ACR Version Control for Windows

December 6, 2006 by
Filed under: Features 

Adobe Bridge
Several months ago, I posted my ACR Version Control package for the Mac. This set of simple droplets lets you easily create and manage different versions of your raw files. The package works by simply renaming the XMP sidecar files that Camera Raw creates, and then keeping track of which file is current. At the time, I wanted to create a Windows version, but since I’m not a Windows programmer, this wasn’t really possible. Fortunately, I found a rather simple way to get around this engineering bottleneck: I asked my dad to do it.

Since he is a Windows user and programmer, he was able to throw together a Windows version of the package, which you can download for free, below.

The idea is very simple: if you set your Camera Raw Preferences to "Save image settings in sidecar XMP files" then all of the raw conversion parameters that you define for an image will be written out to a small text file in the same folder as the original image.

ACR Preferenfces

When you open a raw file in Camera Raw, it automatically looks for a sidecar file which has the same name a the raw file, and an XMP extension. It reads that file, and uses the parameters that it finds there as the default conversion for your image. You can make duplicate XMP files, and store completely different settings in each one, providing you with a modicum of version control.

The ACR Version Control package provides simple droplet apps for automatically duplicating and managing your different versions. It takes care of all of the renaming necessary to make this work.

To use ACR Version Control:

1. Download and unzip the archive linked below. The apps are very small so you can place them wherever you want, but your Desktop is probably the most convenient location.

2. If you haven’t already, configure your ACR Preferences to create Sidecar XMP files, as noted above.

3. Select a raw image that you want to edit, and place it in its own folder. For multiple versions to work, you need the image and all of it’s XMP files in a folder by themselves.

3. Using Bridge or Photoshop, open a raw file and configure your parameters to taste. Click Done to close the file. ACR will automatically create a sidecar xmp file in the same folder.

4. Drag the XMP file onto the Create New Version app. A duplicate version of your XMP file will be created. For version tracking to work, a lot of renaming is going on behind the scenes. Your original XMP file is renamed Version 1, a duplicate named Version 2 is created, and a duplicate of that file is created and named <filename>.xmp.

5. Open the the raw file again in Camera Raw. It will look exactly the same because you’re looking at a duplicate of the original version.

6. Change some parameters to create a different looking image. Click Done to close the file. ACR will update the XMP sidecar file. You now have two versions that you can easily switch between.

7. Drag Version 1 onto the Set Current Version app, then re-open the raw file. You should see your first version. Click Done to close.

8. Drag Version 2 onto the Set Current Version app, then re-open the raw file again. You should see your second version. Again, click Done to close.

You can create as many versions as you want by dragging any Version document onto the Create New Version application.

If you want to delete a version, drag it to the Delete Version application. It will be deleted, and all higher-numbered versions will be re-numbered accordingly.

Create New Version also automatically creates a log file in the same folder. This file is used to keep track of version names and order, but you can also use it to store notes on eaach version. With the log file, you can easily annotate the differences between each file. Just open it in a text file and edit away.

If you find these actions useful, please don’t be at all shy about PayPal-ing me some cash! $5! $10! $1.2 million! I’m not picky! Just click this button right here:

Click here to download the free
ACR Version Control package

Buy a copy of Photoshop CS 2 for the Mac at


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