Accessing a Tropy Project saved on server from multiple computers

I just discovered Tropy and it seems almost perfect for a major project I am working on (collecting archival material for a historical documentary).

I do have two questions before I commit:

  1. I am working on a network server and with an intern. If I save my project file onto the server, can my intern and I both work on the same project? It doesn’t necessarily need to be at the same time.

  2. It’s correct that I cannot export images right? If not, how do I share photos based on lists or tags with a producer?

Sorry if this has already been answered.

This is possible but not yet supported ‘officially’. If you want to work on the project from multiple devices you need to ensure that paths to your photos (i.e., to your shared drive) are identical on both devices; if that is not practical you need to ‘rebase’ the project (this is experimental still), which basically means that the project file will save images using relative paths. (There is also a third option if all your photos are available via HTTP: in that case you could import all photos using URLs and the project file can be opened on any device with network access to the photos.)

Once set up this way, you can access the same project from multiple devices, but you need to be careful not to overwrite changes made on one device from the other device. The upcoming 1.7 release (currently in beta) will make this a little easier: currently, Tropy always writes to the project file when you open it; starting with 1.7 the project file will stay untouched as long as you make no changes. Going forward, we’ll be adding a read-only mode and resolution of sync conflicts to support this workflow better.

Starting with the 1.7 release there’s also going to be an archive plugin, which will let you export images and metadata as a zip file. We already have a number of other export plugins: in general it’s not difficult to get data and photos out of Tropy. If you give us more details about what data you’d like to share with a producer, and how, I’m sure we’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

Thank you so much for the quick response! It seems like this is going to work for us.

We will be saving all of the photos onto the same shared drive as the project file so the paths will be the same for all. I’m assuming that as long as we open and work on the project at different times, then we will not have an issue with overwriting - correct? In other words, every time we open the TROPY project file, we will be looking at the most recent version of the project. Is that right?

When is 1.7 expected to come out?

Regarding the data that needs to be shared, its multi-leveled:

  1. We need a general overview of what images we have of of our various topics (characters, monuments, etc) which I will use tagging for.

  2. Eventually we will need to track we image was used in what show and export that to a Rights/Clearance bible. I’ll edit a template to add the fields for episode/timecode.

  3. In an ideal world, I would love to export images by tag so we can batch them into folders for the editors of the show (and rename them using items from the meta data – i realize I’m asking a lot now!) who access the photos on a different shared drive,

The producers are all freelance, so ideally I’d like like to share a document with large-ish thumbnails organized by tag or some sort of slideshow so they can approve the images we have found.

Hopefully this all makes sense. LMK if it doesn’t and thank you for creating this software!

The paths are not that simple; if you have a shared folder the important part is not the path relative to that folder, but the path to the folder itself. For example, if we have shared folder, it could called /Users/sylvester/Shared/Tropy but on your device, it could be called /Users/jmorgan/Shared/Tropy – so each file in the folder would have a different absolute path on the two devices. If your setup is like that, you’ll need to use a portable, or ‘rebased’ project.

If your shared folder is at the same location on every device, e.g., something like: /Volumes/University/X/Y/Tropy a regular project would be fine.

Tropy 1.7 is almost ready. There will be another beta release, likely tomorrow, and if we don’t discover any unexpected issues, this will be become the stable version – so later this week, or next week at the latest.

Regarding the different sharing needs, I think a lot of it may be covered already. It depends a little on what exact format you have in mind to show what images where used. By default, you can copy/export items to a JSON format which will include all the metadata, tags, notes, and paths to each photo; if you need something simpler you can use the CSV plugin and a custom template to export only a limited number of fields for each photo. Regardless of the export format, you can always export only a certain range of items (e.g., all items for given tags).

With the archive plugin you’ll be able to combine the exported data with the photos in a zip file (i.e., you basically save the step of adding the actual files to the metadata you exported).

Finally, you might want to take a look at the print feature: you can print or save to PDF any number of selected items (there are handful of print options/variables in the preferences window) – by default this will also include the photos themselves, so this might be useful as a concise overview format.

Great news about the next release!

The file paths are on a share network path which is the same on every device so I’m confident this will work!

With the archive plugin, are you saying that each exported image will have the metadata attached to it? Also, will the export image be full resolution? We are working with super high-res as this is for a television program.

And, I did look at the print feature which is the perfect way to send images for my producer to review- the only issue was that when I printed these yesterday, the photo was a big black box. Do you know why this could be?

Thank you in advance!

The archive export includes all the metadata in JSON-LD: the JSON will reference all the images, which are included in their original size.

How large are images (both in pixel dimensions and file size) and what format are they? We’ve run into some issues with large files which are not natively supported by the web platform (e.g., jp2, tiff, etc.) so maybe that’s a related issue. If you could send me one image as an example that would be much appreciated.

Yes it is a TIF file. Attaching here.

Any idea about why black boxes were printed instead of images in exported PDF? it’s here

Without having seen the file itself yet, I’m pretty sure that this is the issue we’re aware of. For formats that are not directly supported by the platform, Tropy creates full size copies, currently using the WebP format. This has several benefits, because we can pick the same format for all files regardless of their use of alpha channels and similar. Unfortunately, WebP is not supported by PDF so these WebP files are embedded in the PDF using an uncompressed format – this results in very large file sizes (more so if the original images are large), likely exceeding a buffer somewhere in the processing chain that prints to PDF on your device (this may also be dependent on your specific hardware) resulting in the black boxes.

Long story short: we’ll address this soon (probably 1.7.1) by creating the full-size copies in JPEG or PNG instead, as those formats will be embedded into the PDF as is (i.e., compressed).

Not all images were TIF files though and all images showed up as black boxes.

How do you suggest I share photos with producers then that is not as cumbersome and sending all full size images with them?

I would like to be able to send filtered selections of the database so they can view/approve material we have found. They are all remote so this has to be done via email or web link. A PDF with all images is ideal or a gallery or some sort online.

Any thoughts?

Hmm, we’ll have to take a look at the images to see if we can reproduce the issue. (For the you posted above, you’ll have to grant me permission to access the files.)

It sounds like the PDF export is the best solution for your purposes; but the images embedded in the PDF will be full-size by default – for sharing those PDFs you could consider running them through a PDF optimizer to shrink down the embedded images. (Obviously we need to fix those black boxes first)

The next best option is to create a custom export plugin that creates a PDF or HTML page based on your requirements.

Some time a server system are the way to go…

Since you so often need to share images it would be a better solution to use something like PimCore, Phrasenet, ResourceSpace or maybe Omeka for sharing…

And if this is a project for a documentary, doesn’t the producer already have a full featured DAM solution you could use?

Tropy is a great software, but sometimes a desktop software are not the answer for a problem…

Tropy do have an export plugin for Omeka, and Omeka can be set up to sync with multiple other solutions… so maybe that is something that can work for you…

It may be a little overkill, but it all depend on the size of the project…
Omeka can either be installed on your own server or you can use their online services…

Just a tip

Thank you for these suggestions.

The producers are offsite (freelance) and I am responsible for finding and managing the archives for every episode of the series - so I have to find, organize, and track the use of every archival asset in the series.

Tropy is perfect for my job and it seems like Omeka would be great to give the producers flexibility over the way they view the assets I find - but I am going to start with PDF’s and see if that works for them.

Regarding a full featured DAM - we used AVID/Media Central to manage assets but the system isn’t setup to track the archival metadata i need to track which is why I’m banking on Tropy. I’m new to the position but in the past, this had all been done in an excel :astonished: so I’m trying to setup a more workable system.

Hi there.

I’m new to Tropy, working with archival material on a university-base legal history project in Australia. I’m a research assistant, wanting to collaborate with the Chief Investigator on on data management. Currently we are puzzling over how I can work on the project’s Tropy database without me having to use her desktop.

Just wondering if you have an update on when Tropy 1.7 might be available? Sounds like this might be a great help.



It’s basically ready – will be available in a few days.


Hate to be pushy but do you know if it will be ready in the next day or so? I have held off transferring my files manually to my iPad with the hopes that the update will mean my iPad and Mac are in sync; currently struggling with having half a screen for Tropy and the other for excel so this will be great.

Thanks :slight_smile:


You can already download it from the release page (for macOS you would download the dmg) – it will be pushed to the update servers later today probably.

Just to clarify on the question of working on the same project on multiple computers. I have tropy on my work computer, and also on a laptop (laptop A). I would like to put it on a second laptop (B) because I cannot access my work computer, and my first laptop (A) does not have enough storage space to keep all my photos downloaded.

Can I simply download my Tropy project from Dropbox and install Tropy on my new laptop (B) - or do I need to do something in particular with the file path organization to make it work? Many thanks! (I am not very tech-savvy).

This depends a little on your setup. Have you been working on the project from both the work computer and laptop A? And is it set-up as a ‘portable’ project in your Dropbox already? If that’s the case, then all you need to do is install Tropy on your laptop B, connect the laptop to your Dropbox and open the project. Tropy will generate thumbnails for every photo the first time they come into view (there are ways of speeding that up if it’s an issue; normally it should not be a big deal).

If your project is not currently set up as a portable project then the quickest way to get started on laptop B is to download Tropy, connect to your Dropbox and open the project. If Tropy cannot find your photos, consolidate a single photo (not item!) as described in the user manual: Tropy will ask you to locate the photo and then ask if other photos should be consolidated automatically: if you confirm this, Tropy should be able to find all the other photos by itself. You can then resume work on laptop B (and later on, when you have access to the work computer again, you could make the project portable, by re-basing it from the developer menu, to be able to access it from the laptop and the work computer).

Many thanks for your quick and helpful response. I have been working on the project, both from my work computer and laptop A. I think it is a portable project, but I am not sure. How do I check?

Just open the project on laptop B – if Tropy can find your photos, the project is likely portable already.