iPhoto Library Manager


I was impressed with iPhoto Library Manager ($19.95) from the moment that I first started using it, but that admiration went up a notch today when they announced that it was already iPhoto 08 compatible.

My Position

In what seems to be a never ending task I am once again in the middle of moving my photographs around. This time I want to have them all in one central place, which means that I have a number of separate iPhoto libraries that I want to consolidate into one main library.

At the same time I quite like the idea of keeping the libraries separate. That may seem strange so I will try and explain…..

I have recently started to use different libraries on different Macs for different ‘projects’ e.g. AlmerimarLife photographs, Client photographs, Mac related photographs etc.

While I want to have one central iPhoto library that shows all of my photographs, especially now that iPhoto 08 allows you to determine which you do and don’t want to view, I also like the idea of only having certain photographs in specific libraries.

Step forward the excellent iPhoto Library Manager!


As you can see iPhoto Library Manager allows you to add a number of separate libraries into one ‘pool’, and then it is as easy as a click on the radio button next to the specific library and then the Relaunch iPhoto button and hey presto, iPhoto opens up with just that library.

I think the single most impressive and useful feature is the ability to merge libraries.

I have lost track of the number of times in the past that I have ‘lost’ the meta data associated with the library when moving it, so this feature was a total god send for me! Easy to use, effective and efficient it was such a joy to add the library then with a couple of clicks merge them and watch the new photos with all their meta data appear in the main library – bliss!

Merging Libraries.png

Of course, if you can merge you would expect to be able to split a large library and you can. Switching between libraries is very simple as well. Other features include:

  • Info at a Glance – See at a glance what albums are in each of your libraries, as well as their version, modification date, and size
  • Share and Share Alike – Set your library’s permissions so that it can be used by multiple users on the same machine
  • In Sync – Sync photos from multiple libraries with your iPod
  • Automate It – Customize your photo workflow using built-in Applescript support and Automator actions
  • Direct Import – Import photos directly into a particular library with filtering and metadata options
  • Making Copies – Copy photos from one library to another while retaining titles, comments, keywords, ratings, and dates
  • Merge Your Acquisitions – Merge multiple libraries together into one
  • Photo First Aid – Rebuild or extract photos from corrupted iPhoto libraries
  • All in all a very very impressive application that I am using a lot, can’t fine fault with and would happily recommend.

    Recent Press Release

    Fat Cat Software has updated iPhoto Library Manager to version 3.3, providing full compatibility with iPhoto ’08. Users can now utilize all of the program’s features with Apple’s newest version of iPhoto, including copying albums between libraries while preserving photo metadata and merging multiple libraries together into one. Basic library management is provided for free, and advanced features are enabled by purchasing a copy for $19.95. The update is free for existing registered users.

    iPhoto Library Manager is a tool for iPhoto users to easily divide their photo collection among multiple iPhoto libraries, instead of being required to keep all their photos in a single library. Users can keep libraries anywhere they choose, including on an external or networked drive.

    In addition to creating and switching between libraries, iPhoto Library Manager allows users to copy albums of photos from one library to another while preserving their keywords, ratings, and other photo metadata, or to merge multiple libraries together into one. Library shortcuts provide an easy way to open a library quickly, and iPhoto Library Manager can be used to rebuild or extract photos from a corrupted library.

    A single user license for iPhoto Library Manager can be purchased for $19.95 and provides access to all the features of the program. Basic library switching is compatible with all versions of iPhoto, and all photo copying features require iPhoto 4.0.3 or later. iPhoto Library Manager is a universal binary and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.

    Product URL
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    Fat Cat Software is run by Brian Webster and has been creating software for the Mac OS X platform since 2004.

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    10 thoughts on “iPhoto Library Manager

    1. Blake Brannon

      I also have experimented with iPhoto Library Manager and I must say it is a great tool. I myself don’t use it because I only have one class of photos, ‘My Life’, but I can see where it would be a great organization tool to use if you had multiple picture classes. iPhoto is the best photo management tool and this addition gives you even greater scalability to manage all your photos.

    2. Danny

      Looks/sounds very useful. I do like the idea of merging libraries, also looks like the interface is nice and user-friendly.D

    3. Chris Marshall Post author

      I was a one library man as well until I started doing a (very) small amout of photography for clients. At that point I wanted a way of showing them just there pictures without them seeing all my others. I know you can do this to some degree in iPhoto 08 but I got this application in iPhoto 06 days.

    4. Wayne LeFevre

      So Chris, how do you use iPhoto in relation to the management in LightRoom? I’m in that predicament right now. I use Aperture almost exclusively right now, but iPhoto in iLife ’08 is pretty slick with the events and being able to drop them right into iWeb. I’ve even been experimenting with them on my Home page. Yet, I don’t really want to wind up with multiple copies of the same photos, in different formats, on the same drive.

    5. Chris Marshall Post author

      Simple answer – I use Lightroom and Photoshop for production and iPhoto for presentation.

      I tend to split the photos into two camps in my own mind – ones that I am jusy shooting for day to day fun and ones that I am shooting to do something specific with. The fun ones just get uplaoded straight into a iPhoto library depending on what they were for, and some are deleted but most just stay there – the equivalent of the old photo album. I may take a really good one and use it else where but I don’t spend too much time over these, they are just memories.

      The more specific ones get uploaded into Lightroom for the initial keep/not keep, tagging, modifying etc, then they go into Photoshop for specific work. They then end up in iPhoto but in specific libraries or albums. I take a fair amount of time with these and discard a lot (although every RAW image I ever take is backed up to DVD eventually).

      Lightroom is a one big WIP for me. Photoshop is used for specifics, and iPhoto is used for presentation as it works brilliantly with all the Macs and TV’s we have.

      Ironically my biggest ‘issue’ is maintaing 3 Flickr PRO accounts (Mine, Almerimar Life and Our Personal one) and 4frames. The way the blogs are set up and will continue I need at least two of the Flickr accounts, but may cancel our personal one next year.

      4frames I need to do more with and I am looking into a photoblog site as well linked to this site.

    6. Gary

      That’s interesting that you mostly just use iPhoto for presentation. I use Canon’s ImageBrowser for importing images. They’re stored in a simple folder/file hierarchy in my Pictures folder. The folder names get a simple keyword renaming to remind me of the day’s events. RAW conversion is with DxO Optics Pro (standard edition) and detailed work and final sharpening is done in Photoshop.

      I’ve only used iPhoto in a very limited capacity so far, in spite of owning, I think, every commercial version which has been out so far. (Hands up those of you who can remember when it, like iMovie, came free? Or was it just iMovie? Hmmm…) So far, I think its main use has been to create several albums to which batches of holiday photos have been added. These are then used as source material for screen-savers in Tiger…

    7. Chris Marshall Post author

      Very occasionally I will use the slideshow option in Lightroom which is pretty good, but iPhot is just so convenient as it allwos me to show any photo that we have on any Mac across the network.

      I like the fact that it now imports RAW directly (ok it may have done before I just never tried).

    8. john


      I am still struggling here. If you use lightroom, doesnt it keep a copy of your photo as well. This means you have your original in lightroom and then you take a copy and put it into a iphoto library. I have light room but my issue is I dont want to have too many copies of the same photo. I am working off a macbook pro 17″ and I have plenty of external storage, however I want to keep a fair amount of photos in iphoto because all of the other i.. software will pull from iphoto. Currently I have 9000 photos in one library and it is starting to take up too much space on the laptop.

      Any thoughts on the best way to manage this mess. (keeping in mind I always want to keep the original)

    9. Chris Marshall Post author

      I keep the original in Lightroom. Then when I import to iPhoto I use the setting iPhoto > Prefernces > Advanced > Importing and uncheck the box that says Copy items to the iPhoto Library.

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