Relocating Catalog Images in Capture One Pro 7

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Learn the difference between managed and referenced images, and master the catalog function in Capture One to its fullest potential to get a workflow that matches your needs, whether you’re at the desk or on the go.

The Capture One 7 Catalog database keeps track of where images are located, as well as maintaining adjustments, metadata and other elements. When managing images in a Catalog you can decide to store the files directly inside of a Capture One 7 Catalog or in a separate directory. In this tutorial we will refer to images inside the Catalog as ‘managed’ images and those in a separate directory as ‘referenced’ images.

Why relocating is useful

Within Capture One 7 Catalogs, you have the ability to change how managed or referenced images are handled in the Catalog. This can be useful, if your workflow requires mobility and you need to move some of your images from an external volume to a Catalog that is kept locally on your Laptop. Relocating files in this manner gives you full access to the RAW data while you are on the road. Features like processing, zooming or lens corrections will then be available that would otherwise be unavailable in offline mode.

Offline mode

When importing images to a Catalog, a preview is made and stored in the Catalog. This preview is used for displaying the image on your monitor. Capture One 7 previews are ‘smart’ previews, which means should a drive containing the RAWS be disconnected, you can still make most adjustments. However things like processing and zooming requires the RAW data to be available to the software.

How to relocate your Catalog images

On the Mac platform the Capture One 7 Catalog is one single file.


On the Windows platform the Catalog database and other necessary folders are stored within one folder.

2013-06-06_14-44-21If you want to change image locations from a managed workflow to a referenced workflow, it is critical that this is done within the Capture One Folders Tool. This ensures that the Capture One 7 Catalog remains up to date.  However, if you accidentally fail to do this, links to images can be re-established within the Capture One 7 “Locate” option.

Changing Images from Managed to Referenced

Referenced files are shown in the Folders Tool (by default in the Library tool tab) in their current location.


If you can’t see the complete folder tree as shown above, right-click anywhere in the Folders Tool and choose ‘Show Folders Hierarchy’.

To move an image within the Catalog itself (managed) from an external location (referenced), simply select the images you wish to move and then drag and drop them onto the Catalog icon (also in the Folders Tool).

2013-06-06_15-11-13The image will be physically moved inside the Catalog from the external location.

The image is moved and not copied in order to prevent duplications of RAW files with two different sets of adjustments.

Changing Images from Referenced to Managed

If you want to move an image located within the Catalog to an external drive, this can be achieved by doing a simple reversal of the operation described above, i.e. just drag and drop the image from within the Catalog to the desired external location.

Re-establishing Broken Links

Links to the location of your images or folders in Capture One 7 have the potential to become “lost” should changes be made outside of Capture One. If you have made changes to the folder structure or location of images in the Mac Finder or Windows Explorer you will have to re-establish a link within Capture One 7. As mentioned above, it is always best practice to make changes within Capture One 7, so the catalog database is updated accordingly.

However, should a link be broken it is possible to correct the change so that images are accurately located in the Catalog.


The folder in the image above shows the “image count” value and an exclamation mark to notify you of the missing connection.

How to repair broken links for moved folders

Select the folder that has lost its link to the Catalog.  Choose ‘Show Info’ from the Library Tool’s drop down menu.


The following dialog box will display at the bottom of the Library Tool. In the example below, I have moved the folder named ‘Food’ to a different location in the Mac Finder, therefore the ‘Where’ field text is in red to indicate the folder cannot be found at the previously specified path. A locate button is present to point Capture One 7 to the new location.


Click the ‘Locate’ button and browse to the correct, new location for the missing folder. Once located, click “Open” in the browser window to re-establish a link in Capture One.  The Catalog will be updated accordingly and the folder will now appear in the correct location of the Folders tool.

How to repair broken links for individual images

A similar process can be done for individual images that may have been moved outside of Capture One from one folder to another. The image will show as ‘Offline’ with a question mark displayed in the Viewer and Browser.


Right-click on the image in the Browser and choose the ‘Locate…’ option.


A Finder window will appear. Browse to the correct location of the image and click “Open” in the browser window to re-establish a link in Capture One. The Capture One 7 Catalog will be updated accordingly.

All the best,


David Grover

David Grover

David Grover is part of the Capture One marketing team based at our head office. He runs our weekly webinar series on Capture One 8 and produces the video tutorials on Capture One too.

27 thoughts on “Relocating Catalog Images in Capture One Pro 7

  1. John Burwell

    Good morning professor,

    I found this description and am having trouble achieving this action.

    “Compare Images While Shooting
    Combine tethered shooting (or shooting using a Hot folder) with the Compare Item feature in Capture One to view two or more images at the same time for a side-by-side comparison.

    You can set it up to have a favorite image (i.e. The Compare Item) on one side and incoming captures on the other to enable easy comparisons to be made between a selected shot and your latest capture.”

    How do I accomplish the action described in the paragraph directly above? I cannot find a method outlined step by step. I tried using variants but new captures do not appear in the big window, only as thumbnails.
    Thanks in advance for your help.

    John Burwell

    1. David Grover Post author

      Hi John,

      The terminology you are referring to is a ‘Compare Variant’.

      When any image is set to the Compare variant it will be locked into the viewer window and surrounded by an orange border with a push pin icon in the top right hand corner.

      So for example, if you are shooting tethered the Compare variant will stay on screen as new images come in.

      The fastest way to set an image as the compare variant is to select it and simply hit the Enter key. To deselect, use Cmd=Enter. Or right click on any image and you will find the options in the sub menu too.

      Hope that helps, John!


  2. Carl

    Hi David,

    Moving forward I will try to not let this happen but, unfortunately I imported several events into one desktop folder. Than created 4 albums, and imported thousands of images into their designated album. I than split the desktop folder into for renamed folders for each event and relocated these new folders with my original imagery.

    How can I relink my original images withing the newly divided and moved folders, without locating them one at a time. In Lightroom there is an option that tells you the program has found other missing items in the same location. Please advise…

    Thank You!


    1. David Grover Post author

      Hi Carl,

      I can’t quite visualise what you have done(!) but first of all I would probably not recommend importing images onto the desktop but rather to their final destination.

      If you had made the new folders and the split in Capture One itself, then you would not have had this problem, unfortunately.

      I don’t want to give you poor advice, so as I am not sure what your current situation is, I would suggest opening a support case. They can even do a screen share and show you the ropes on how to relocate.

      Use the last link on that page – ‘Contact Technical SUpport’.


  3. Kelly

    Hi David,
    I had an incident where my laptop ran out of battery charge and went into hibernation with an external hard drive attached and my Capture One catalog open and running. When I was able to charge the laptop, the external hard drive read as being disconnected, and the images could not be connected in the library. After several restarts and verifying the catalog, as well as trying to reconnect back the hard drive folders, the hard drive appears in the library just fine as readable and writable, but all of the images in the corresponding project are shown as offline. How do I reconnect these images to pick up the connection back to their original locations on the hard drive? The only thing that seems to help is right clicking on the images and locating the images individually, which I cannot continue to do because the number of images appearing offline is in the tens of thousands. I’m on a mac – please advise! Thanks.

      1. Kelly

        Hi David,
        Yes, I’ve tried that several times. In addition, verifying and trying to repair the catalog seems to have done more harm than good – deleting files from the project at random. I will try support and hope all my work hasn’t been lost!

        1. David Grover Post author

          Yes please do. And I doubt you will have lost anything as there should be backups in place.

  4. Scott Vance

    Hi, All of my files disappeared (i.e. were offline even though my external drive was connected). It turned out that windows had renamed my external drive (automatically). By going into disk management and reassigning the correct drive letter I was able to correct the problem. Thought that this might be useful for someone…


  5. Tom

    Hi David

    I have just returned home after a successful day shooting in the studio, straight into CaptureOne. I have now plugged my hard drive and laptop in, and the capture one file is unable to open.

    It says “The catalog failed basic checks. Verify and repair it?”

    However I have tried both verify and repair, both of which are failing. I have no way to open any of the images, and I’m at a loss! Any help would be amazing..


    1. David Grover Post author

      Hi Tom,

      Without knowing the ins and outs of your system it’s hard to diagnose!

      The fastest course of action is to make a support case.

      Go to and then to Support. The last link on that page allows you to create a case.

      They will get you up and running again.


  6. oisin

    I am an aperture user testing out capture one. I have been using referenced files in aperture stored on an external hard drive. I would like to do the same with capture one.
    How do I relocate a folder or album to external hard drive after import in capture one?
    My workflow with aperture was
    1. importing images into the aperture library,
    2. organising, tagging, editing, deleting unwanted images
    3. once I’m happy with the work I relocate the original images to an external drive.
    Seems I can do this with capture one only on import, is it possible to do it after import?
    Thanks for any help advice!

    1. David Grover Post author

      Hi Oisin,

      Why not just import directly to the external hard drive? In the ‘Import To’ dialogue, just choose Current Location (if they are already in the right place) or Choose Folder to set the external location.

      After import, you can drag images to any location shown in the folders tool. You can add additional locations by hitting the ‘Plus’ button. Why not watch this?


  7. oisin

    I have connected my external hard drive but cannot view the folder hierarchy even when I right click and click on view folder hierarchy.
    What am I missing?!

  8. oisin

    Thanks for the reply David!
    I can do it now before importing the images. The images I have already imported, I export them to the desktop and then reimport them setting the location as the external hard drive. And yes now I can view the folder hierarchy!
    From now on I will import directly onto the external hard drive!
    However if I delete an image from the catalogue after importing to the external drive will it be automatically deleted from the hard drive?

    1. Terence Lee

      Hi there, can I ask if I lost my RAW files due to renaming them using Mac’s Automator, is there anyway to retrieve them using the proxies/cache?

  9. Andy

    Hi there, can I ask if I lost my urgent photo, I’m accidently delete my pictures from capture pro one 8. How to recover back all my files that i have been deleted


  10. Tim

    I am moving to Capture One from Aperture. In Aperture, it was possible to drag the preview image to the desktop and get a preview-sized copy (approx 3000 x 2000 pixels). This was possible without the referenced images connected. Is there any way to get a copy of the preview image in Capture one when the referenced images are not connected?

    We have a 4TB drive of referenced images and it is very handy to get a smaller version of the photo from the laptop while on the road (and these images are large enough for web marketing etc.).

    Thanks for your help!

    1. David Grover Post author

      Hey Tim,

      If you process out images using Jpeg QUICKPROOF, then you can do so with referenced images, even if the drive isn’t attached.


  11. Ted

    Thanks for these tips. I’m new to Capture One. I’ve initially located my referenced image files on my laptop, but would like to relocate them to an external drive. To do this do I need to first move them inside the catalog and ten move them again to the new location on the external drive? When I try to move them directly, only a copy of the master file is inserted onto the external drive. The original referenced master remains in the folder on my laptop.

    Thanks for your help.

    1. David Grover Post author

      Hi Ted,

      You don’t need an intermediary step of “inside Catalog”.

      First add the folder by clicking the “+” icon in the folders area in the Library tool, and then move the images there.


  12. John

    Hi David,

    for some reason I can not move images from the browser to anywhere, to the Catalog or to collections album or to a reference folder.

    I use the select tool (arrow) click on a image in the browser drag it to a folder, the catalog or album and nothing happens.

    Is there a lock files setting preventing moving of files?


    1. David Grover Post author

      When you say ‘Browser’ you are referring to the thumbnail browser in Capture One? Not the Finder or Explorer?

  13. Bob Singleton

    While importing photos my MBP warned me that I was running out of disk space (even though all the photos were being transferred to an 2Gb external drive with about 75% free capacity). Part way through the import, Capture One crashed and I had to restart (having first ensured I’d got rid of as much rubbish as I could to free up hard disk space) I then attempted to continue importing the files. After a long day (12+ hours) shooting fashion shows, I hadn’t noticed that instead of continuing the download to the previous folder, Capture One imported as if it were a new import. I now have two folders, one with ALL the images from the card and one with a partial download. The problem now is that, not realising this at first, I started sorting and editing from the partial download folder but had to then edit the end of the catwalk show from the folder containing all the images. How do I move the images (with the edits) from the partial folder to the other folder? I’ve tried watching videos, but I don’t understand half of what is being said due to being an English English speaker.


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