Use Tropy Project on two computers


I have read the documentation on the many similar blog posts on this topic.

I am using Windows 10 on a laptop computer and on a desktop computer. I am using Tropy 1.1.1 on my laptop and Tropy 1.2 Beta 0 on my desktop.

I initially imported approx 2500 document photos on my laptop and cataloged them using the metadata fields in Tropy. I saved the photos and the Tropy project file on a USB drive. Everything works fine on my laptop.

I have now downloaded Tropy software on my office desktop computer. I still have the project file and the photos on the the USB drive which I have inserted on the desktop computer. Tropy on my desktop finds the project and metadata but can’t find the photographs (I have not changed any paths). I have been able to link individual photos successfully using the “Consolidate Photo” function for a single photo but it would be incredibly tedious do that for 2500 photos. The “Consolidate Photo Library” function under the file tab runs through the 2500 photos but fails to link them to the thumbnails in the project view or the individual photo in the item view.

Is there any way to overcome this problem? I would like to do this ideally by keeping the Tropy project file and the photos on my USB drive but, if that is not possible, I can transfer the project file and photos to my desktop computer.

I have not changed any file paths. Please advise how I can make Tropy work on my desktop.

Thank You!


Thanks for your message!

First off, I would advise against using the Tropy stable and beta release on the same project file. We try to make sure that projects automatically migrate when you open them in newer versions of Tropy, but it’s much harder to guarantee that opening an updated/newer Tropy project in an older version of Tropy (which is technically what happens when you open a project file from the beta in the stable release).

Your question aims at a setup where you can work on the same project from both computers, right? This is possible, but there is currently a big limitation: the paths to your photos are stored as absolute paths in your project file. That means, in order to use the same project on different systems, these paths need to be identical. If this is is not possible (e.g., because Windows assigns different drive letters to your USB drive) you can probably work around this using sym links (I’m no Windows user myself, but that’s what I’d do on Linux for example).

If it’s possible to place your photos in such a way that they are reachable via the same path, we need to use that path in your project. Because consolidating via the UI currently works on a single photo at a time the best way to do this, currently, is to change the paths in your project database. I’d be happy to adjust the paths for you, but you’d have to give me the context of your setup, i.e.: What is the absolute path of your photos on your laptop and on your desktop? And can you set up a sym link folder so that you can have a unique absolute path on both systems?

Hello and thanks for the very quick reply.

The drive letters change each time I insert my USB drive with the photos and the Tropy project file into either my laptop or my desktop. The drive letter for my desktop is E: while on my desktop it varies (sometimes F: or G:). Otherwise the paths are the exactly the same since all the data is one one USB drive.

Could you give me some instructions on how I can change the path to my photos? I have no experience coding but am willing to try (if that’s what’s required). I can’t upload my Tropy file because it is too large (4Mb). I could send it to you via e-mail if that helps.

Thanks again!

I think the best solution would be to assign a permanent drive letter to your USB drive; on Windows 10 you can do this using the Disk Management utility. If you do this on both your computers the paths to your photos will be identical. Once that’s done, we need to change the paths in your Tropy project. To do this you’ll have to install SQLite which, unfortunately, is not pre-installed on Windows, so, if you prefer, just send me the project file at — I can quickly update the drive letter of all the photo paths for you (just let me know which drive letter you picked!).

Hi! Is it possible to save all of the photos to a cloud service (eg Dropbox) and use that path to access the photos through Tropy on different devices?

I’m needing to have my laptop, and my assistant’s laptop both access the Tropy files, but we will both be traveling, so we can’t pass a USB drive back and forth.

You can do this using an (experimental) portable project. Basically, you will have to:

  1. (make a backup copy of your project file)
  2. move your project file to the folder where you currently keep your photos
  3. start Tropy, find your project file and open it at the new location
  4. enable developer mode in the preferences
  5. and, in your project window, select ‘rebase project’ from the developer menu (just once!)
  6. disable developer mode again and close Tropy

At this point you should be able to move the entire folder, containing both your project file and all the photos into your Dropbox folder and let it sync. Once downloaded, you’ll be able to open the project on a different device. Going forward, you’ll have to be very careful not to work on the project at the same time from multiple devices or one device will overwrite changes you made on the other device.

Thanks—I’ll give this a try later this week when we are ready, and then report back. We are excited about the possibility of exporting the metadata on this project to be peer-reviewed, and it would be so awesome of Tropy would be a place that is ready to support projects that do that. I teach a lot of Digital Humanities workshops to academics, and would love to recommend this tool if some of these things can be worked out.

You can already zip a portable project and make it available for download: then anyone could open that project in Tropy. We’ll be adding more project options soon to make this kind of sharing easier. Meanwhile, we’re always grateful to hear about specific use-cases so don’t hesitate to let us know what would be helpful to you.

(More export options are coming as well; it’s also possible already to add export plugins if you have a specific target platform in mind.)