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Today we’ve introduced our new web site design and layout.
The comprehensive IMatch Help System is available online. It is constantly enhanced and updated.
You can reach it from inside IMatch by pressing the F1 key or clicking the Help button available in IMatch dialog boxes.
This is context-sensitive, IMatch opens the best matching topic from the Help System for the current situation.
You can bookmark the Help System entry page or create a couple of bookmarks in your web browser for topics you want to access quickly.
If English is not your native language, your web browser can automatically translate the content of the Help System into your language. See the documentation of your browser for more information.
The built-in printing or Print to PDF function in your browser allows you to download or print selected pages for quick reference.
The Did you Know? app included with IMatch contains a large number of helpful topics, highlighting certain features or options.
The app to be used while you work with IMatch, reminding you of rarely used features or giving you tips for how to work more efficiently.
You can open it from the Help menu or from the App Manager.
New topics are added frequently, often based on questions asked in the IMatch user community.
IMatch 2020 and IMatch Anywhere™ 2019.11.2 and later include advanced AI-based technology.
To support this, our products require that the processors in your computer support a technology called AVX (Advanced Vector Instructions). This technology is standard in virtually all processors manufactured since 2011. Only very low-end computers or special computers like stick PC’s, Set-top boxes and similar may use processors without this required feature. You cannot run our software on these computers. It will just crash.
Note: For IMatch Anywhere we will provide special versions of our products for a limited time as a courtesy. See the customer portal for more information.
You can test your computer with this free utility to see if the processor supports AVX.
Please download the latest version of the photools.com System Information Utility.
The downloaded file is named
ptc-sysinfo.zip and you must extract its contents before you can run it.
Right-click on the file in Windows Explorer and choose Extract from the context menu. This gives you a file named
ptc-sysinfo.exe in the same folder.
Hold down the Shift key and right-click on
ptc-sysinfo.exe. From the menu, choose the Copy as path command. This copies the fully-qualified file name of the file into the Windows clipboard.
From the Windows START menu, open a command prompt window. Press Windows Key + S and search for
cmd. Then select the Command Prompt App from the result list.
Right-click into the window that now opens. This pastes the name of the
ptc-sysinfo.exe application into the console window. Press Enter on your keyboard.
The important information is the support for AVX, which is required to run IMatch 2020.
AVX is a technology that has been introduced in 2011 for both Intel and AMD processors. See this Wikipedia Article for more information.
If your computer has a processor produced before 2011 or it uses one of the rare processors without AVX, you cannot run IMatch 2020 or IMatch Anywhere 1019.11.2 or later on that computer.
An often overlooked but useful feature in the File Window is to open the selected files in a new result window.
This feature allows you to work on a subset of the images in the current scope, which may provide a better overview in some situations.
Or you use the File Window Search Bar or the Filter Panel to find files in the current scope. Then select these files and open them in a result window, for further searching or filtering. This creates an easy drill-down workflow.
To open all selected files in a new result window, press Ctrl + G , R
IMatch apps are designed to be responsive and adapt to the current screen resolution. But sometimes this may not be enough, for example, when you want to use very small App Panels to maximize the screen estate available for other panels or the file window. Or when you use IMatch on a small tablet or notebook while on-location.
Under Edit > Preferences > Application: User Interface you can control the global scale for information rendered in App Panels. You can reduce or increase the scale in 16 steps between -8 (smaller) and +8 (larger).
Using the Apply button allows you to see the change in all open App Panels immediately. The App Panel on the left uses a scale factor of 0 (default). As you can see, the buttons in the panel need to wrap because the panel width is too small to display them in one row. By reducing the scale factor to -3, the data and control elements fit neatly in the available panel.
The global scaling for App Panels enables you to size the contents precisely to your requirements and liking.
See also the related article Configuring IMatch for High-DPI Screens and Easier Reading.
Services like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and others make it very easy to backup files into the cloud. This is often used as a second or third tier backup strategy. In addition to local backups of all your important files for easy and quick recovery.
This know-how article explains how your can integrate cloud storage with IMatch.
All of the above cloud providers allow you to use a mode where you keep a local copy of all the files managed in the cloud. This makes these files accessible for all applications on your computer — without any special software and also very fast. If you change a file in one of the cloud backed folders, it is automatically synchronized with the cloud storage. If you change files on another computer which is synchronized with your cloud, the changed files are automatically downloaded to all your other computers.
This is exactly the way to do it when you want to manage your files in IMatch and use the cloud to store your files.
You just include the folders in the local copy of your cloud storage (e.g., the Photos sub-folder in the Dropbox folder) in your IMatch database.
This way you can manage the files in IMatch, search, view, edit metadata etc.
Whenever you change a file in IMatch, the file is synchronized back into the cloud automatically. And when you change files on other systems and the cloud synchronizes your local copy with the cloud afterwards, IMatch detects the new and updated files and updates the database.
This gives you the best of both worlds. IMatch and integrated cloud storage.
As a backup, great. Just copy your IMatch database(s) into your cloud folders at regular intervals or let Windows do it with a scheduled task. Keeping a live database in cloud storage, however, can be problematic and sometimes even dangerous.
When IMatch has a database open, it creates temporary files, lock files and short-lived transaction journal files. These files come and go as needed by the database system. They enable IMatch to cleanly undo failed database operations, to recover from catastrophic events like power failures and to handle multi-user scenarios. And of course IMatch updates database file several times per second.
When IMatch closes a database, all temporary files are removed and only the .imd* database file remains. The database is then in a clean state and ready for backup.
But when you keep your ‘working’ IMatch databases in the local Dropbox folder, this is what happens:
Dropbox recognizes that the database file has changed and that temporary files have been added, updated or removed. It then starts to synchronize these files into the cloud. While Dropbox is doing this, IMatch continues to update the database, creating and removing temporary files. Whatever ends up in the cloud is most likely outdated and inconsistent. Nothing you can rely on as a backup.
And there might be a performance penalty, too. If Dropbox is locking files while it processes them, IMatch may be slowed down or even run into timeouts.
For these reasons, it is not recommended to keep ‘live’ IMatch databases in Dropbox. You can copy a closed database into a Dropbox folder for backup purposes. But not while IMatch (or IMatch WebServices™) have the database open.
I used Dropbox as an example here, but the same behavior can also be found with Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive.
Find other interesting articles in the DAM Knowledge Base.
After installing IMatch Anywhere on a computer you have to activate the included Client Access License (CAL) once. After the CAL has been activated, IMatch WebServices are ready to use. CAL licenses are linked to a specific computer. After activating the CAL you cannot activate it on another computer for at least 90 days.
Unless a CAL is activated, the IMatch WebService Controller application displays a warning message (in red) and the service cannot be started:
To activate your CAL you use the built-in License Manager in the Controller application.
Click on the Configure button to open the configuration dialog, and there click on the License Manager button:
This is the default activation mode. It requires an Internet connection.
1. Enter the email address used for your purchase and the license key you have received from our distributor share-it on behalf of your purchase. You’ll find both in the email sent to you by our distributor share-it after processing your order.
2. Click on the Activate button to activate the CAL for this computer.
3. After a few seconds, the controller application completes the activation process:
Your CAL has been activated and you can now use IMatch WebServices on this computer.
Close the License Manager dialog and also the Configuration dialog. You can now start IMatch WebServices by clicking the Start button. The maximum number of concurrent users included in the activated CAL license is displayed in the dialog. Each CAL allows for one concurrent user.
If the computer on which you want to activate the CAL has no Internet connection, you can activate the CAL manually on another computer or from your smart phone.
To do this, switch the License Manager to Manual License Activation and follow the instructions.
1. Log into the customer portal at https://www.photools.com/customer. You can now see your CAL license in the My Downloads section.
2. Copy the machine key from the License Manager dialog into the input field on the web site.
3. Click on the Activate and Download CAL button.
4. Copy the resulting CAL key back into the License Manager dialog and click on the Save CAL button.
This completes the manual license activation. IMatch WebServices is now ready to accept connections from your users.
The IMatch Thesaurus is a very powerful tool for creating and managing controlled vocabularies – not only for keywords!
A controlled vocabulary (Wikipedia) is basically a list of hierarchical keywords and synonyms. Instead of manually entering keywords, you pick them from the thesaurus. This not only makes keywording (tagging) files much quicker, it also improves the quality and consistency.
IMatch can fill the thesaurus from keywords already used in your files (see the IMatch help for details) and it can import thesaurus data in a variety of formats.
In this knowledge-base article I want to show you how you can easily import keyword lists in the popular Adobe Lightroom® text format.
To import a keyword text file designed for Lightroom, open the Thesaurus Manager in IMatch (toolbar button in either the Metadata or Keyword Panel). Click on the Import & Export toolbar button and select the Text format in the format selector box at the bottom.
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Now select the Lightroom keyword file you want to import and click on Open.
The IMatch thesaurus automatically detects groups and synonyms contained in the file and converts them to the corresponding IMatch Thesaurus objects. See the IMatch help system for more information about keyword groups and synonyms and how to use them in IMatch.
After a short while the Thesaurus Manager shows the results of the import. You can now review and edit the imported keywords as needed. Click OK to save the thesaurus to the database.
IMatch includes a default thesaurus with a set of universal hierarchical keywords. This thesaurus is automatically imported into new databases. If you have used IMatch 3 in the past, this keyword list was available as the Universal Catalog category set in that version.
If you already have created your database and you want to import the universal thesaurus, you can do this via the Import command in the Thesaurus Manager. The default thesaurus is named
system-en.imths and contained in the
C:\Program Data\photools.com\IMatch6\Presets folder.
In addition to creating your very own controlled vocabulary from scratch, you can start out by using one of the many free Lightroom keyword lists available on the web. Some examples:
Each of these lists has several thousand hierarchical keywords and should get you started just nicely. You can edit the keywords after importing them into IMatch to match your personal requirements and keywording habits. Maybe you export your modified thesaurus later to share it with others.
A very good resource for both information about controlled vocabularies and high-quality commercial controlled vocabularies for many applications is the Controlled Vocabulary web site.
There are many other lists out there as well. A good overview of commercial (paid) and free lists can be found here:
Find other interesting articles in the DAM Knowledge Base.
Using smart file names can be a key for successful digital asset management. Some users prefer to include dates in file names. Other users include project codes or use a globally unique file naming schema. Whatever naming schema you decide to use, IMatch has tools to make the job easier.
IMatch includes a powerful tool named Renamer. With it you cannot only rename files in smart ways, but also copy and move files, add folders on-the-fly, create automatic backups, and more…
Cameras often use file names like _DSC12345.jpg, which are not really informative or useful. You cannot tell anything about the contents of the file by just looking at the file name. And, if you use more than one camera, you may even end up with duplicate file names. And that’s never a good idea.
Although the physical file name is not that important anymore when you use a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system like IMatch. But it’s always better to be able to work with your files properly outside of your DAM, e.g. when you upload files to your web site or send them out to clients or a printing service.
The IMatch Renamer tool enables you to create consistent and descriptive file names – automatically, when new files are indexed by your database, or later at any time. Whether you use simple numerical file names or you include additional information like date and time, a project code or even metadata like title or job id is up to you.
|_DSC12345.ext||This is the file name format used by most digital cameras today. Each image file gets a sequential number and the prefix DSC (Digital Still Camera). A leading underscore is added if the file is in the Adobe RGB color space.|
|2015-08-01_12345.ext||This file name consists of the year-month-day the image was taken, plus a sequential number. This format is pretty common because the file names are not only descriptive but also ensure that the images are sorted by date in software like Windows Explorer.|
|A file naming schema which uses a project code (P8781) and then a 5-digit sequential number which identifies each file in that project. The second variant also includes the date and time.
The Renamer has a special project code feature which prompts you to input a project code automatically.
|A file name which consists of a date stamp, the country and city name where the image was taken and a sequential number. File names like this are great when you travel a lot.
The Renamer can construct such file names from the location metadata in the image automatically.
|A file name how it is often used for files created in research projects. Each file name contains important information about the object(s) shown in the image.
The Renamer can construct such file names automatically by accessing both metadata stored in a file and global variables, e.g., the project name or the location and lab data.
Your naming convention make be based on one of these examples, or you create your own unique way of naming files. The Renamer in IMatch is flexible enough to handle (almost) everything you can come up with.
To rename files, select them in a File Window and then bring up the Renamer by pressing <Ctrl>+<F2>. The Renamer has a comfortable user interface which allows you to produce file names by adding one or more steps. There are steps to:
[list_font icon=”check-square-o” list_item_1=”add date and time in various formats” list_item_2=”add plain text and IMatch variables” list_item_3=”converting the case of file names” list_item_4=”including selected parts of the original file name” list_item_5=”replacing or delete text” list_item_6=”removing (leading/trailing) digits” list_item_7=”adding unique or sequential numbers” list_item_8=”copying and moving files” list_item_9=”creating folders on-the-fly, even with names based on variables” list_item_10=”prompting the user to enter a project code when he renames files” list_item_11=”…”]
While you add or change steps, the embedded preview allows you to see the resulting file names. No changes are made to the file system, the Renamer merely simulates the rename operation. It also checks for and indicates duplicate file names you may produce with your steps.
In the screen shot above we create file names in the format: YYYY-MM-DD-nnnnn.ext format. At the bottom of the dialog box you see the source file name and destination file name. If you rename more then one file, you can click on the Preview… button to see the resulting file names for all files.
To create the more complex YYYYMMDD-Country Code-City Name-sequence number format explained in the table above, we just need a few more steps:
The first step adds the date in the YYYYMMDD format. Then we add a – and the ISO country code. We follow up with another – and then the name of the city. The country code and city name are retrieved directly from the XMP metadata of the file by using the corresponding IMatch variables. The final two steps add yet another – and a 5-digit sequence number. For the sample image used for this demo, the resulting file name is: 20140321-USA-New York-28190.jpg.
See the Renamer topic in the IMatch help system for numerous additional examples and tips & tricks.
Most of the RAW processing software in use today (and also image editing software, audio and video processing tools) produce sidecar or ‘buddy’ files for each file you process. A typical example are XMP files which contain the XMP metadata for your RAW fies. If you have a _DSC12345.RAW file, the XMP file will be named _DSC12345.XMP.
RAW processors or image editing software also create a variety of other files with settings, configuration data or history info for each image you process in these applications. Sometimes these files are in the same folder as the image, sometimes in sub-folders.
When you rename an image file, it is important to rename the sidecar and buddy files as well. Otherwise you may break the ‘link’ between the image file and the sidecar files which can have dire consequences.
The Renamer cooperates with IMatch’s unique file relations concept and thus ‘knows’ about buddy and sidecar files – even if these are not indexed by your IMatch database. The Renamer automatically ensures that buddy and sidecar files are renamed together with the image file.
The Renamer tool in IMatch enables you to create descriptive and consistent file names. It offers easy features to include date and time, arbitrary metadata, text and automatic numeric sequences in file names. By using the embedded preview you can test your rename results without making changes to the file system. The Renamer also cooperates with the unique file relations feature in IMatch to automatically rename buddy and sidecar files when the corresponding image is renamed.