collect images

Filter the images shown in the lighttable view and filmstrip panel using image attributes. This set of filtered images is known as a collection.

All images imported imported into darktable are stored in darktable’s library database, along with attributes describing each image. A collection may be defined by applying filtering rules to these attributes, thus creating a subset of images to display in the lighttable view and the filmstrip module.

The default collection is based on the film roll attribute and displays all images of the last imported or selected film roll.

🔗available filtering attributes

The images in a collection can be filtered using the following image attributes:


film roll
The name of the film roll to which the image belongs (which is the same as the name of the folder in which the image resides)
The folder (file path) where the image file is located
The filename of the image


Any tag that is attached to the image. When activated a hierarchical list of known tags is displayed
The image’s metadata “creator” field
The image’s metadata “publisher” field
The image’s metadata “title” field
The image’s metadata “description” field
The image’s metadata “rights” field
The image’s metadata “notes” field
color label
Any color label attached to the image (“red”, “yellow”, “green”, “blue”, “purple”)
The geo location of the image


date taken
The date the photo was taken, in the format YYYY:MM:DD
date-time taken
The date & time the photo was taken, in the format YYYY:MM:DD hh:mm:ss
import timestamp
The date/time the file was imported, in the format YYYY:MM:DD hh:mm:ss
change timestamp
The date/time the file was last changed, in the format YYYY:MM:DD hh:mm:ss
export timestamp
The date/time the file was last expoted, in the format YYYY:MM:DD hh:mm:ss
print timestamp
The date/time the file was last printed, in the format YYYY:MM:DD hh:mm:ss

🔗capture details

The Exif data entry describing the camera make and model
The description of the lens, as derived from Exif data
The aperture, as derived from Exif data
The shutter speed, as derived from Exif data
focal length
The focal length, as derived from Exif data
The ISO, as derived from Exif data
aspect ratio
The aspect ratio of the image, including any cropping within darktable


Choose between “group followers” and “group leaders”
local copy
Show files that are, or are not copied locally
Choose images whose history stacks have been altered or not
Filter based on which processing modules have been applied to the image
module order
Choose images with “v3.0”, “legacy” or “custom” module orders

🔗module controls

🔗defining filter criteria

The top line of the module can be used to define filter criteria for your collection as follows:

image attribute
The left combobox allows you to choose which attribute to use to filter your collection (from the list described in the previous section)
search pattern
In the text field to the right of the attribute combobox, you can write a matching pattern. The pattern is compared against all database entries with the selected attribute. The filtering mechanism detects a match if any image’s attribute contains the pattern in its full text. You may use % as wildcard character. The collection will be limited to only the matching images. Leave the text field empty to match all images having that attribute.

Attributes with numerical or date/time attributes can be used in combination with comparative and range operators. Use <, <=, >, >=, <>, and = to select images with attributes less than, less than or equal, greater than, greater than or equal, not equal, or equal to the given value, respectively. An expression in the form [from;to] can be used to select using a range of values.

select by value
As well as defining filter criteria using a search pattern, you can also manually choose from a list of entries taken from the currently-matching set of images.

The box below the search pattern will list values for the selected attribute that are present in the currently-selected images. This list is continuously updated as you type. You may also choose a sorting criteria by scrolling through the list and double-clicking.

If you enable single-click mode (see preferences > lighttable) you can select with a single-click rather than double-click. This mode also allows you to select a range of values with the mouse. This only works for numerical and date-time attributes.

🔗combining multiple filters

You can combine multiple filters together to create more complex collections of images using a series of rules. A rule is a combination of a filter critera along with a logical operation that defines how that criteria is combined with any previous rules.

Click on the collect-expander-icon button (to the right of the search field) to open a menu with the following options:

clear this rule
Remove the current rule – or reset to default if this is the only rule defined.
narrow down search
Add a new rule, which is combined with the previous rule(s) in a logical AND operation. An image is only retained as part of the collection if it also fulfills the new criteria.
add more images
Add a new rule, which is combined with the previous rule(s) in a logical OR operation. Images that fulfill the new criteria are added to the collection.
exclude images
Add a new rule, which is combined with the previous rule(s) in a logical EXCEPT operation. Images that are selected by the new criteria are excluded from the collection.

The logical operators defining how rules are combined are indicated with icons to the right of each added rule: AND by the collect-and-icon symbol, OR by the collect-or-icon symbol, and EXCEPT by the collect-except-icon symbol. Clicking on any of these icons allows you to change the logical operation for that rule.

🔗updating the folder path of moved images

While it is best to not touch imported files behind darktable’s back, this module can help you recover from situations when you have moved or renamed image folders after importing them. The collect images module has a feature that allows you to update darktable’s library database with the new folder location. The process is as follows:

  1. Set the image attribute combobox to “folders”
  2. Locate the original folder name in the tree. The folder name will be displayed struck-through to emphasize that it is no longer present.
  3. Right-click on the folder name, select “search filmroll…”, and then select the new location of the folder.