This plugin attempts to fill deficiencies in Lightroom's built-in
Auto-Import facilities, allowing you to auto-import images in place, in a
folder or a whole tree of folders. It's likely of most use to those who
This plugin works in
The same download works for both Windows and Mac.
See the box to the upper right for the download link link (in orange) and installation instructions.
This plugin is distributed as “donationware”. I have chosen
to make it available for free — everyone can use it forever, without
cost of any kind — but unless registered, its functionality is
somewhat reduced after six weeks.
Registration is done via PayPal, and if you choose to register, it costs
the minimum 1-cent PayPal fee; any amount you'd like to add beyond PayPal's
sliding fees as a gift to me is completely optional, and completely
Note: a Lightroom major upgrade, such as
from Lr3 to Lr4, de-registers the plugin in the upgraded version, thus
requiring (if you want to maintain registration) a new (1-cent if you like)
registration code in the upgraded version. It makes for a hassle every
couple of years, I know. Sorry. See this
note for details.
For details on plugin registration and on how I came into this hobby of
Lightroom plugin development, see my Plugin
Update Log via RSS
In Lr4, the "restart on launch" setting is saved per catalog.
Added the ability to apply Develop and Metadata presets upon import.
Now can have imported photos added to a $&8220;Imported by jf Folder Watch Plugin” collection.
Dialog was getting crowded, so split the watch control from the plugin info.
The plugin normally won't try to import a file that has been modified in the last five seconds, but now that five-second
threshold is exposed as a setting. Also, on Windows, it won't try to import a file it can't read (because a file being filled
by another process disallows us to read it.)
Added min/max filesize settings, so that files outside that range are simply ignored.
Ignore any folder with "picassaoriginals" in it.
Added the ability (in Lr3+) to switch directly to an image when it's imported.
Fix an "attempt to perform arithmetic on field" error.
Update to handle the Mac App Store version of Lightroom.
Don't try to re-import master images that Lightroom has a problem with (because they are corrupt, for example) unless the file
actually changes. Upon error, report the full path along with the error.
Better report fundamental master-image-file errors that Lightroom encounters.
Tweak for Lr4.1RC2.
Enhanced the send-log dialog to hopefully make reports more meaningful to me,
yielding, I hope, the ability to respond more sensibly to more reports.
Had broken registrations in Lr2; Update to the debug logging to better track down timing issues that might arise.
Added some extra debug logging, and more work for Lr4. Also end a current scan early if "watch" is disabled.
More on the march toward Lr4, including upheaval in the code to handle Lightroom APIs being discontinued in Lr4.
Update for Lr4 beta: explain in the plugin manager that the plugin can't be registered in the beta.
Had issues with the registration button sometimes not showing.
When doing a plugin upgrade, offer the ability to flush all the old copies of the plugin.
Added a system-clock check and reports to the user if the system clock is more than a minute out of
date. An incorrect system clock can cause problems with various kinds of communication and authentication
with some of my plugins, so I've just gone ahead and added this to every plugin.
Now imports video as well (ones that Lightroom supports), and tidied up the list of image file extensions
to try to import to better match what Lightroom understands.
The remote-filesystem-time-is-off detection wasn't working when there were multiple folders to scan.
Some windows folders couldn't be scanned... think I've got it fixed now.
You can now select multiple folders to scan.
The whole display was getting cut off at the right sometimes.
Made the revalidation process much simpler, doing away with the silly need for a revalidation file.
Discovered a bug in my plugin build system that caused horribly difficult-to-track-down errors in one plugin,
so am pushing out rebuilt versions of all plugins just in case.
Added all kinds of enhanced folder-scan logging when Enhanced Logging is turned on, to try
to track down some issues.
The plugin now tries to detect and adjust for a remote file system having a different
clock than the host system.
Added code to allow plugin revalidation after having been locked due to a bad Lightroom serial number.
Discovered a nasty build bug; pushing a new version in case it affects this plugin.
This version can be registered in
Lightroom 3. It can run in Lightroom 2 or Lightroom 3; it does not work in the Lr3 betas.
It uses my new registration system when run on Lightroom 3,
which avoids some of the silly issues of the old one. Please take care to note
the details on the registration
page: use of this version (or later) of the plugin in Lightroom 3 requires a new
registration code, even if you had registered some older version of the plugin.
Completely changed how the one-click upgrade applies the newly-downloaded zip file, in the hopes that
it'll work for more people. Rather than unzipping over the old copy, it now unzips to a temporary
folder, then moves the old folder out of the way and the new folder into place. Prior versions' folders
are now maintained (with the version number in the folder) in case you want to revert a version; you
may want to clear them out from time to time. Of course, it won't take affect until you try to upgrade
after having upgraded to or beyond this version.
Wholesale changes that attempt to honor the user's locale settings for numeric display (e.g. Europeans
writing 3,14156 for pi). I've probably missed some spots, so let me know if you find some.
Fixed up some UI confusion that happened sometimes if the plugin was not enabled and there was no
valid folder to scan. A few other small UI cleanups, and a fix that caused the plugin to abort sometimes
Re-import a scanned file if it has changed (size or create/modification date). Thus, if you move
a file out of the scanned tree from within Lightroom and later add another file with the same name,
it'll get imported. I also now report only the number of files scanned each time; folders
are not included in the scan count.
Added some heuristics to avoid importing a file that's still being written to disk. Modification times
reported to the plugin are a bit imprecise, but if an image file seems to be less than a second old, it is
Enhanced the one-click upgrade stuff quite a bit, now
detecting ahead of time when it will fail because the plugin is installed where Lightroom
can't write (if Lightroom can't write to it, it can't update itself). I
also added a progress bar, and now download in smaller chunks to avoid 'out
of memory' errors on the larger plugins. Do remember that this new functionality becomes
available after you upgrade to or past this version, when you then upgrade with it.
Fixed a "loadstring" error some users got.
Now it quietly ignores images that Lightroom can't process. The failure is noted in
the plugin log. (It's on the to-do list to expose an "activity log" where this event might be more
Added a link in the Plugin Manager to the plugin's update-log RSS feed.
Added a "show splash dialog" option to the "upon import of a new image..." configuration,
so that you can be informed when the plugin imports a new image in the background for you. You can
configure whether the splash is shown, and if so, for how long before it automatically disappears.
I've not tested this too much, so I don't know what problems it might cause having a background
task (the folder watch plugin) throw up a splash dialog. It seems to work okay, except...
.. if a splash dialog pops up while you're painting local corrections, it'll do bad things to the
current brush stroke, such that after dismissing the splash dialog, you'll have to undo the brush
stroke you were working on and redo it.
I also realized one other caution: when the plugin imports a photo for you, that import action
is added to the undo stack. This happens whether the import is accompanied by a splash dialog, or
if it's totally silent in the background. The worry this creates is that if the import happens
just before you do a bunch of undos, you may unwittingly undo back past the import and not even notice.
The only option I see around this problem is even worse: having the import pop up a warning dialog
that it's about to clear the undo stack, and then actually have it clear the undo stack.
So, if this is a practical worry for you, enable the splash screen.
I also fixed the home-page url, and the folder-to-watch edit box,
which would sometimes show only a partial folder path on a OSX. The report of overall session imports
is now red when something's been imported this session.
It also turns out that if you reload the plugin, Lightroom
doesn't completely do away with the previous instance, so it was possible to have multiple versions
of the plugin running and not even know it. It's a big hairy mess, but I think I've worked around it
in this version. The plugin also refuses to scan if it's not enabled.
I also added an option to restart the watch when Lightroom is started, so that you can have it
running all the time. Along with that is an option to throw up a splash screen during Launch if
the plugin has been set to scan at launch. You can use this
to remind yourself that the thing is running.
First public version. Pretty rough at this point. Currently, everything is
controlled from the Plugin Manager, which is probably not the best UI.
Pick your folder to watch, the frequency with which to check, then click the "watch!"
checkbox to turn it on. You can then leave the Plugin Manager
and, most likely, open the target folder in Grid Mode
(perhaps sorting to most-recent first).
Some random notes:
- The plugin infrastructure does not allow plugins to do anything with
develop or metadata presets, so the imports are plain vanilla.
- You almost certainly never want to point this at a slow disk, or if you do,
have it check very infrequently. Lightroom can seem to lock up momentarily when
attempting to access some disks.
- In the Plugin Manager, while a folder is being watched, keep an eye on the time reported
in the "Scan Status". It's okay if the first scan takes a while, but if subsequent scans take
a long time, you'll want to scale back the check frequency. How long is "a long time"
depends on your overall machine load and personal preferences.
- Conversion to DNG not yet supported; I hope to add it soon.
- A Lightroom plugin has only a limited ability to set image metadata, some of which
I've incorporated (rating, label, and title). You may want
to make use of a Smart Collection that keys off one of these. For example,
have the plugin set the title of auto-imported images to "autoloaded",
with a Smart Collection of all images with a title of "autoloaded". This way, you can
change the title to something else once you've address a particular image.
(It would make the most sense to use a special keyword for this, but Lightroom does
not allow a plugin to set image keywords.). Note, though, that a Smart Collection can
lag behind reality for a few seconds, so if you're interested in seeing the images ASAP,
you'll want to leave the target folder open in Grid Mode.
- The plugin does not yet ensure that an image file is
complete before attempting to auto-import it. This means that images that are written slowly
by less-than-smart applications may not be properly imported. (They won't be corrupted, just not
imported properly the first time.) Please let me know
if you run into problems along these lines.