How to Rename Your Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Catalog

February 15, 2011 | | Comments 30

Author’s Note: You will find a more recent, and more detailed, version of this article within our extended Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Catalog Creation and Image Storage Fundamentals tutorial. I strongly suggest that you follow the link and read the new and improved post instead!

Renaming an Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Catalog ScreenshotMany Adobe Photoshop Lightroom beginners make learning this software more difficult by creating multiple Lightroom catalogs. Multiple catalogs might help some advanced users but for most novice users, this feature only creates needless confusion. This problem is compounded when the Lightroom catalogs are given vague names. Using a descriptive catalog name makes it easier to distinguish your Lightroom catalog from the factory default.

One solution to this problem is to change the name of your Adobe Photoshop Lightroom catalog to something distinct and different from the factory default setting. Changing the catalog’s name to something more personal often helps the students in my workshops, and the renaming process is also a common question on our blog. By default, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom catalogs are always named Lightroom 3 Catalog.lrcat. I changed my catalog’s name to Dave’s Lightroom Catalog.lrcat instead. My catalog’s distinct name makes it easy for me to check that I am working in the right catalog just by glancing up at the top of my screen.

Renaming your Adobe Photoshop Lightroom catalog is easy if you know which files need to be renamed, and where they live inside of your computer. This short video tutorial demonstrates the entire process. The whole procedure will take you less than five minutes!

Here’s a rough step-by-step guide to the catalog renaming process for those who would rather read a list of steps then watch a video.

To rename an Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Catalog.

1. Launch Lightroom and open your Lightroom Catalog.
2. Go Lightroom > Catalog Settings > General (Mac) or Edit > Catalog Settings > General (Pc.)
3. Press the Show Button. This will open an operating system window.
4. Leave the operating system window open but click back into the Lightroom application.
5. Quit or Exit out of Lightroom.
6. Inside the operating system window find your Lightroom 3 Catalog.lrcat file.
3. Change this file’s name but be sure to keep its extension. (The “.lrcat” part of the file name is essential.)
4. Change the name of the Previews.lrdata package (Mac) or Previews.lrcat folder (Pc) so that it is now an exact match of your catalog’s new name. Be sure to keep the word “Previews” at the end of this file’s name and to preserve its .lrdata extension.
5. Double click on your .lrcat file to relaunch your catalog.

This is one of the series of tutorials that we have created to fight the “which catalog am I in now??” confusion. For more help on this topic please also watch our tutorials on catalog creation, and on Lightroom’s preference menus.


Filed Under: (02) Lightroom SetupAdobe Photoshop Lightroom Tutorials


About the Author: David Marx is a digital photography instructor whose engaging teaching style inspires photographers of all skill levels. David is an Adobe Certified Lightroom Expert. To learn more about David's Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software training seminars and digital photography field workshops please visit or follow David Marx on Google+.