Any File Lightroom Plugin


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 workflow.

  • 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

  1. Download anyfile.1.12.zip.

  2. 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 done.

  3. If this is a new installation, extract the folder anyfile.lrplugin from the downloaded .zip and move it to a location of your choice. 

  4. In Lightroom, do File > Plug-in Manager.

  5. Click Add, browse and select the anyfile.lrplugin folder, and click OK (Windows) or Add Plug-in (Mac OS).

The free trial is for 30 days – after that, you’ll need to buy a license.

Buy a License
  1. Buy a license at a price you think is fair: Add to Cart
    The license includes unlimited upgrades. Make sure you're satisfied with the free trial before buying.

  2. Copy the license key from the confirmation page or confirmation email.

  3. Do Library > Plugin-Extras > Any File > Import.

  4. Click Buy.

  5. Paste the key into the License key box and click OK.

Using Any File

Importing Files
  1. Do Library > Plug-in Extras > Any File > Import (keyboard shortcut ALT+L S I on Windows).

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

  5. Click Import.

  6. 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 catalog—more details.

Opening Files

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).

Deleting Files
  1. Select one or more files managed by Any File.

  2. Do Library > Plug-in Extras > Any File > Delete (keyboard shortcut ALT+L S L on Windows).

  3. 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 OK.

  4. 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 Files

The safest way to move or rename files imported by Any File:

  1. Move or rename one or more proxy thumbnails using Lightroom's built-in commands.

  2. Select all the moved or renamed proxies and do Library > Any File > Move/Rename, which will move or rename the actual files to match the proxies' name and location.

Alternatively, only if you already understand how to locate missing files in a Lightroom catalog:

  1. Use Windows Explorer or Finder to move one or more proxy thumbnails along with their actual files to the desired new location.

  2. In Lightroom, the proxies will now be marked as "missing".  Locate their new locations.

  3. Select all the moved or renamed proxies and do Library > Any File > Move/Rename, which will move or rename the actual files to match the proxies' name and location.

Filtering

Any File provides two custom metadata fields for use with the Library Filter bar:

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 fields.

Refreshing Thumbnails

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.

Metadata

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
EXIF/XMP Rating
XMP Title
XMP Description (caption)
EXIF/XMP DateTimeOriginal (capture time)
EXIF/XMP DateTimeDigitized
EXIF/XMP CreateDate
EXIF/XMP ModifyDate
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.

Keyboard Shortcuts

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.

Support

Please send problems, bugs, suggestions, and feedback to

 

I’ll gladly provide free licenses in exchange for reports of new, reproducible bugs.

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 capabilities.

  • 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 Jeffrey 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 Documents.

  • 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 their thumbnails.

  • 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 solutions:

    • A 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 .gif.

Version History

1.0
  • Initial release
1.2
  • Fixed several small bugs
1.3
  • Open now works on Mac OS
  • Removed extra warning when importing 3 or fewer files
1.4
  • Import now works with folders containing “&”
1.5
  • Fully supports Mac OS and uses Finder thumbnails
  • Checks for newer version available
1.6
  • Unicode characters in filenames now work
1.7
  • Fixed problem with Mac thumbnail generation when libtiff wasn't installed
1.8
  • Delete command
  • The Import command scans for files much, much faster
1.9
  • Fixed "internal error" bug for some first-time installations
1.10
  • 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 Windows
1.11
  • Move/Rename command
  • Better error message when trying to Open a file that no longer exists
1.12
  • Move/Rename command allows folder hierarchies to be moved and files/folders moved in Windows Explorer or Finder
  • GPS metadata fields get transferred to the proxy file and are viewable in Lightroom (e.g. for smartphone videos)
  • Any File commands appear under both File > Plug-in Extras and Library > Plug-in Extras
  • Updated to use the latest version of ExifTool, 9.65
Copyright 2014 John R. Ellis