REload sidecar files?

Is there any quick way how to reload sidecar files in Darktable? I want to apply ABC.rw2.xmp to ABC.rw2.

I have a collection of XMPs with updated image modifications but the only way how to apply them (instead of using the database copy) I found is the “load sidecar file…” button which, frankly, is a terrible option when dealing with large amount of photos.

Is there any other way?

On request, darktable can be configured to search for updated XMP files at startup, offering a choice to update the database or overwrite the XMP file where changes are identified. This configuration can be changed in preferences > storage > xmp.

This could slow down the start process, so I’d recommend that you disable it if not needed.

Another option is to _remov_e images from darktable and re-import them.

The load sidecar file operation is mostly used to import sidecar sent to you by others or downloaded from the net. See the PlayRaw category on this site.

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Enable the option to look for updated sidecar files on startup.

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Thank you, friends. I’ll see what works better.

Looking up for updated sidecar files on startup doesn’t work really well though, because modification time of the sidecar files always lags behind the database. So usually when I start Darktable it asks to import XMPs only about 1 or 2 seconds newer.

If the changes come from darktable, the database and sidecars should be kept in sync. If they are no, there’s a bug somewhere…

If, on the other hand, you change those sidecars outside of darktable while darktable is still running, you have a risk of occasionally losing changes from one of the two programs (“race condition”).

If this is a one-time operation, linux has a “touch” command that allows you to set the file timestamp to “now” (it won’t touch the file contents). Perhaps that can be of use?

@rvietor I was developing my photos copied to a flash drive on a different (Windows) PC. Then I went back to the PC I usually use, and redirected the original library onto the flash drive one, the result being that the latest modifications didn’t make it to the database, and I had to import the updated XMPs manually one by one.

So, eventually, I moved the database, Darktable, and all the photos onto the flash drive, so I could swap computers safely.


I use this often and never had an issue loading then, only not loading the color labels, but have you set the options to save the sidecar on every save?

Well, I’m left with hope that the XMPs are updated as they should. But saving them after updating the database is clearly not the best approach.

In fact, I’d be happy if the database didn’t contain the history at all. What’s the point of XMPs then?

If in fact you don’t make any use of the library database…just run DT with the memory option…it just creates a temp database in memory for a session and then erases it I believe… then you rely on your xmp files… this is sort of setting up DT to work purely as an editor…

I’m using a nas.

Checking for update at startup is a HUGE NO GO !

The ability to recheck XMP for selected images is missing

just reup this [Feature request] Manually update xmp files for selected collections · Issue #14686 · darktable-org/darktable · GitHub