thousands of photos without (full) metadata. My current goal is to go in and just mark the best of them with 3 to 5 stars for ease of finding them later. (The first thing would be to export a copy of all the best kid’s photos for my wife who has requested this.)

I did a test, marking a few photos from a few different folders in my photo library. Having done so, I see the ability to search (filter really) within a folder. And I see a search bar at the top that suggests this is where I can search by rating. But I’m not seeing how to actually search by rating within the entire set of thousands of photos.

How does one do this?
Thanks in advance.

P.S. I attempted to tag this as bgeing relevant to “Search” and “Rating”, but neither appear possible. It might be helpful (if DxO people see this) to enable tagging posts as being related to various features of the software.

The “Search” or any kind of parameter you set works on the folder and any sub folder. If the folders are on the same “level” in the file hiarcy (As an example c:\photos and c\pictures ) I’m not sure. But any sub directorys are searched for.

Please excuse my terrible english and hopefully I do understand your question…

Hi Torstein. Have you tried Deepl to either translate what you want to say into English, or you can simply post in your preferred language and we can use Deepl to translate for ourselves. It is an excellent translator, which allows you to express things how you want instead of struggling to translate technical stuff yourself.

Hei Torstein. Har du prøvd Deepl for å enten oversette det du vil si til engelsk, eller du kan bare legge ut på ditt foretrukne språk, så kan vi bruke Deepl til å oversette for oss selv. Det er en utmerket oversetter, som lar deg uttrykke ting slik du vil i stedet for å slite med å oversette tekniske ting selv.


Hi @HumanJHawkins
In Library view, you select the root folder of your images, then in search field type 3,4, or 5 for the number of stars needing and in the proposed results, in the list select the star one:
Capture d’écran 2023-02-07 à 12.07.23

and you should have all these images from various folders.
I’ve just tested this on Mac.

1 Like

Hi Joanna, I have not tried Deepl yet, but I certainly will next time I’m trying to express some photo technical stuff. Then I often find that I’m struggeling to find the right words.


Many of us use it on a regular basis. It is almost like having Star Trek’s universal translator. :smile: It is a wonderful tool that allows all of us to communicate easily regardless of the language we speak natively.



Perfect… Typing the number was my missing link. I was looking for how to represent a star.

@HumanJHawkins just enter the number of “*”’ in the search field will work BUT see below

If I have an embedded folder, DxPL will not search that unless DxPL has “seen” that subdirectory before, i.e. it is searching its database not the disk files and data only gets into that database when a user navigates to a directory.

If you set the ‘Rating’ in DxPL then the values will be in the database and can be searched.

I am afraid the DxPL is a photo editor/developer but not a general purpose file management program.

As far as I know the only way that you can make DxPL “discover” a directory/sub-directory is by navigating to that specific directory manually.

So when DxPL discovers and “imports” a directory it does not automatically do the same for any embedded sub-directories and the searches will only find what DxPL has been specifically asked to do via indexing or the user has done by navigating, I believe!

While my favourite photo manager is FastStone Image viewer it is useless for any metadata and Fast Raw Viewer is not much better.

I think that your best “cheap” option is XnViewMP (and possibly the older XnView. So I created some sub-directories and asked XnViewMP to search the main directory using this

With this result

Hope that helps



PS If you want to be “bored” by discussions about this setting



please ask, you have been warned, my explanations are (too) comprehensive (long) or so I have been told (many times).

PPS:- XnViewMP can find the data but only by searching the disk files and that takes time. It has a database for thumbnails but not for metadata. Metadata databases are the domain of DAM software and some editors contain a more comprehensive DAM function than DxPL contains.

But DAM (I own but rarely use IMatch), or editors with more heavyweight DAM functions, typically cost a lot of money. I used to use ExifPro (now freeware) to provide the functions that you require (family photos etc.). Photo Supreme used to provide a free Lite copy with a limitation of 5,000 images but they have now withdrawn that facility.

1 Like

Oh I don’t know, I find them very calming. Bit like wind chimes or lapping waves in the background.


If they are my wind chimes that would be O.K. (not really) but listening to someone else wind chimes is not as bad as dogs barking but both show a lack of curtesy!

So you want more soporific posts, hmm… you can go off people you know!

1 Like

I’m quite sure you are correct. ( I just asumed we where talking about files already known by PL ) Pressing F5 makes PL find any new directories within your currently selected directory, but nothing below that level. As you say, for the search to function to find anything you have to make PL index it first.

@TorsteinH you are right the ‘F5’ refreshes and can help locate the existence of the subfolders but does not “discover” and import them until the user selects each folder and “no import” = “not in database”= not available for the search.

The reason that DxPL doesn’t automatically discover embedded subfolders and import them is because it could be automatically importing potentially every image on the disk in one selection!

That would be interesting… :sweat_smile: Maybee PL should have set a base folder for it’s database, but I guess that would restrict it somewhat.

@TorsteinH I believe that one of the principles that DxPL is built on is to avoid the “forced” importation process that other packages use and to replace it with an automatic import process, i.e. a process that is activated when the user visits a directory.

Lightroom, Capture one etc. require the user to select a folder and then select images from that folder to be imported into the catalog.

IMatch uses a similar process and to be honest I prefer the DxPL approach by a long way but if I was to do this

and it caused an automatic importation of subfolders (sub-directories) (which the current design won’t) it would start the importation of over 330,000 images, hence that is not how DxPL works.

I imported the entire photo Library into DigiKam and also into ExifPro a few years ago when it would be a somewhat smaller workload.

Just clicking on the top directory in ExifPro and the disk has started “chattering” as ExifPro starts creating a catalogue of the files!

My Family photos as scattered throughout my image files, although I have long had a resolve to also collect them into their own Library, currently any directory with a Family photo is marked as “.F” and every photo with a Family member is marked as “-F” and many, but not all, have keywords added to identify that the image contains Family members and keywords to identify the name of the Family Member(s) present in the photo.

But the only practical way of organising such images is in a database of some description, either of all images or a sub-library of Family images, simply because it is faster to search a database than to access each file looking for all images for a given subject.

The problem in trying to solve one problem is the risk that you will simply create another one! There are things that could be done to improve the process, for those that want alternative strategies but any such option should be provided as a user selectable option to the current automatic process which generally has much to commend it but not for every situation or every user.

A “head” directory could be used and could be for a given year (if the user organises the images that way) but my family images span all the years from 2003 for digital images, with additional directories containing scanned images from before that time.

So the all encompassing database is essentially the only way to go, I believe, and that rules DxPL out, principally because it wants to render images whenever it opens a directory and that slows down the whole process of just “browsing”.

Of course, for those of us using Mac computers, we strictly have no need for any kind of DAM or even database. Because macOS already contains the Spotlight search engine, which is capable of searching for all sorts of metadata including star ratings, keywords, Finder tags, aperture, shutter speed, etc.

The Spotlight engine is continually indexing the entire disk in the background and it does it so smoothly that you don’t even know it is happening. I have written my own image metadata management app for macOS that leverages the Spotlight engine, which means I have no need to maintain my own database.

Unfortunately, since PhotoLab also has to run on Windows, which doesn’t seem to have such a background engine, DxO have been forced to implement their own mechanism, which they use for both platforms even though they could have profited from Spotlight on Mac.

Instead of automatic background indexing, DxO’s solution seems to rely on having to manually instigating indexing if you plan on searching anywhere other than the current folder or folders that have been previously accessed. And the indexing process is horrendously slow if you want to include everything.

Example of searching for all 5 star rated images in a hierarchy of 14,314 images…

And that is with no database or indexing apart from macOS Spotlight.

There is more too Windows than most people know!
Actually, if you go into File explorer and search for a keyword, select system files, you get something like this:

In this case I searched for Kira, the name of my dog and selected the folder Bilder (Photos). I could just as well have selected a drive, all of the PC or whatever you like. So probably I don’t need it in Windows 11 either. ( This probably works just as well in Win 10. ) :grinning:

That’s useful to know. At last Microsoft are catching up. However the problem would still remain as long as DxO want to support older versions

Sorry but I know that already but any such search is a linear search and a linear search of all the files within the search area, i.e. it starts at the beginning and works its way through all the images and if it finds the ones you are particularly interested in at the beginning of the search it must still continue to the end because there may be more to find.

Unless you run with ‘Indexer’ set (which typically I do not) when Windows creates an index with seems to improve the search somewhat!

@Joanna you have always been proud of the fact that your product doesn’t use a database but it does, it uses one that comes as part of the operating system (which I realised some time ago from other comments you made!) and that is great for Mac users.

And I have discovered that it was not so simple… It works fine for jpg tiff etc. but it will not locate my raw files, .orf in my case. So I have to look more deeply into the matter and see if I find a resonable solution.

@TorsteinH I believe that I just found 4 RAWs that I had indexed where the ‘Rating’ was in the sidecar file and I think Win10 found the RAWs correctly.

I need to investigate ‘Indexer’ options and overheads and suitable configurations for RAW files etc. but that must wait for a bit.