Deleting Images

Find out how to delete source images and variants in Sessions as well as referenced and managed variants in Catalogs.

An overview of deleting images and variants

Although Capture One creates variants of the source images to work with non-destructively, when it comes to either moving or deleting, variants cannot be separated from the source image. Therefore, where an image has one variant, moving or deleting that variant will also move or delete the source image. Similarly, when an image has several variants and you move or delete them all, then you will also move or delete the source image.

However, there are certain times when you can delete a variant without deleting the source image. For example, when an image has several variants, and you leave at least one variant of that image in the Collection undeleted, then the source image is not deleted. Similarly, variants can be deleted from Albums without deleting the source image and its variant or variants located elsewhere.

As a result, Capture One has four commands (Delete, Move to Catalog/Session Trash and Delete from Disk and Empty Catalog/Session Trash...) that allow you to manage the removal or deletion of images, regardless of how many variants you have or where they’re stored.

Each command provides a similar workflow throughout Capture One, not only between between Sessions and Catalogs, and with referenced and managed source image files, but also when deleting images from Albums where it can be difficult to know where else the image is located.

One or more of the commands will be available at the same time allowing you to move or delete images, however, it is the Delete command that’s most likely to be adopted in the day-to-day deleting of images.

Bear in mind the context of the Delete command can change to that of the Move to Catalog/Session Trash and Delete from Disk commands, depending on how many variants there are of an image, how many are selected, and where they’re located.

Thus, it’s recommended that you use either the main or contextual menu to select the Delete command until you’re familiar with it, as they give a clear indication of the intended action. Even then, with the exception of the Delete (from Disk) option, it is typically the easiest to undo if you make a mistake.

Although Capture One creates variants of the source files to work with non-destructively, when it comes to either moving or deleting, variants cannot be separated from the source file.

Deleting images and their variants from Collections

The workflow is identical when deleting images from either Catalog or Sessions Collections (i.e. Folders in the Library other than Albums).

When you delete one image with one variant or an image and all of its variants, Capture One moves the image and its variant or variants to the Catalog/Session Trash. Warning! The source image and its variant or variants located elsewhere (e.g., in Albums, Favorites and other Collections) are also moved to the Catalog/Session Trash, pending permanent deletion.

Note the delete command can be undone (Edit > Undo Move To Trash) or images can be moved back by dragging to the relevant Collection or Folder in the Library.

To prevent the unnecessary moving of source images in a Session when the images are located on a different disk to the Session Trash, the Delete from Disk command should be used instead of the Delete (Move to Session Trash)/Move to Session Trash commands. Moving source image files from one disk to another may take a long time to complete, especially if they’re located on a network. Warning! Source images are deleted immediately. This cannot be undone. See Deleting Images Immediately for more information.

  1. Select the Collection.
  2. From the browser, select the image and its variant or variants to delete, then choose File > Delete (Move To Catalog/Session Trash) (or press Cmd+backspace, press X in the toolbar or cursor tool or drag images to the Catalog/Session Trash). Note there is no warning dialog displayed.
  3. Selected images are moved to the Catalog/Session Trash.
  4. Warning! Emptying the image variants from the Catalog/Session Trash may result in the permanent deletion of your source images. This cannot be undone.

When you delete one image with one variant (or an image and all of its variants) Capture One moves the image and its variant or variants to the Catalog/Session Trash.

Deleting only variants from Collections

The workflow is identical when deleting variants from either Catalog or Sessions Collections (i.e. Folders in the Library other than Albums).

When you want to delete specific variants of an image, leaving at least one variant of the image in the Collection, Capture One will delete those selected from that Collection and in every other location. The source image and its variant or variants located elsewhere (e.g., in Albums, Favorites and Collections) are not deleted.

Note the delete command can be undone (Edit > Undo Delete Variants).

  1. Select the Collection.
  2. From the browser, select the variants of an image to delete (leaving at least one variant of the image in Collection), then choose File > Delete (Variants), or press Cmd+backspace, press X in the toolbar or cursor tool. Note there is no warning dialog displayed.
  3. Selected variants are deleted immediately.

When you want to delete specific variants of an image, leaving at least one variant of the image in the Collection, Capture One will delete those selected from that Collection and in every other location.

Deleting variants from an Album

When you delete an image with one variant (or an image and all of its variants) from an User Album, Capture One deletes the selected variants only from that Album. The source image and its variant or variants located elsewhere (e.g., in other Albums, Favorites and Collections) are not deleted.

When you want to delete specific variants of an image, leaving at least one variant of the image in the Album, Capture One will delete those selected from that Album and in every other location where that variant is located. The source image and its variant or variants located elsewhere (e.g., in other Albums, Favorites and Collections) are not deleted.

The behavior is identical between a Session Album and an Album in a Catalog (located in the Library’s User Collection). Collectively, these albums are known as User Albums. Note, that in all cases when that variant is selected by a Smart Album, then it will also be removed from there.

  1. Select the User Album.
  2. From the browser, select the image to delete, then choose File > Delete (from Album "Name"), or press Cmd/Ctrl+backspace (Mac/Windows), or press X in the toolbar or cursor tool). Note, in this instance, there is no warning dialog displayed.
  3. The selected image is removed from the Album (and filtered Smart Album, if applicable). The source image and its variant or variants located elsewhere are not moved or deleted.

When you delete an image with one variant (or an image and all of its variants) from an User Album, Capture One deletes the selected variants only from that Album.

Deleting variants from a Project (Mac only)

When working in a Catalog on a Mac, images organized inside Albums are visible from Projects. Therefore, when you delete an image with one variant (or an image and all of its variants) from a Project, Capture One deletes only the selected variant or variants from any of the Albums where they’re located within the Project. The source image and its variant or variants located elsewhere (e.g., in other Albums outside the Project, Favorites and Collections) are not deleted.

When you want to delete specific variants of an image, leaving at least one variant of the image in the Project, Capture One will only delete those selected from any Albums within the Project and in every other location where that variant is located. The source image and its variant or variants located elsewhere (e.g., in other Albums, Favorites and Collections) are not deleted.

  1. Select the Project from User Collections folder.
  2. From the browser, select the image, then choose File > Delete (from Project “[Project Name])”, or press Cmd+backspace, or press X in the toolbar or cursor tool. Note, in this instance there is no warning dialog displayed.
  3. The selected variant is deleted from the Project and the Album or Albums within (and filtered Smart Album, if applicable). The source image and its variant or variants located elsewhere are not deleted.

When working in a Catalog on a Mac, images organized inside Albums are visible from Projects. Therefore, when you delete an image with one variant (or an image and all of its variants) from a Project, Capture One deletes the selected variant or variants from any of the Albums where they’re located within the Project.

Deleting images and variants from the Session Trash

When images and their variants are located inside the Session Trash, emptying the Trash will permanently delete your source images. As a safety feature, Capture One will by default open a dialog box to confirm deletion - it is recommended not to disable this warning dialog.

Warning! Deleting images from the Session Trash cannot be undone, images are not placed in the system trash and therefore cannot be retrieved later.

Images inside the Trash are read-only and cannot be edited (thumbnails are indicated by a small crossed-over pencil icon, and all the sliders and tools are disabled). Note this is intended to prevent the editing of images or their variants that are located in the Trash without the user being aware. Without this feature, editing images or variants in the Trash may result in wasted time if they’re inadvertently deleted later.

  1. Choose File > Empty Session Trash. Focus (i.e., pre-selection) on the Trash Collection is not required. (Note you can delete images and their variants individually from the Trash. Select the Trash Collection and then choose File > Delete (Variant)/Delete (From Disk) or press Cmd/Ctrl+backspace (Mac/Windows), or press X in the toolbar or cursor tool. 
  2. When deleting from the Session Trash a warning dialog opens asking you to confirm the action: 
    • To permanently delete the source images - click on Delete from Disk. Warning! Source image files are deleted immediately and can’t be undone. 
    • If you realize you’ve made a mistake before deleting, press Cancel, select the image from the Browser and drag the image and its variants back to the relevant Session- or System-Folder in the Library.

When images and their variants are located inside the Session Trash, emptying the Trash will permanently delete your source images.

Deleting images and variants from the Catalog Trash

As there maybe a mixture of images and variants in the Catalog Trash, when emptying it Capture One will identify the type available there and open the appropriate dialog, or series of dialogs, asking you to confirm your choice. It is recommended not to disable this warning option.

Warning! Deleting images from the Catalog Trash cannot be undone, images are not placed in the system trash and therefore cannot be retrieved later.

When emptying the Catalog Trash of variants that reference source images, you will be asked if you want to remove the variants from the Catalog or whether you want to delete the source images. Removing the variants from the Catalog (Remove from Catalog) will leave the source images in place wherever they’re located for future use. Deleting (Delete from Disk) immediately deletes the both the variants and source images and can’t be undone.

If there are variants referencing source images that are currently offline (i.e., source images residing on an unconnected external disk, or with a broken link on a local or external disk and indicated by a question mark (?)), only the variants will be removed from the Catalog. The source images will not be deleted.

When there are managed images in the Catalog Trash, Capture One treats the variants as the source images, therefore a dialog will open asking you to confirm their deletion. Note these images cannot be offline as they are stored inside the Catalog itself.

Images inside the Catalog Trash are read-only and cannot be edited (thumbnails are indicated by a small crossed-over pencil icon, and all the sliders and tools are disabled). Note this is intended to prevent the editing of images or their variants without the user being aware. Without this feature, editing images or variants in the Catalog Trash may result in wasted time if they’re inadvertently deleted later.       

  1. Choose File > Empty Catalog Trash. Focus (i.e., pre-selection) on the Trash Collection is not required. (Note you can delete individual images or variants from the Trash. Select the Trash Collection and then choose File > Delete (Variant)/Delete (From Disk) or press Cmd/Ctrl+backspace (Mac/Windows), or press X in the toolbar or cursor tool.)
  2. Capture One identifies the type of images in the the Trash and a dialog appears asking you to confirm the action for each type, choose from the following (where relevant):
    • To remove only the variant or variants from the Catalog (leaving the source image untouched in its current location) - click on the Remove from Catalog button.
    • When you want to permanently delete the source images - click on Delete from Disk. Warning! Source image files are deleted immediately and can’t be undone.
    • If you realize you’ve made a mistake before deleting, press Cancel, select the image from the Browser and drag the image and its variants back to any Catalog- or User-Collection.

As there maybe a mixture of images and variants in the Catalog Trash, when emptying it Capture One will identify the type available there and open athe appropriate dialog, or series of dialogs, asking you to confirm your choice. It is recommended not to disable this warning option.

Deleting images and variants immediately

Capture One allows you to delete source images and all their variants immediately from all Collections even Albums, bypassing both the Catalog/Session Trash and permanently deleting the images from the disk. This option is provided for users to delete unwanted source images as quickly as possible in their workflow.

Warning! This command cannot be undone. An image and its variants is considered a source image by Capture One, therefore, whether you are deleting an image with one variant, or all the variants of an image, you will also be deleting its source image.

To prevent the unnecessary moving of source images in a Session when the images are located on a different disk to the Session Trash, the Delete from Disk command should also be used instead of the Delete (Move to Session Trash)/Move to Session Trash commands. Moving source image files from one disk to another may take a long time to complete, especially if they’re located on a network.

Note the physical moving of referenced source images does not occur with the Delete (Move to Catalog Trash)/Move to Catalog Trash commands. However, you can still adopt the Delete from Disk command when working in a Catalog, should you need to. Also note if the source image file is not available (i.e., offline), for example it’s located on an unconnected external disk, then it will not be deleted.

  1. Select the image and its variant or variants in the Browser.    
  2. Choose File > Delete from Disk. A dialog appears asking to confirm the action.
  3. Click on the Delete from Disk button.
  4. Warning! This will result in the permanent deletion of your source images and their variants. This cannot be undone.

Capture One allows you to delete source images and their variants immediately, bypassing both the Catalog/Session Trash and permanently deleting the images from the disk.

Deleting offline images and variants

When a source image is not available to Capture One (e.g., typically when referenced in a Catalog and the source image is moved using the Finder or Explorer, or an external disk containing the source image is not connected), the variant in the browser displays a small question mark (?) icon in the lower right-hand corner of the thumbnail. In addition, the variant in the Viewer shows the same icon along with the warning Offline.

When deleting an image and its variant or variants referencing an offline source image, Capture One moves only the variant or variants to the Catalog Trash, pending emptying and permanent deletion. As the source image is not immediately accessible, it can’t be removed from the Trash and deleted until the drive is reconnected. 

Note when deleting specific variants of an image referencing an offline source image, only the selected variants are deleted from the Catalog, the source image and any other variants of that image are not deleted. In that context, the Delete (Move to Catalog Trash) command changes to Delete (Variant/s). 

  1. Select the image and its variant or variants in the browser, and then choose from one of the following options:
    • From the main menu, select File > Delete (Move to Catalog Trash).
    • Ctrl/right-click (Mac/Windows) and select Delete (Move to Catalog Trash) from the contextual menu.
    • Click on the Delete (X) icon in the main toolbar.
    • Click and drag an image to the Catalog Trash.
  2. The variant or variants of the image are moved to the Catalog Trash.
  3. If you select Empty Catalog Trash... A dialog opens asking you to Remove from Catalog (i.e., only the variant or variants are deleted), or Cancel
  4. If you reconnect the drive or the source image is located and select Empty Catalog Trash...  a warning dialog will open to ask you to confirm whether you want to Delete from Disk (i.e., delete the variant or variants and the source image), or Remove from Catalog (i.e., delete the variant or variants and leave the source image in its original location).    

When deleting an image and its variant or variants referencing an offline source image, Capture One moves only the variant or variants to the Catalog Trash, pending emptying and permanent deletion.

Restoring images and variants to their Collections

If you have moved an image and its variant or variants to the Catalog/Session Trash accidentally or otherwise, it’s easy to restore both the image and its variants by dragging them out. When there’s more than one variant of an image, you do not have to select them all. In Capture One, when moving one variant of an image all of the variants of that image are moved. 

When working in a Catalog or a Session, you’re not restricted in where they can be moved to (you can move them to any relevant Catalog/Session Collection, including an Album in a Catalog), though it is likely you will want to return them to their original location. In a typical Session, that is usually straightforward enough but, if you are unsure where the image or images were deleted from in a Catalog, which can be large and complex, it is best to drag them to the All Images Collection. 

  1. From the Library, select the image in the Catalog/Session Trash.
  2. Drag and drop the image in a relevant Catalog/Session Collection.
  3. The image and its variant or variants will be removed from the Catalog/Session Trash. 

If you have moved an image and its variant or variants to the Catalog/Session Trash accidentally or otherwise, it’s easy to restore both the image and its variants by dragging them out.

Verifying warnings when deleting

If you want to check that the warning dialogs for moving and deleting images from the Catalog/Session Trash or disk are enabled, they can be verified from the application preferences, go to Capture One > Preferences (Mac) or Edit > Preferences (Windows).

Note, it is generally not recommended to disable these dialogs, especially the Warn when deleting images from disk option. Images are deleted permanently, and cannot be recovered from the system trash.

Warnings regarding moving images to the Trash,  when moving images to the Session Trash from a different disk (i.e., external or network drive) and when deleting images from the disk can be verified from the application preferences.