A fix for non-exporting keywords in Lightroom 3 using SQLite

In the keywording box of Lightroom, set the drop down menu to “Will Export” to view which keywords will be embedded into the IPTC info of the exported image.

There are very few things in this world more painful or necessary for me than keywording my images.  I realized this fact in 2005 after joining Aurora Photos as a contributing photographer and almost immediately saw that poorly keyworded images did not sell well on the internet. In 2005 I was keywording my images with a wonderful little program called iView Media Pro, but eventually migrated the process to Lightroom in late 2009 due to LR’s unified image processing and metadata capabilities.

Sadly, I soon discovered that many of the embedded keywords from iView Media Pro would not export properly from Lightroom due to the apps ability to let the user control each keywords behaviors, and much to my chagrin the behaviors Lightroom assigned to my iView Media Pro keywords were to NOT EXPORT.

This only became an issue recently as I began constructing a stock photography site and uploading some of my older images to it.  The images uploaded with zero of their keywords intact, making their commercial value zero as no one would be able to find them.

Lightroom allows keyword level control on which keywords will be exported and which ones will not. If you want the keyword to export, you must check the box to “Include on Export” when creating the keyword.

The thought of having to go through my keyword list of nearly 11,000 words and hand check each keyword tag to make sure it was set to “Include on Export” in Lightroom nearly broke my spirit with the thought of many hours of mind numbing repetitive computer work. Thankfully due to this post here, I found a workaround that I will share with anyone in a similar boat.


I downloaded a program called SQLiteManager from the Apple App store and did the following.

1. Backed up my Lightroom Catalog

2. Closed Lightroom

3. Launched SQLiteManager

4. Directed SQLite to open my master .lrcat file

5. In SQLiteManager, I clicked on the SQL button and entered the following command:

update aglibrarykeyword
set includeOnExport = 1, includeParents = 1, includeSynonyms = 1
where parent is not null

What SQLiteManager app looks like after I opened my .lrcat file in it and entered the command.

6. Quit SQLite

7. Opened up my master .lrcat file and BINGO! 100% of the keywords in my catalog were now set to “include on export”.  I love technology!

NOTE – This worked for me.  It may not work for you.  ATTEMPT THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK, and be sure to BACKUP everything before you attempt this.