Migrating XMP Rating and Label from IMatch 3 to IMatch 5 without processing pending updates…

In order to import XMP metadata into your IMatch 5 database, the XMP data has to exist in the image file or a corresponding sidecar file. IMatch 5 cannot import XMP metadata directly from the IMatch 3 database for technical reasons.

If you have never written back XMP metadata to your image files in IMatch 3, you may be faced with tens of thousands of files which have no up-to-date XMP metadata. Updating the XMP in all these files can take a very long time.

Note: This only affects XMP metadata. When you have updated classic IPTC or EXIF data in IMatch 3, this data has been written to the image file immediately and is thus always up-to-date.

The Trick

If the only XMP data you have used/updated in IMatch 3 are ratings and labels, you can use a trick to avoid having to write XMP data to all your files before importing them into IMatch 5.

You perform the trick before you migrate your existing IMatch 3 database into IMatch 5 with the Database Converter. The trick consists of three easy steps:

  1. Create a data-driven category for Rating and Label in.
    This step creates one category for each rating and label you have used and assigns the corresponding files to that category.
  2. Convert the data-driven categories into regular categories.
    This ensures that IMatch 5 imports the rating and label categories automatically.
  3. In IMatch 5, assign ratings and labels using these categories.

1. Create Data-driven Categories

Switch to the Category View in IMatch 3.
Select the @All category and press <Ins> to create a new child category. Name it Rating. Repeat these steps and create a category named Label:

Rating and Label Categories

Right-click on Label and choose Properties. In the Properties dialog box, enable the Auto-group images based on… option and either select the XMP field

from the drop-down list or use copy/paste to transfer the name from above:

Data-driven properties

Click OK to close the dialog box and answer Yes when asked whether you want to create the category. After a short time, IMatch has finished creating the data-driven category Label:

Label Category

For each label used in your database, IMatch has created one child category under Label. Each child category contains all files with that label.

Repeat these steps for the Rating category: Select the Rating category, right-click and choose Properties. In the dialog, enable the option to Auto-group images based on… and select the following XMP field from the drop-down list:

or copy it from above. Press OK to close the dialog and then answer the prompt with Yes. IMatch creates child categories for each rating used in your database and assigns all files with that rating:

Rating Category

2. Convert the Data-driven Categories Into Regular Categories

Select the @All category and press <Ins> to create a new category. Name it Rating and Label.

Select the Rating category created above. Left-click and drag it to the Rating and Label category. Release the mouse button. In the dialog, set the options as follows:

Category Options

Click OK. IMatch now creates a copy of the entire Rating category (with child categories) under the Rating and Label category. The copy is a normal category, not a data-driven category – and this is exactly what we want.

Repeat these steps for the data-driven Label category. The end result will look similar to this:

The final rating and label category

3. Migrate Your Database

Close IMatch 3 and run the IMatch 5 Database Converter to convert your database. Follow the instructions in the Database Converter help for a quick and smooth transfer.

IMatch 5 automatically imports the Rating and Label category you have created. This transfers the information which files should have which rating and label from IMatch 3 to IMatch 5. And that’s the trick.

4. (Re-)Assign Ratings and Labels

Open your new database in IMatch 5. Switch to the Category View to see all categories imported from your IMatch 3 database. The Rating and Label category will be there:

Categories in IMatch 5

Now start assigning ratings and labels:

Note: For the following steps, you should disable background write-back under Edit > Preferences > Background Processing if you have it enabled. This way IMatch only updates the database but does not automatically write-back data to the files on disk. This improves the performance during the following procedure.


Select the Green category under Rating and Label > Label. This shows you all files which had a Green label assigned in IMatch 3 in the File Window.

Select all files in the File Window with <Ctrl>+<A>. Right-click to open the context menu and choose Green to assign all files a Green XMP label:

Assigning a Green Label

IMatch writes the Green label into the XMP record of each file and marks the files as pending because the metadata was changed. Repeat these steps for each Label and Rating category under Rating and Label. Then delete the Rating and Label category, it is no longer needed.

This trick takes quite a lot of text to explain, but in fact takes only a few minutes to execute. Much faster than writing back XMP data to thousands or even tens of thousands of files just to get the rating and label information imported into IMatch 5.

Migrating XMP Rating and Label from IMatch 3 to IMatch 5 without processing pending updates… Read More »

Using Large Icons for Toolbars in IMatch


If you work with a very large or high-resolution monitor, the size of the standard toolbar buttons may be too small for comfort. You can change the size in two steps to up to 32×32 pixels.

Open Edit > Preferences > Application: User Interface. There, change the toolbar size to your liking.

Application Settings

IMatch will restart to apply the new settings. If you use the largest setting, the toolbar buttons will be suitable even for very high-DPI screens. Here, for example, the toolbar in the Category Panel.

Big toolbar buttons

Other Settings

You can also control the font sizes used for the Metadata Panel, the Keyword Panel and the Attributes Panel individually. These are the panels where most of the text editing takes place, and using larger fonts causes less strain to the eye.

The rest of IMatch automatically adapts to the standard font sizes configured for Windows, e.g. for menus, tree controls, list boxes and other controls. If you switch to using larger fonts for Windows, IMatch adapts automatically.

Using Large Icons for Toolbars in IMatch Read More » - Software for Digital Asset Management, photo cataloging and image management.

Upgrading from IMatch 3 to IMatch 5

[notification type=”error”] This is archived information. No support is available anymore for IMatch 3. [/notification]

This article explains how to upgrade to the current version of IMatch from IMatch 3.5 or 3.6.
Upgrading from legacy versions of IMatch (IMatch 3.4 and older) is not supported. These versions are almost 10 years out of date.

1. Buy IMatch

Go to the shop page and follow the instructions given there. The purchase process is quick and safe. Our distributor myCommerce sends you an email with your license code immediately after your purchase has completed.

2. Install IMatch

Log into the customer portal using your email and license key and download the current version of IMatch. After the download has completed, double-click the installer executable to install IMatch on your computer. Follow the instructions given on screen for a clean install. See also the installation instructions page for more information.

If you want to install IMatch on the same computer as IMatch 3, make sure that you have IMatch installed. You can download this version as usual via the customerWeb site.

3. First Steps

The IMatch Learning Center has free video tutorials for IMatch. The videos cover topics like installation, creating your first database and all major IMatch features.

The Quick Start Guide contains handy cheat sheets for all frequently used IMatch commands. You can open this PDF from the Help menu in IMatch.

The IMatch 5 Quick Start Guide
The IMatch Quick Start Guide contains useful information for first-time users. It also contains handy cheat sheets with all frequently used commands and their associated keyboard shortcuts.

Open the IMatch help system from the Help menu in IMatch or by pressing the <F1> key. The First Steps topic explains the general principles of IMatch and contains pointers to other topics helpful for first-time users. The special For IMatch 3 Users help topic covers the major differences between IMatch 3 and the current version of IMatch.

The IMatch 5 Help System
The extensive and complete Match 5 help system explains all IMatch functions and features.

The Visual Index in the help system shows all major IMatch features and contains links to the associated help topics. Great to see what’s included!

4. Convert Your Database

In2014 we introduced an improved database format for IMatch. To use your existing IMatch 3.x database with current versions of IMatch you have to convert it into the new database format. The 32-bit version of IMatch includes a Database Converter tool which performs this automatically. Note: No conversion is required for IMatch 5 databases.

[notification type=”warning”] The IMatch 3 database converter is only included in the 32-bit version of IMatch. Install the 32-bit version if you need to use the database converter. You can later replace it with the 64-bit version. Just download and install the 64-bit edition, it automatically replaces the 32-bit version. [/notification]

You can run this converter from the Database menu in IMatch, or via the IMatch program group in the Windows START menu. Click on the help button or press <F1> while in the Converter dialog to display step-by-step instructions.

4.1 Manual Category Transfer

Since IMatch 3 is now (2017) very old, the database converter is no longer actively maintained.

Some users have reported that the database converter fails to convert category assignments. The new IMatch database contains all categories, but they are empty. If you are affected by this, you can work around this problem by manually exporting and importing your categories. This is quick and easy.

  1. In IMatch 3, use the Database menu > Import & Export > Export Category Schema command.
    Make sure you enable the ‘with file links’ format in the export dialog. This exports the category schema and the file assignments.
    The result of this process is a file on your hard disk.
  2. In the current version of IMatch, open the Import & Export panel via View menu > Panels > Import & Export.
    Click on the Run button for the Category Import module. Select the file you have created in Step 1.
    This imports both the categories and re-assigns the files.


5. Help and Support

Give yourself a few days to become acquainted with IMatch. You will notice many similarities between IMatch 3 and the current IMatch version, but there are also many new features you might want to learn about and try out for yourself.

Start by creating a small test database and add copies of some of your files to it. This way you can try out everything without risking any important data. Read the introductory help topics in the IMatch help for guidance.

Visit the photools.communityThe premier place for IMatch support and know-how exchange is the free Here you can search thousands of existing topics to find information and answers.

For other support options, see the Support & Contact section here on the web site.

Upgrading from IMatch 3 to IMatch 5 Read More »

How do I get support and help for IMatch?

The primary support forum for IMatch is the In this community thousands of IMatch users from over 60 countries discuss all IMatch 5 and DAM related topics. If you cannot find an answer using the search function, post a question. Usually you’ll get a qualified response within a couple of hours.

You can also reach via Facebook, Twitter and email. Please see the Support & Contact section here on the web site for full details.

The IMatch FAQ

The IMatch FAQ, Workflow and Tutorials section in the holds many articles and know-how topics.

The IMatch Know-how Archive

Detailed articles about various aspects of image management and processing with IMatch can be found in the IMatch know-how archive.

How do I get support and help for IMatch? Read More » Logo

WIC Support and Codec Availability

What is IMatch?

IMatch is one of the leading Digital Asset Management Systems (DAM) for Windows.
Manage, catalog and organize all your RAW files, digital images, videos, audio recordings, PDF and Office documents etc. in one software.
See what IMatch can do for you.

What is WIC?

IMatch supports the Windows Imaging Component (WIC) framework supported in Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 and later versions of Windows.

Windows WIC enables applications like IMatch to work with image formats (including RAW files) via so-called codecs provided by camera vendors, Microsoft or 3rd parties. Without the need to know the internal details of a file format, IMatch can handle the files as long as a working codec is installed.

Please ensure that you have always installed the latest RAW codec (WIC codec) available from your camera vendor’s web site (if your camera vendor supplies WIC codecs for your cameras). This ensures that IMatch can read and reproduce the images with the best possible quality. Camera vendors make changes to their RAW files almost with every camera model. If you work with scanners, microscopes and similar, your hardware vendor most likely also supplies a codec if the scanner emits a proprietary file format.

Note: Do not install multiple codecs from different vendors for the same RAW format. Experience tells that this may lead to more or less subtle problems when processing RAW files.

Windows Built-in WIC Codecs

Current Windows versions include a set of WIC codecs which support a wide range of common RAW formats. Note that not all camera format variants are supported, though.
Over the years, camera vendors introduced dozens of incompatible format variants which all use the same file extension. This complicates the process of providing a WIC codec for all camera models. Contact your camera vendor for assistance if you need more information.

HEIC/HEIF Support on Windows 10 and Windows 11

HEIC is a modern still image / video format mostly used on the Mac platform. In order to process HEIC files in IMatch you need to install a WIC codec. The standard WIC codecs included in Windows 10 don’t support HEIC/HEIF by default.

Microsoft provides a free WIC codec for Windows which adds support for HEIC to the operating system. To find this WIC codec, search for HEIF Image Extensions on the Microsoft web site or use your favorite search engine. Make sure you install the original codec created by Microsoft.

WIC Codec Download Sites

Note: Windows 11 includes a set of WIC codecs which support a wide variety of RAW formats. If your RAW format is not yet supported, contact your camera vendor and Microsoft for support.

Sadly, as far as we can determine, the only camera vendor who cares enough about their customers to provide an optimized WIC codec is Nikon.

See also this Wikipedia article for more information about WIC and the Microsoft  Windows Imaging Component Overview. RAW Processing and LibRAW Support

If no WIC codec is available for one or more RAW variants you use, IMatch uses its built-in RAW processing pipeline based on LibRaw to create thumbnails and cache images.  LibRaw is an awesome OpenSource project which is actively maintained and supports hundreds of RAW format variants.

You can also switch to IMatch’s internal RAW processing when the default Windows WIC codec does not support the RAW variant your camera produces or if you experience problems like wrong orientation or similar.

They also offer an excellent and affordable software called FastRawViewer for viewing Raw files on the Mac and Windows.

WIC Support and Codec Availability Read More » Logo

IMatch and NAS Systems (Network-Attached Storage)

What’s a NAS?

A NAS unit is a computer connected to your network that only provides file-based data storage services to other computers on the network. There are cheap NAS systems and quite expensive ones. They differ in reliability and performance.

Can I keep my IMatch database and image files on the NAS?

Yes. IMatch can work with databases and images stored on NAS systems in your network. No problem with that. The database and images can be shared (if multiple users work with IMatch, every user needs an IMatch license of course).

Use UNC Shares

You can either use a drive mapping or (better) UNC paths like (\\server\share\folder) to address the files on your NAS system from within your IMatch database. UNC paths have the advantage to be unique within your network and accessible from all computers in your network without the need to create a drive mapping first.


The performance of such a configuration depends on your network speed and the performance of the NAS system. Usually the database performance suffers when the database file is stored on a NAS.

What you have to keep in mind is that most (cheap) NAS systems are designed for streaming usage. This means they are intended to keep your backups, and to deliver video, image and audio data. And they usually do a great job with this.

Keeping your images on the NAS box is usually no problem and performance will be OK or even excellent.

But the IMatch database file is a different matter. When you work with IMatch, IMatch reads and writes very often from and to the database file. These are usually small changes of a few bytes to a few kilobytes. And, especially for cheaper NAS systems, this creates a worst-case scenario. Many small read/write operations over the network are bad for the performance and thus the overall IMatch performance will suffer. Even a moderately fast built-in hard disk is 10 times faster than NAS storage.

How to Test

If you experience performance problems with IMatch in a NAS environment, just copy your database from the NAS system to your local hard disk. Then open the database from there via the Database menu > Open command in IMatch. If your NAS is the performance bottleneck you will notice a much snappier response time and overall better speed with the local hard disk.

Then its up to you if you want to work with the local database or prefer to NAS-based database with slower performance.

Worst Worst-case Scenario

The worst worst-case scenario is keeping the IMatch  database on a NAS which is only connected by wireless (WLAN) to your computer. The latency of such connections may be OK for image storage, but not for your database.


I often get reports from users about sluggish performance in NAS environments. Especially when you don’t want to spend the money to buy a real high-performance NAS system with multiple processors and fast disks and controllers. The price for these high-end systems is often three or more times as high as the price tag for entry-level or ‘Home-use’ NAS systems.

If this is the case, it is usually better to keep the files you manage in IMatch on the NAS but the IMatch database on your local hard disk or, even better, a SSD. If you don’t have a SSD, using an high-speed USB 3.0 stick to store the database stick can be a real speed booster.

IMatch and NAS Systems (Network-Attached Storage) Read More »