How It Works
Using Any File
(Move/Rename command; better error message)
Try these plugins:
Import any type of file into a Lightroom catalog and manage the files
just like photos:
PDF, PNG, GIF, word processing, spreadsheets,
audio, video—any type of file.
Easily open the files in the Windows or Mac OS default program.
Add to collections, add keywords and captions, change the capture
date and rating, and edit any other metadata.
Save metadata back to files as well as to the catalog.
Typical uses for Any File:
Releases, invoices, notes or other documents associated with your
Scans of old documents.
Audio tracks for your slide shows.
Avoid the Lightroom limitations on video: import any type of video,
change the capture time, save metadata.
Try it for free for 30 days. Buy
a license at a price you name.
How It Works
When Any File imports a file, it creates a “proxy” JPEG thumbnail of
the same name and imports that proxy thumbnail (rather than the actual file)
into the catalog. For example, if you import the file
Release.pdf, Any File will create a proxy
Release.pdf.jpg and import that into the catalog.
Any changes to metadata get saved to the proxy thumbnail.
Any File uses the thumbnails from Windows Explorer or Mac OS Finder:
Download and Install
If you're upgrading from a previous version of Any File, exit
Lightroom and replace the existing anyfile.lrplugin
folder with the new one extracted from the downloaded
.zip. Restart Lightroom and you're
If this is a new installation, extract the folder
anyfile.lrplugin from the downloaded .zip
and move it to a location of your choice.
In Lightroom, do File > Plug-in Manager.
Click Add, browse and select the anyfile.lrplugin
folder, and click OK (Windows) or Add Plug-in
The free trial is for 30 days – after that, you’ll need to buy a license.
Buy a License
Buy a license at a price you think is fair:
The license includes unlimited upgrades. Make sure you're satisfied
with the free trial before buying.
Copy the license key from the confirmation page or confirmation email.
Do Library > Plugin-Extras > Any File > Import.
Paste the key into the License key box and click
Using Any File
Do Library > Plug-in Extras > Any File > Import
(keyboard shortcut ALT+L S I on Windows).
In File types, type the extensions of the file types
you want to import, separated by spaces, such as “pdf png mp3”, or leave
the field blank to import all file types.
Click Browse… and navigate to the files or folders
you want to import. To import individual files, select one or more and
click Open (hold down Ctrl on Windows or Command on
Mac OS to select more than one). To have Any File import all the files
within folders and subfolders, select one or more folders and click
Choose Selected (Windows) or Choose
(Mac OS)–Any File will import all contained files of the types
specified in step 2.
The files to be imported are listed in the text box. If the complete
list doesn’t fit in the box, you can click anywhere in the box and use
the up- and down-arrow keys to scroll (sorry, Lightroom doesn’t provide
plugins with scroll bars).
The newly imported files will be displayed, using a Library Filter
column to select just those files. By default, the thumbnails of imported
files are displayed with an overlaid “AF” badge.
Note that Any File does not provide options for copying or moving imported
files, unlike Lightroom’s Import command.
On import, Any File transfers select metadata fields from the file or
its sidecar to the proxy thumbnail, which Lightroom then reads into the
To open files in their default application, as configured by Windows or
Mac OS, select the files and do Library > Plug-in Extras >
Any File > Open (keyboard shortcut ALT+L S O on Windows).
Select one or more files managed by Any File.
Do Library > Plug-in Extras > Any File > Delete
(keyboard shortcut ALT+L S L on Windows).
To delete the actual files as well as their JPEG proxy thumbnails,
check Also delete the actual files from disk. If you
want to delete just the proxies, leave that unchecked. Click
Invoke the Lightroom Delete Photo command (backspace)
to remove the thumbnails from the catalog. (Lightroom limitations prevent
plugins from removing files from the catalog proper.)
Deleted files and their proxies are placed in the Recycle Bin / Trash.
Moving and Renaming
To move or rename a file imported by Any File:
Move or rename the proxy thumbnail using Lightroom's built-in commands.
Do Library > Any File > Move/Rename, which will move or rename the actual file
to match the proxy's name and location.
You can move or rename many proxies and then invoke Move/Rename once
to move or rename all the actual files at once. Don't try to move or rename a file managed
by Any File using Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder.
Any File provides two custom metadata fields for use with the Library
Any File: Type filters by specific file
type (“pdf”, “mp3”, “png”, etc.)
Any File: Import filters by date and
time files were imported.
You may wish to define a new Library Filter preset containing those two
To regenerate the proxy thumbnails, select one or more files and do
Library > Plugin-Extras > Any File > Refresh.
You may want to do this after editing a file or installing a new video codec.
Note that any metadata stored in the old thumbnails will be lost, overwritten
by metadata transferred from the files or their sidecars, so you may want
to do Metadata > Save Metadata to File to re-write any
metadata changes in the catalog back to the new thumbnails.
On Import or Refresh, Any File transfers specific metadata fields from
the file or its sidecar to its proxy thumbnail, which Lightroom will then
read into the catalog. Any File recognizes .xmp
and .thm sidecars for any file type and
.jpg sidecars for .mov
files (a convention used by some cameras).
The transferred fields are:
All IPTC fields
XMP Description (caption)
EXIF/XMP DateTimeOriginal (capture time)
XMP Subject (keywords)
XMP HierarchicalSubject (hierarchical keywords)
If there is no DateTimeOriginal, Any File will use the file’s date-modified
(Lightroom normally uses date-created, a poor choice on Windows, which modifies
date-created whenever a file is copied or moved between volumes).
Even if the original file had a .xmp or
.thm sidecar, Lightroom will save any metadata
changes back to the proxy thumbnail only.
Windows: You can use the standard menu keystrokes to invoke
Any File commands. For example, ALT+L opens the Library
menu, U opens the Plug-in Extras submenu, and I
invokes the Any File Import command.
To reassign a different final keystroke to an Any File menu item, edit
the file Info.lua in the plugin folder. Move
the “&” in front of the desired letter in the menu command’s name,
changing the name itself if necessary.
Mac OS: You can use the standard mechanism for assigning application
shortcuts to plugin menu commands. In System Preferences > Keyboard >
Keyboard Shortcuts > Application Shortcuts, select Adobe Lightroom.
Click "+" to add a new shortcut, in Menu Title type the
name of the menu command preceded by three spaces. For example, if you wanted
to assign a key to the Any File > Import command, type "<space><space><space>Import".
In Keyboard Shortcut type the desired key or key combination.
Please send problems, bugs, suggestions, and feedback to
I’ll gladly provide free licenses in exchange for reports of new, reproducible
Known limitations and issues:
Any File requires Lightroom 3 or later. It’s very unlikely I’ll try
to support earlier versions, since they are missing some key plugin
On Windows XP, generic icons are used rather than true thumbnails.
No video-specific metadata (duration, format, etc.) is imported into
the catalog. If Lightroom's limited handling of video is inadequate
for you and you want video metadata, I suggest
Friedl’s Video-Asset Management plugin, which works similarly to
Any File but is specialized for video.
To see previews of Microsoft Office 2010 documents in the Any File
and Windows Explorer thumbnails, go to File > Info > Properties >
Advanced Properties, click on the Summary
tab, and select Save Thumbnails for All Excel/Word/PowerPoint
Even when you've selected the option in the previous step, sometimes
Windows provides Any File with generic icons for Microsoft Office applications,
rather than thumbnails of the documents. You can usually work around
this Windows bug by opening the folder containing the documents in Windows
Explorer and doing View > Extra Large Icons. Then
reimport the files with Any File or use the Refresh command to regenerate
On Windows, Adobe doesn't support the display of PSD or PSB thumbnails in Windows Explorer,
so you'll need an add-on such as Ardfry Imaging's
PSD Codec, which seems to work
in brief testing.
On Mac OS, neither Apple nor Adobe provide support for PSB
thumbnails (Mac OS has built-in support for PSD thumbnails). If you
know of a solution, please let me know.
Incredibly, Adobe Reader still doesn't support the display of PDF
thumbnails in Windows Explorer on 64-bit Windows, so by default Any
File won't show true document thumbnails either. I've found a few third-party
free fix for use with Adobe Reader
PDF-XChange Viewer, a free PDF viewer (I haven't tested this)
Ardfry Imaging's PSD
Codec, which displays true thumbnails for Adobe PSD, PSB, and
PDF files in Windows Explorer 64-bit (I haven't tested this)
An obscure Lightroom bug: If you use Any File to import a
.gif file, say
test.gif, then Lightroom will mistakenly treat any file in the
same folder whose name starts with "test."
as a sidecar file of the proxy test.gif.jpg.
This doesn't appear to occur with extensions other than
Copyright 2011 John R. Ellis
- Open now works on Mac OS
- Removed extra warning when importing 3 or fewer files
- Import now works with folders containing “&”
- Fully supports Mac OS and uses Finder thumbnails
- Checks for newer version available
- Unicode characters in filenames now work
- Fixed problem with Mac thumbnail generation when
libtiff wasn't installed
- Delete command
- The Import command scans for files much,
- Fixed "internal error" bug for some first-time installations
- Thumbnails now work reliably on OS X Lion (ImageMagick incompatibility)
- Updated to latest version of Exiftool
- Delete command correctly deletes files on network volumes
- Creation Date of WMV files get imported as capture time
- Updated documentation on keyboard shortcuts for Mac OS,
thumbnails for Microsoft Office, thumbnails for PDF on 64-bit
- Move/Rename command
- Better error message when trying to Open
a file that no longer exists