Convert PSE tags to Adobe Bridge hierarchical tags

Monday, February 08, 2010

As a recap you might want to read this article on how I set up my Category Drawers digitally in Photoshop Elements.  Now while Elements lets you set up sub-categories and keywords at different levels, it turns out that when you write them to the files, that they are not hierarchical at all. (And of course, if you don't write them to the files, you won't have any at all).

This means that when you read them in Bridge, they are all jumbled up because they are sorted alphabetically by keyword, and the categories are actually ignored.  To some people this is OK, but in the Library of Memories this is not helpful.

Bridge can support Hierarchical keywording which is just what you need for the LOM system.  To check it is switched on, select Edit, Preferences, Keywords.  I suggest that you uncheck the "automatically apply parent keywords", and check the other two boxes (Write and Read hierarchical keywords).

So I had to look for a way to bring those hierarchies over from Elements to Bridge.  So this is what I did.

1. First you need to open Elements Organizer and make sure that your categories/keywords are all cleaned up, no duplicates etc.  You cannot have 2 tags the same even if they are in different categories.  To fix this, rename the tag to incorporate it's parent category so that the duplicates are now unique.

2. Use the Edit, Write Keyword Tag and Properties Info to file function to ensure that all the keywords are written in the metadata of your files.  You will need to do a Ctrl+A to select All before chosing to do this.  This process can take a really really long time in Elements so be prepared to walk away from the computer for an hour or two.

3. Next open a spreadsheet program (Excel, Works, whatever).  Starting with the top of your LOM categories (in my case People) open up your categories and sub-categories in the Organizer so you can see them all.  Back in the spreadsheet, start typing in each category/tag vertically in column A.  I had around 200 entries by the time I was done.  Phew!

4. Save your spreadsheet if you haven't already!

5. In your spreadsheet program, select File, Save As, and choose a text document (.txt) format with tab delimitation.  In Works this looks like Text & Tabs.

6. Now open Bridge CS4.  You are probably on the default "Essentials" view.  Select the "Metadata" view.  You should have a Keywords pane on the right side of the screen.

7. If there are any keywords displaying in the Keywords pane, right click on them to remove them from the keywords list. You can select multiple keywords if necessary.  It is best to start from scratch to avoid confusion.

8. In the keywords pane, on the right top corner is a drop down menu icon.  Click on it and select Import.  Navigate your way to the .txt file you saved earlier.  And select it, click Ok and import it into Bridge.  You will eventually see your keywords show up in a list.  This list appears alphabetically and is jumbled because there is no hierarchy, all tags are at the top level.

9. Using "drag & drop" mouse technique, go about recreating the same structure you had in Photoshop Elements.  Simply drag the sub-categories onto the top level categories, and the keywords onto their parent categories.

Now when I go to a photo, I can see the keywords with their correct hierarchy, a la Library of Memories.

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