Managing Multiple Libraries in Aperture

All your Aperture Libraries right on your desktop's Dock.While Apple's "Library" concept in Aperture is a logical idea, for some, one Library isn't enough and often, doesn't make sense. After all, why open up every drawer in the cupboard, so-to-speak. Or worse, every cupboard in the kitchen.

So, I prefer to organize my work in multiple Libraries. I'm currently housing eight separate libraries.

IMPORTANT: I use MANAGED Libraries. I'm sure you can do this with Referenced libraries as well, but in the interest of full disclosure, I don't recommend and I don't use Referenced Libraries.

I keep my motorsports work for the year in one Library and give it a title for that particular year. That makes it easier to access things down the road. I'll also create a Library for Family Photos according to each year as well.

As you know, Aperture will always launch displaying the most recent Library used. So, when using multiple Libraries, we need to get into the habit of launching Aperture from the actual Library we want to access, not from the application itself.

But first, how do we create a new Library?

With Aperture open and running on your desktop, click on the word Aperture up in the upper left corner of your screen and select Preferences from the pull down menu. Or, you can simply hold down the "Command" key and hit the comma (",") key. This will do the same thing.

You're now presented with the Preferences dialogue box. Make sure the General icon is highlighted. If not, click on it. Now you should see the General pane and the current Library Location. Click on the "Choose" icon. This will launch an instance of "Finder." Now navigate to a location you'd like to store your new library and click on Select in the lower right hand corner. You can put the Library wherever you like. Just keep in mind, if you're using an external drive, that drive will need to be connected in order to access that Library. This might be a moot point if your at a desktop machine, but if you're on a laptop you need to be aware.

Once you have created your new Library, close Aperture and locate the new Library in Finder. Once you have located it, go ahead and rename it to something you'll be able to identify it's contents.

One you've renamed the Library, make an Alias. Highlight the file in Finder and under the File menu or by holding down the Control key and clicking your mouse, choose Make Alias. Repeat this step for ALL your Aperture libraries. They will all need an alias to complete our project.

Now we need to create a folder on your Desktop. Using the Control key and a mouse click choose "New Folder." We'll want to call that folder Aperture Libraries.

Now for a little window dressing. Go to any Aperture Library in Finder. Highlight the file and then hit the Command key plus the letter I (information) key. This will launch an information panel. In the upper corner you'll see an icon that represents Aperture. Highlight that icon with a single mouse click and then copy it to your clipboard. Use the Command key plus C or under the Edit menu select Copy ... or using the mouse menu Control plus click and select Copy. The icon is now on your Clipboard. Now navigate in Finder to the Aperture Libraries Folder you created on your Desktop. Again, highlight it and using the Command + "I" keystrokes, bring up the information panel. Now highlight the little folder icon in the upper left corner. Only this time we want to PASTE using either the Edit/Paste command or Command + "V" key strokes. This will turn our Folder icon into an Aperture icon.

Now that your Aperture Libraries Folder is properly labeled and has an identifying icon you'll want to drag it to your Desktop's Dock. Once you've completed this step, simply go into Finder, locate each of the Library aliases you created and drag them onto the Aperture Libraries icon on your dock. If you've followed along correctly you'll now have a Dock item that you can click on and view all of your Aperture Libraries. Now you're ready to launch any library you want when you need to work with the images in that library. REMEMBER, this is where and how you'll launch Aperture from now on. If you just launch Aperture from the Application icon, you will be presented with the last library you worked on. So, in order to have the right library, launch it from our new Aperture Libraries dock item.

You're now ready to have as many Aperture Libraries as you want.

Why do I have this haunting feeling that now that I've finally gotten around to writing this little tutorial tip that Apple will probably add a feature that allows you to switch Libraries on the fly? LOL Oh well, until then, enjoy! ~ JT