iPhoto Multiple Libraries

Question

Can I have more than one iPhoto Library and how do I do that?

Requirements

Mac OS? X Tiger (10.4.7 or newer) , iPhoto 6.0 or newer



Background

Apple's iPhoto application stores your images (both original and edited) in a hierarchical folder structure which is generally referred to as a Library. While iPhoto has a variety of techniques for organizing your images including folders, smart albums, albums, and keywords, there are times when it might be helpful to have more than one Library to store your images.

Prior to iPhoto v6 (part of iLife 06) the easiest way to create and manage multiple iPhoto Libraries was using the application iPhoto Library Manager XTNL URL With the introduction of iPhoto v6, Apple also provides an internal mechanism to create and manage multiple Libraries. We'll discuss Apple's internal method next.

What To Do

While it's possible to use the third party application iPhoto Library Manager XTNL URL with iPhoto v6, you might want to explore this option which is built into iPhoto. Please note these steps are tested and confirmed in iPhoto v6.0.5 and Mac OS X 10.4.7 -- they may not work in earlier versions but it's worth trying. If you have success with these steps in earlier versions of iPhoto please use the Add Comment link at the bottom of this page to leave the specific iPhoto and Mac OS X version numbers you are using so others may benefit from your experience.

To Create a new iPhoto Library, do this:

  1. Quit iPhoto if it's already running
  2. Press Option and launch iPhoto (hint: you can simply click on the iPhoto icon in the Dock)
  3. A dialog box will appear as shown below. Click Create Library and follow the screen dialogs to make a new Library and press Save
  4. Result: iPhoto will open and display the contents of your new Library. If this is the first time you created or opened this Library it will be empty

iPhotoCreateLibrary.jpg

Notes:Your original iPhoto Library, and the images it contains, is never deleted or modified. iPhoto is simply looking in a different place to display the contents of the new or selected library. You can switch back to the original Library at any time ... read on.

To switch between multiple iPhoto Libraries, do this:

  1. Quit iPhoto if it's already running
  2. Press Option and launch iPhoto
  3. A dialog box will appear as shown below. Click Choose Library... allowing you to navigate and select your preferred Library and press Open
  4. Result: iPhoto will open and display the contents of your the selected Library. If this is the first time you created or opened this Library it will be empty. If the Library contained images from an earlier session, those images and related albums, etc., will be displayed.

iPhotoChooseLibrary.jpg

Notes:

  • Your original iPhoto Library, and the images it contains, is never deleted or modified. iPhoto is simply looking in a different place to display the contents of the new or selected Library.
  • iPhoto can only display the contents of one Library at a time. To switch between multiple libraries you need to follow the steps noted above each time
  • To switch back to the original iPhoto Library which is created by default (the one most of us use on a regular basis), choose Your User Id Name / Pictures Folder / iPhoto Library folder and press Open in step 3 noted above.
  • iPhoto remembers the last Library you used/chose. So, when you launch iPhoto and you don't see the content you expected, don't panic. It means you haven't told iPhoto to use the correct Library. Simply follow the steps noted above to choose the correct one.

    Why Have multiple iPhoto Libraries?
    Well, each of us have different filing and storage requirements for how we like to manage photos. Some possible uses for needing or wanting multiple iPhoto Libraries might include:

    • separating work from personal content
    • separating school content (e.g. content students should see for class projects) from personal content
    • you may have limited storage space and want to keep a master library on an external hard drive but a smaller library on a lap top hard drive
    • if you regularly give iPhoto or Mac demonstrations, you may want to keep your demo content in a different library than your personal or regular work related content

    Overall, we'd prefer if Apple would simply move this hidden feature to a more obvious location (how about the File? menu > Choose Library and Create Library) but until then it's a hidden gem that some users may find helpful. Don't forget that this same technique can also be used in iTunes 7 to create and switch between multiple music folders.

    We hope that helps
    caddpower.com

    ------
    If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support by buying us coffee, lunch, or dinner. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

    Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)