The Photo Mechanic Plus catalog creates an index of all of the images that you add to the catalog. By default, it also creates proxy previews for each item in the catalog, which are displayed when an item whose source file is either missing or offline appears on a contact sheet. This allows you to view all images in the catalog and their metadata, even if the source file is not currently available.

By default, the proxy previews are stored in the same location as the catalog database (though you do have the ability to change their location).

The status indicator


Below each thumbnail on the Contact Sheet is a status indicator, the color of which corresponds to the item’s current status in the catalog.

Green: this file is included in one or more catalogs and the source file is present in its indexed location

Yellow: the image is included in one or more catalogs, but the source file is currently unavailable: either offline or missing.  If an image is displayed for this file, Photo Mechanic is showing the stored proxy. If you do not see an image, there is no proxy. To select all images on the Contact Sheet showing a yellow status indicator, go to Edit > Select Missing.

  • Offline: Original files exist on a volume that is currently not mounted to your system.
  • Missing: Photo Mechanic can no longer find the images at the last known folder path location. If files are moved, renamed, or deleted from their original folder location outside of Photo Mechanic Plus, those files will appear as missing.

Transparent: (the color will match the background color of your contact sheet) indicates that the image is not currently in a catalog.

Locating files

When the status indicator for a Contact Sheet item is green or transparent, Photo Mechanic can take you directly to the file in Finder or Explorer: Right-click on the item and select “Reveal in Finder/Explorer”

For items with a yellow status indicator, you can perform a Catalog Sync which has the options to create collections of offline or missing (or new) files in the “Automatic Collections to Create” section of the Catalog Sync window. A top-level collection called ‘-sync-’ will house all of these collections. A subcollection for each sync that you perform with one of these options enabled will be named with the date and time that the sync was started, and this subcollection will contain up to three subcollections, depending on which options are enabled:

  • Enable Files missing from last known location on diskto have these items added to a collection called “Missing”. Files generally go missing because another application (such as MacOS Finder or Windows Explorer) was used to rename, move, or delete the files.
    • If the folder that contains the images was moved, use the Update Folder Location feature to inform Photo Mechanic of the new folder location.
    • If the files were renamed, but the location did not change, the renamed files would have been added to the catalog during the Sync, and therefore the missing images can be removed from the catalog.
    • If the files were deleted the images should be removed from the Catalog.
  • Enable Files offline because the volume is not mounted to have these items added to a collection called “Offline”. To locate these files, connect any hard drives that store the source files.


Reminder: These collections represent the status of the images at the time of the sync. i.e. if images got added to the “Offline” collection, and then the hard drive that stores the source files is connected, a green statu icon will be shown under the images that collection is viewed.