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Photo Mechanic 5

🎥 - Learn Basic Code Replacement in Photo Mechanic

Photo Mechanic’s Code Replacement is a feature which speeds up captioning of often-used terms or names like those used in sports photography, but can be used as a method of shorthand for any type of photography.

To use Code Replacement, you first use a text editor to prepare a UTF-8 text file in a tab-separated format. The format of the text file will be comprised of two or more ‘columns’, the first being the ‘Code’ and the second through last being the ‘Replacements’. These ‘columns’ have to be separated by a ‘tab’ character. Using just spaces won’t work.

Here’s a simple example of a what a Code Replacement text file might look like that would be used for a basketball game between the Chattanooga Choo-Choos and the Detroit Dunkers:


Ideally, you want your codes to be as short as possible while being completely unique. In this example, each team name is abbreviated with two letters and one or two numbers that match the player’s jersey number, followed by the player’s name, separated by a tab. Some of the player’s names are difficult to spell correctly, even if you are familiar with them. Code Replacement makes this problem a thing of the past. All you have to do is get the spelling right once: during the creation of the Code Replacement text file. Once you have created your text file, you need to tell Photo Mechanic to use it for Code Replacement. Go to Edit > Settings > Set Code Replacements and you’ll then see this window:


This is where you can define which files contain Code replacement data – and there can be more than one. You select multiple Code Replacement files at once in the file selection dialog by holding down the Shift key. Where multiple codes exist, the most recently loaded replacement will take preference. The “delimiter” field is the keyboard character you will use to tell Photo Mechanic to do a Code Replacement. The default character is a \, but you may wish to change this. For example, the \ can cause problems if you use Code Replacements in folder paths in Windows. Consider using something like = in those cases.

Once your text files are loaded, you can start using ‘Code Replacement’ to speed up your captioning.

Continuing our basketball example, let’s say you shoot a game where the Chattanooga Choo-Choos play the Detroit Dunkers. Later after Ingesting your images you begin to individually caption the keepers and want to identify the players in each of the photos.

Example: you have a picture with Dain Bramage (CC8) breaking past Stanislav Zarubezhanin (DD41) and you can visibly see their jersey numbers in the thumbnail preview of the IPTC Info dialog. You just type in your codes for each player, surrounded by the ‘\’ character which tells Photo Mechanic to look up the codes and enter their replacements. Photo Mechanic instantly looks up the replacement text and enters it in place of the \code\ and automatically places the cursor at the end of the replacement so that you can continue typing in the rest of your text.


This is just one example of how Code Replacements can speed up your workflow in Photo Mechanic. For more detailed information on how to use Code Replacement, please go to

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