The images in my catalog are marked as "Offline" and I can't zoom in or process them. How can I resolve this issue?
The reasons for images to become offline
Since their introduction in Capture One 7, catalogs have provided an effective solution for working with large sets of images with a relatively tiny data footprint and centralized file structure. This is done by caching the preview files within the catalog package, minimizing the need to access the source raw files. When the original source files are not available, the previews are marked at the top with "Offline" and the thumbnails in the browser pane have a question mark icon.
Image 1. Thumbnails have a question mark icon in the browser pane.
Image 2. The previews marked as Offline.
There are numerous ways for an image to become offline, however, the root of all causes is the fact that the original file's path is inaccessible. Some examples of the major causes include but are not limited to:
- The drive on which the image is stored is not mounted.
- The original filename has been changed outside of Capture One (if this is done within the catalog, the database will update and the image will not become offline).
- The original file path has been changed, either a folder in the path has been renamed (again, outside of Capture One) or the file has been moved to another folder.
- The location of the original file is on a server and passing an inconsistent file path to Capture One.
- The software or hardware driving the RAID storage device is passing on an inconsistent file path to Capture One.
- The catalog database has been corrupted and the image entry does not properly link to the image.
For these reasons and more it is abundantly clear that when using catalogs it is best to keep the image files at their original location or to move them from within Capture One rather than Finder/Explorer. Any renaming should be done within Capture One as well to avoid the filename issues.
It is also worth noting that the term "offline" is not referring to the internet connection of the machine. There is no cloud-based storage intrinsic to Capture One or catalogs.
While offline, you can still make adjustments and organize images as Capture One does not require the raw file for these actions and will use the cached preview file. However, it is not possible to zoom in past the preview size, process/export or create an LCC from an offline file.
Bringing images back online
The first step in getting images back online is determining the reasons they got offline. Ask yourself several related questions such as:
- Have individual files been moved?
- Is the drive connected?
- Has the folder been renamed?
Case 1. When only several images are offline, while the rest stay online.
In this case, we can deduce that the individual files have issues. Luckily, we can re-connect them via the right-click/control-click on the browser thumbnail and choosing the Locate... option. This will bring up a system browser with which we can point to the original file. Selecting the correct image will bring the file back online.
Case 2. When the entire folder or series of folders of images are offline.
We can deduce that there is an issue with the path to those images. In case the images are stored on the external drive, make sure that it is connected, powered on, and mounted properly. If the drive is not mounted, there will be a red indicator next to the drive icon in the Library tool as shown in the image below.
If the drive is mounted (or it is an internal drive), then the folder path needs to be updated then. This would be indicated by an exclamation mark icon next to the filename.
To resolve this issue, right-click on the folder that is showing the error and select the Locate... option.
If many images recurringly become offline without any user input, this could be indicative of a corrupt catalog database. In such a case, select File -> Verify Catalog or Session... and point to the catalog file. Select Verify -> Repair if the option is provided. If it is not possible to repair a catalog, you may need to restore the database from a backup as outlined in this article.