Catalog Sync is used to check that the metadata indexed by the catalog is up to date, and ensure that items in specific folders are included in the catalog.

Some examples of when you may want to perform a Catalog Sync:

  • Metadata of Catalog files was updated on another computer or by other software
  • Files were added to folders where other items in the catalog are stored
  • The Preview Size for the catalog’s proxies was changed in the Catalog Management window and you would like to rebuild the proxies at the new size.
  • The path to some items in the Catalog was changed by some other application, and you would like to identify which files those were. Once these files are identified, you can update their location to let Photo Mechanic know where they have moved to.

Setting up Catalog Sync

  1. Choose Catalog > Catalog Sync…

  2. Select a catalog in the “Catalogs to Sync” section of the window. Once a selection is made, the settings for the selected catalog will be shown below.

  3. Adjust the settings for the selected catalog

    • Folders to Include in Sync:selecting ‘Add…’ will bring up your operating system’s folder picker. When the Sync is performed, Photo Mechanic will do a recursive scan of all folders added to the list, and add any images that it finds in those folders to the catalog.
      • Include Existing Paths From Catalog: Selecting this will add all folders that have an item in the Catalog to the list, so that they can be checked for new items.
    • Folders to Exclude from Sync: If a folder in the Includelist contains a subfolder that holds images that you do not want to be added to the Catalog during the Sync, add it here.
      • Use ‘Add Pattern’ to instruct the Sync operation to ignore any folders that include a specific text string in their name.
    • File Extensions to Include or Exclude:Choose whether you would like Photo Mechanic to ignore specific file extensions, or only look for images or videos with specific extensions when doing the Sync.
      • Photo Mechanic will only add image or movie files to a catalog. Including a file type that cannot be added to a catalog will not make that type be added to the catalog. Excluding a file type that cannot be cataloged does not make the Sync operation faster.
      • This option is tolerant of some variation. For example, if you choose to only include files with a .JPG extension, .JPEGs will also be included as well.
      • If multiple extensions should be included or ignored, separate them with a semi-colon
    • Automatic Collections to Create: You can choose to have a Sync create collections to show which items were added during the sync or which catalog items could not be found when the Sync occurred. For each option that is selected, a corresponding collection will  be a subcollection of a parent collection whose name is the time and date that the Sync occurred. This parent collection will be a subcollection of a top-level collection called ‘-sync-’. Each catalog selected in Catalogs to Sync will have its own top-level ‘-sync-’ collection.
      • New files added to catalog: Any item added to the catalog during the Sync will be added to a collection called New
      • Files missing from last known location on disk: If a catalog item cannot be found at it’s last known location, it will be added to a collection called Missing.
      • Files offline because the volume is not mounted: If an item is in a catalog, but the drive that stores the source file is not connected when the Sync occurs, it will be added to a collection called Offline
  4. Check the box for the catalog in the Catalogs to Sync section. If there are other catalogs, and you would like them to be included in the Sync, return to step two.

  5. Choose a Sync Mode: This setting, unlike the ones above, applies to all catalogs included in the Sync, and is not a per-catalog setting

    • Quick mode only scans specified folders for new files and adds them to your catalogs.
    • Fullmode adds new files, identifies missing catalog files (like proxies), and updates the metadata for any images whose metadata has been changed by another program or by Photo Mechanic on another computer.
      • Note: if you would like the Catalog Sync operation to index any metadata updates for the files that are currently part of your Catalog and ensure that all proxies are generated for the catalog according to the settings in Catalog Management, but you do not want the Sync to add any new items: choose Full as the Sync Mode, but add only an empty folder to the “Folders to include in Sync” area.
  6. Select Start to begin the Sync operation.

Once the Sync has begun:

  • Sync Status: Displays messages as the Sync progresses. If there are any issues during the Sync operation, this is a good place to look for information about what happened. When the Sync completes, a summary will be displayed.
Note: A sync is generally a very fast operation, but it may kick off other longer-running tasks such as proxy preview generation, or catalog metadata updates. Check if any tasks are in progress from the Tasks pane or Catalog Status.



  • Close: closes the window but does not end the Sync
  • Stop: ends the Sync. Any changes to the catalog made during the Sync, such as new items added, will be retained.
  • Pause: Pause the Sync at its current progress. Select Start once the sync is paused to have the Sync pickup from where it left off.