Bridge: Transferring your Keywords

by Wren McMains
(updated 4/27/2012)

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It's now much easier to transfer and edit your Keywords. The secret is the little hidden pull-down in the top-right of the Keywords pallet (or panel as I think it's now called):


Use "Export ..." to save all your current keywords. Be sure to put them someplace you can find them. I have a folder where keep all my Photoshop files (actions, brushes, etc.). I use file names like Bridge-Keywords120427 (when naming files I always use the YYMMDD format for dates so they sort correctly). Bridge will add .TXT to the file name.

There are two options when importing keywords. If you want to replace ALL your existing keywords with the new set (for example, when I'm importing keywords I've just saved from Lightroom) use "Clear and Import ...". If you want to add a group of keywords (for example, a complete list of common birds or animals) I'll ususally first delete any old keywords that might be in the group and then use "Import ..." to append the new ones to my keyword list.

The keyword list is exported as a .TXT file making it easy to spell-check and/or edit with your favorite text editor and then re-import.

Unless you're interested in how and where Bridge stores your keywords you can ignore everything that follows.

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July, 2008 version:

  1. Find your "Adobe Bridge Keywords.xml" file (in CS2 it has an ABDATA extension and cannot be edited, but can be transferred):

    With Vista look in:  Users / <UserName> / AppData / Roaming / Adobe / Bridge CS3
    With XP look in:  Documents and Settings / <UserName> / Application Data / Adobe / Bridge CS3
    Could some Mac user e-mail and tell us where it's hidden on a Mac
    Note: "AppData" and "Application Data" are hidden folders. If you can't see them choose Organize / Folder and Search Options:

    or in XP choose Tools / Folder Options, either way you'll get:

    Click on the "View" tab to get:

    Choose "Show hidden files and folders", and while you're here I recommend you un-check "Hide extensions for known file types" if you haven't already (then you'll see extensions like .JPG when files are listed ... much less confusing when there are multiple files with the same name in a folder).
    Once you click "Apply" hidden files and folders will show, but their icons will be dimmer (note icons for the "AppData" folder and the "ntuser" files are dimmer than the others in this screen shot):

  2. Copy the "Adobe Bridge Keywords.xml" file to your flash drive.
  3. On the other machine, find the folder with "Adobe Bridge Keywords.xml" file and copy the version from your flash drive, over-writing the one in the folder down under AppData.
  4. Here's an easy way to do it (using a short-cuts you should learn to use):

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