November 09, 2010

Search & replace metadata in Lightroom

John Beardsworth’s Search Replace Transfer plug-in for Lightroom 2 & 3 sounds useful.  Designed for bulk changes to text in Metadata Panel fields, the plug-in:

  1. Searches and replaces text like a word processor
  2. Appends text before or after existing text
  3. Transfers text between fields
  4. Transfers metadata from iView/Expression Media to 18 custom fields
  5. Audits title, caption and keyword entry



Posted by John Nack at 6:57 AM on November 09, 2010


  • Thomas — 7:55 AM on November 09, 2010

    I’m asking myself how you would feel sitting a home in front of Lightroom missing a Search Replace Transfer function so badly.
    Would you start thinking “uhm, we need this feature in LR immediately” and call the development team and show em the axe or would you download the plug-in for $30 right away?

    I also don’t know what the bug and feature requests bring at all. I contributed but never found the requested quirks fixed. Nothing was done in LR 3.3 Beta.
    I still have to believe that you don’t read thise requests at all.

    And yes, i go off whenever you post “plugins” for PS or LR trying to “mask out” lacking features.


    I still try to figure out how the whole Adobe Universe works and how people think there.
    I really don’t get it.

    [Well, you can look forward to us putting in more functionality, at which point you can ding us for making “bloated” applications that harm the interests of hard-working plug-in developers by “stealing” all their ideas. It’s a win-win for you! ;-P –J.]

    • Thomas — 5:33 PM on November 09, 2010

      [… harm the interests of hard-working plug-in developers by “stealing” all their ideas … –J.]

      No, stop. I don’t buy this.
      Look, most talented plugin and script developers these days mostly creating their software because of lacking functionality in a major app.

      I point out “” as the very best example. I don’t know what i’d done in my large projects without those at all. They don’t even sell 90% of these scripts. They let people decide what amount they want to pay/donate – or nothing at all.

      Another interesting “plugin” is Frischluft “Fresh Curves”. It was created because of only one reason.
      The native After Effects version lacks control and accuracy to take full advantage of it. Fresh Curves makes up for these drawbacks so you can get the most out of this basic tool.

      Nothing more to say.
      Do you get the meaning behind it all?

      I’ll reply now to Tom Hogarty because this topic is something i put major focus on since years.

  • peter — 9:27 AM on November 09, 2010

    thomas has a point.

    i wonder that certain functions are still missing in LR after so many updates.

    it´s like nobody at adobe really uses the software.

    people like scott kelby and others may praise LR but that´s no wonder…. they make money with all the issues and quirks. thats why they sell books.

    on the other site i read so many feature request from people who work with LR day after day…. an they get ignored again and again.

  • Timmey — 9:56 AM on November 09, 2010

    I thought the same like Thomas. This is a basic feature and and neither connected to „bloated“ (there is even a SmugMug plugin, a service most people don’t even know) nor „stealing an idea“ (since it is pretty basic and your implementation would be totally different).

  • Jim Pogozelski — 11:05 AM on November 09, 2010

    John Beardsworth and Peter Krogh have been helping Digital Asset Management along since the good old iView days. Coming from that background as well I used to wonder why Lightroom didn’t have more DAM built in (at first I thought it would be a fancy iView).

    Now I believe that even if the Lightroom team wanted more DAM, they wouldn’t do it because the Adobe product that is supposed to Manage Assets is… Bridge. Looks like LR is for image enhancement, and Bridge is the Organizer.

    So thankfully there is someone like John out there to extend Lightroom for us non-coding types who still use iVew/expressionmeia instead of Bridge.

  • peter — 2:08 PM on November 09, 2010

    that´s the problem … adobe may think that people buy LR because of the image editing…. but i use LR for DAM. and most photographer i know buy LR for the DAM features.

    for editing i have photoshop!
    and photoshop offers way more and is way more flexible the LR.
    LR image editing is too limited.
    local adjustments with LR are a pain in the ass.
    you need layers and blending options for that.

    i think most people who are really into photography need more image editing features as LR offers.

  • Tom Hogarty — 2:58 PM on November 09, 2010

    “I also don’t know what the bug and feature requests bring at all.”
    Every single bug report and feature request hits my inbox and I read all of the feature requests.(I skim the bug reports for trends but our quality engineering team does read every bug report) I’m sorry you feel like your issues haven’t been addressed but as I’ve mentioned in a few different venues, the list of feature/enhancement requests generated by even the first public beta in 2006 could easily keep the team busy until 2020. That leaves us with the challenging task of prioritization. I’m looking at a few ways to make that prioritization a bit more transparent so stay tuned. In the interim, I do believe plug-in developers like John Beardsworth, Jeffrey Friedl, Tim Armes, to name a few, help extend the functionality of the application for those who need a solution now. The Lightroom team is certainly grateful that we have such a passionate group of individuals willing to create additional solutions for our customers.(In fact, we’re celebrating Plug-in Week on the Lightroom Facebook and Twitter feeds this week)

    Tom Hogarty
    Lightroom Product Manager

    • Thomas — 6:35 PM on November 09, 2010

      Tom, thank you. I kindly appreciate your reply on this very important topic.

      Let me quote a very interesting line from you.

      [the list of feature/enhancement requests generated by even the first public beta in 2006 could easily keep the team busy until 2020. That leaves us with the challenging task of prioritization.]

      I trust you that a wise selection and prioritization is not an easy task indeed.
      But i’m no buying this.

      I am someone who is constantly reading blogs contributing and helping out in forums, etc., and i do read a lot of rants and read between the lines what people think and say.

      This way of “researching” user behavior on different applications gives me a clear view that makes me understand if a software is developing in the right direction as a beta version, after an update or a major upgrade.
      And mostly it’s about functionality and usability and not about new features (features at all) and magic tricks, but it seems that Adobe is mainly concentrating on new features – of course making every upgrade a (best)seller.

      As Peter pointed out here
      [it´s like nobody at adobe really uses the software.]
      That’s something I’m thinking to myself over and over again whenever i’m opening a new software Version.
      How Adobe employees are using/seeing their own software?
      Is there any objective and critic view at all?

      I believe that i am not the only one who does NOT like to carry hundreds of plugins for different applications, for this and that on my system.

      First: Reinstalling or Setting up a new system is always PAIN IN THE ASS.

      Second: working as a freelancer on a client machine without the ability to carry over my plugins because of admin rights, plus the licensing madness of many plugs is making my routine work and time schedule a nightmare.

      Second: Updating/Upgrading plugins hurts A LOT in the pocket. I lived this nightmare now for CS5 upgrading all my plugs to 64-Bit. There is no fun at all.

      So don’t wait for me to celebrate “plugin week” with you.

      Another topic that makes Adobe standing in a somewhat strange light.
      The Feature Request/Bug Report Form itself.

      If contributions to feature requests and bug reports are such an important topic for Adobe, why this form page was created in such a poor manner? Why not using a system like which many software companies are using for better organization of customer requests.
      Mozilla has a great system on requests and bugs, just to name a few.

      I wonder how all the requests fields from the Adobe form page are generated in a readable organizable way at your end? But hey, why this bugs me at all? Because these ideas do not go hand in hand with my understanding on handling very important topics. It’s the contrary what i have expected from a billion dollar company.

      I can’t force you to do anything, but if you want to show how important feature request are, show me/us how you are able to manage the total quirk with the presets panel (and the contextual menu part for applying settings), finding a smarter way to manage presets, how they are browsed, previewed and applied (just for the record: at the moment presets are added one over another anytime you click a preset in the browser, you have to undo/reset every time a preset is added)


      Make images load faster for previews, even from a 2.5″ external (IDE) USB harddrive with standard 5400 RPM.
      If the one-man-show image software “Irfan View” can load the same images faster than LR, i bet you can do better.

      No harm meant to anyone personally.
      I just really dig into this.

  • Tim — 3:13 PM on November 09, 2010

    I agree with Thomas too! What’s wrong with these people at Adobe? Don’t they know how important this product is to us? I mean, what have they been doing since the Beta 3 days? I think we should storm the gates at Abobe and hold our breaths until we turn blue and pass out. Then, by golly, they’ll really listen and give us the features we want!!

    By the way, while John Beardsworth created his plugin I wonder what bug or feature a programmer at Adobe is/was working on instead.

    • Jim Hoerricks — 9:45 AM on November 10, 2010

      Having read the “your product should have X plug-ins” posts, I find it interesting to see how each person expects to see their needs met by a single piece of software.

      As a user in an extremely small community with a rather specific set of needs (law enforcement forensic imaging), I know that Adobe will probably not ever put things into standard releases of LR or PS that will completely make me happy. I’d love to see things like field alignment and FFT be included in PS so that I don’t have to spend thousands on plug-ins and support from third parties. I also know that people who need FFT functions as a daily part of their work number in the hundreds, maybe a few thousand – as compared to the millions of prosumer photographers.

      So, I thank Adobe for its continued love and support of the law enforcement community. I also thank my B-school stats prof who taught me the rules of normal distributions and outliers – lessons that help me make sense of why I probably won’t see FFT in a standard PS release.

      • jan ulle — 10:24 AM on November 10, 2010

        the request are not specific as yours.

        i bet 80% of all users would benefit from the requested features … or better say finetuned features.

  • peter — 3:07 AM on November 10, 2010

    better filter functions, like other DAM software already has, is not so hard to implement.

    smart filters are great, i love them.
    but there are important filter and search options missing in LR.

    jeffrey friedls search plugin helps (and only one man has coded this) but LR is still lacking features.

    i don´t think that it would take so much manpower to make this important part of LR better.

  • peter — 3:21 AM on November 10, 2010

    oh and one more point i see many LR users struggling at.


    renaming in LR is a pain (at least for me).
    i mean it has a lot of features but the workflow is not intuitiv.

    so i do all my renaming outside of LR.
    i love the renaming features from TOTAL COMMANDER.

    TC gives me a before -> after view of the FILENAMES. so that i immediatley see what the new filename looks like.
    TC has the option to delete/change/keep only certain parts of the filename etc.

    i would love to see adobe improve these features we need every day.

  • J. Darknell — 11:45 AM on November 10, 2010

    Obviously these commenters know nothing about software development. There’s the users, the testers, and then marketing. Its hard to sell ‘we made keywords ‘search and replaceable’, these truly aren’t the kinds of things that make people ‘open their wallets’ sadly. Its the sort of thing people like to complain about on forums, but then when the new releases comes out they want flash. (not the program, i mean glitz). Often times their are a few vocal users that have certain ‘must-have’ features, but the discussions on the beta forums are lukewarm to cold when those topics are brought up. I’m not so sure how or why, no matter how many ‘real’ users you get onto the beta team, there’s still a big discrepancy between what the beta users want and what the users want. I don’t envy your position John. Just keep doing what you do, as I appreciate it.

    • poorloser — 2:55 PM on November 10, 2010

      thank god we have you idiot to tell us that…

  • HooMe — 2:48 PM on November 10, 2010

    I’m not trusting an imaging program that scratches its head at something so simple as a GIF.

    [Bring me a camera that shoots GIFs & I’ll personally add GIF support to Lightroom. –J.]

    • HooMe — 8:34 AM on November 24, 2010

      LR is a pretend DAM, right John? That’s the problem with LR — it excels at nothing. I have thousands of digital assets that need organizing and LR doesn’t know nothin about hardly any of them. And Bridge, lovely as it is, knows nothing about cataloging. I’m a photographer but my world hasn’t been strictly photos since the Clinton administration. Maybe some day Adobe will build a real DAM…maybe someday you’ll stop the pissy remarks.

      [You first. –J.]

  • Jaddie Dodd — 2:20 PM on November 24, 2010

    Dear HooMe

    Lightroom excels at nothing?

    But it does excel at weeding through hundreds or even thousands of images, helping me pick the better ones, and make quick edits to those images.

    All of my finished images do pass through Photoshop for final processing, but my post-production workflow begins with Lightroom.

    I’m managing just under 17,000 images in Lightroom 3. I use Extensis Portfolio, PhaseOne (née Microsoft, née iView) Expression Media, and DiskTracker for asset management.

    Lightroom excels as the antidote for workslow.


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