Exchanging data with other applications is one of the key features for an digital asset management system like IMatch.
If you want to transfer data from IMatch to your Office application, e.g., Microsoft® Excel, you can use the Text Export Module to output the data to a file on disk. See the IMatch help on the Text Export module for detailed information.
An alternative is to use the neat Copy Data App. This App allows you to quickly copy arbitrary formatted data into the Windows clipboard and then you can insert it into your Office or other application. For this know-how article we use Microsoft Excel as the receiving application.
Open an App Panel if none is visible: View menu > Panels > App Panel or press <F9>,<1>.
What to Copy?
The Copy Data App uses a mix of free text and IMatch variables to specify which data to copy. This makes it easy to produce exactly the format you want to use in your other application. The special [tab] token can be used to insert a tabulator character (09hex) and by pressing <Enter> you start a new line.
For this example, we want to copy the fully qualified file name, the file date in DD.MM.YYYY format, the XMP headline and the XMP description. Since we want to copy into Microsoft Excel, we separate each variable with a [tab]. This ensures that Excel automatically arranges the four values into separate columns.
Copy the text from below into the Copy Data App input field if you want to try this yourself:
IMatch complements Adobe Lightroom® (Lr) with powerful and flexible cross-application digital asset management (DAM) features. This article explains how to configure IMatch and Lightroom to work optimally with each other.
When you manage files in IMatch and process these files in Adobe Lightroom, IMatch stays in control of the entire process. You can launch Lr directly from within IMatch, you can drag files from IMatch to the Lr application window to open/import them etc.
Changes made to files and metadata in Lightroom (e.g. when you edit a rating, label, title, description or keywords) are automatically recognized by IMatch and it re-imports the files to keep your IMatch database up-to-date. IMatch also records such events in the file history so you can always track back and see who changed which files.
Settings in IMatch
IMatch implements the Metadata Working Group recommendations for metadata processing. It by default embeds XMP metadata in standard formats like JPEG, TIFF, DNG, or PSD, and uses external XMP sidecar files for RAW image formats. Adobe Lightroom behaves the same, which makes metadata exchange between LR and IMatch easy and automatic. You usually don’t need to adjust any of these settings in IMatch.
Changes made to metadata in IMatch show up in Lr when you write-back the changes to the files in IMatch – which can be done on-demand or immediately. The default is to save changes to the database but to delay the update of files until you explicitly execute a write-back command. This improves overall performance considerably.
Note that you may have to explicitly reload the metadata in Lr with the Read Metadata from File command. Lr will indicate that metadata for files has changed on disk.
If you want IMatch to automatically write-back modified metadata at the earliest opportunity, enable this feature under Edit > Preferences > Background Processing. IMatch then always writes back changes to files in the background. While data is written to files, some features in IMatch may be slower than normal. You can monitor the write-back progress via the Info & Activity Panel.
Settings in Lightroom
Lightroom by default keeps modified metadata inside its catalog database. To make metadata visible for other applications (including IMatch), you have to enable the option Automatically write changes into XMP available in the LR Catalog settings or you have to manually write back files.
If this option is enabled, LR writes changes made to metadata into its catalog database and updates the XMP metadata record contained in your image files or the associated XMP sidecar file. This allows IMatch and other applications to see the updated metadata and to process it.
You can also write-back metadata for one or more files manually via the corresponding icon in the thumbnail panel.
Both IMatch and Lightroom flatten hierarchical keywords when writing metadata. In IMatch you control how this is done under Edit > Preferences > Metadata. Lightroom offers less control over this step.
When you tag a face in Lr, it includes the face region (the ‘box’ surrounding the face) and the tag into the XMP record associated with the file.
In IMatch you have several options under Edit > Preferences > Metadata 2 which allow you to control if and how IMatch imports face data from XMP. These settings control the automatic mapping of XMP face regions into IMatch Face Annotations, how IMatch imports the face tag into your hierarchical keywords and other things. Please search the IMatch help index for the word face to find detailed information.
GPS-Data and Location Info
IMatch has powerful features to work with GPS data, track logs and location data like country, city or location.
IMatch can add add GPS coordinates to files or edit existing GPS data. IMatch has built-in reverse geo-coding for GeoNames.org and Google Maps. IMatch stores GPS data as part of the GPS EXIF record embedded in your images and/or the XMP record embedded in the image or the sidecar file. This makes this data accessible to all applications which support GPS or XMP metadata.
If you prefer to add GPS coordinates to your files in Lightroom, this data will become visible and usable in IMatch automatically. The data is part of the XMP record stored in your files. No specific settings are required in IMatch.
If you crop an image, Lr usually saves a crop record with the XMP metadata. IMatch can use this data to (virtually) apply the same crop when displaying the file. Unfortunately, this cannot not always work due to limitations in XMP and Lr. Please see the IMatch help topic for Edit > Preferences > Metadata 2 in the IMatch help for details about this feature.
See Your Files in IMatch as in Lightroom
When you make changes to a RAW image in Lr, these changes are only virtual. Lightroom remembers your settings and applies these to the image via the proprietary Lightroom render engine. These changes are not visible or usable for other applications. The notable exception are RAW files in DNG format. Here Lr stores an ‘as-intended’ preview in the DNG file. IMatch and other applications can use this preview display the image identical to the Lightroom rendition.
For regular RAW formats this is impossible due to the way Lightroom and other RAW processors manage non-destructive (virtual) edits.
IMatch here offers a solution via a so-called visual proxy.
First you export a JPEG version of your images from Lightroom. This produces an image with all Lr development settings applied. Store this JPEG in the same folder as the original RAW file, or a sub-folder (some users prefer to use the name proxies for this folder).
In IMatch, you define a file relation between the RAW files and these proxy JPEG files. IMatch then knows that the RAW files are masters and the JPEG files are versions of these masters. If you enable the visual proxy attribute for this file relation, IMatch uses the JPEG image to represent the master in the File Window and other features. This means that your RAW files will look in IMatch as they look in Lightroom.
Also make JPEG files a buddy file for your RAW file format(s). This ensures that IMatch keeps master and versions together during rename, copy, move or delete operations. Very comfortable. For more information about the powerful File Relations concept in the IMatch DAM see the corresponding topic in the IMatch help system.
The Lightroom Importer App
IMatch includes a specialized app (version 2017.12.2 and later) which enables you to import selected data from your Lightroom catalog into your IMatch database. IMatch offers to run this importer after you have created your database. You can run it later at any time via the Import & Export Panel (View menu > Panels > Import & Export Panel).
‘Downloading’ Files from Cameras, Cards or Phones
IMatch has no built-in downloading feature. Use the built-in functions in Windows to download images from your camera, card or phone to your disk.
Tip: Create a Download folder on your disk and add this folder to your IMatch database. Download images always into this folder. If IMatch is running it will automatically detect the new files and include them into the database. Else IMatch picks up the new files when you start it the next time.
IMatch has a powerful feature named Renamer which allows you to rename file using a wide range of criteria, from date and time to metadata. The Renamer can move and copy files, create new folders on-the-fly and more. To use it, select the files you want to rename and press Ctrl + F2.
Use it at any time, or on the Download folder (see section above) to automatically rename and distribute new files into date-based folders.
The Renamer is fully integrated into IMatch and supports the buddy file management features of IMatch. This means that when you rename, copy or move files with the Renamer, IMatch moves, copies and renames all associated buddy files automatically. Very convenient.
Exporting Files and Batch Processing
IMatch is a DAM and no image editor or RAW processor. You can still use it to export and convert images into a wide range of formats with the built-in Batch Processor. The Batch Processor not only converts files, it also has options for text or image overlays, borders, canvas, watermarking, controlled metadata export and a more. See the IMatch help topic for the Batch Processor for more information.
Printing Contact Sheets or Photo Books
The Design & Print feature in IMatch is a very powerful tool for printing contact sheets, photo books, calendars, albums and more. It is easy to use for beginners but has highly sophisticated features for advanced users. See the IMatch help topic for the Design & Print feature for more information.
You can output the results directly to any connected printer, as individual images or in PDF or XPS formats using the built-in printer drivers in Windows.
The XMP metadata format and the rules and recommendations of the Metadata Working Group allow multiple applications to exchange metadata in a (fairly) standardized way.
Avoid changing metadata for the same files at the same time in multiple applications. XMP has no concept to handle concurrent updates to metadata and thus one application may accidentally wipe out the changes made to metadata by another applications.
When using a DAM like IMatch, most users find it easier to edit and manage metadata only in the DAM, and use the RAW processing or image editing software for their original purposes: developing and editing images.
You can also use the protection features available in IMatch under Edit > Preferences > Metadata 2 to protect XMP data changed but not yet written to be replaced by XMP data changed in other application. See the IMatch help for details.
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.
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:
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.
Convert the data-driven categories into regular categories. This ensures that IMatch 5 imports the rating and label categories automatically.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
[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 22.214.171.124 installed. You can download this version as usual via the photools.com 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The premier place for IMatch support and know-how exchange is the free photools.community. Here you can search thousands of existing topics to find information and answers.
The primary support forum for IMatch is the photools.community. 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 photools.com via Facebook, Twitter and email. Please see the Support & Contact section here on the web site for full details.