How to Install Shotwell Photo Manager



Shotwell is the default photo manager for Ubuntu.
Its easy handling is adapted not to put off users preferring simplicity.

Designed for GNOME language Vala and available under GNU / Linux open source license (LGPL v2.1 ). Its development is currently very fast and its functionalities evolve very quickly, quickly making this page obsolete.

Its main functions are:

  • Import your photos or videos from a folder on your computer or from a camera.
  • The slide show (F5) displaying a series of photos separated by transitions effects (in English “slideshow”);
  • Organizing them by event or tag, managing hierarchical labels, multi-criteria search with ergonomics and efficiency, with the possibility of persistence of the labeling;
  • Modify them (rotation, cropping, automatic adjustment, red eyes, adjustments, straightening, …) reversibly;
  • Publish them online (on Flickr, Facebook, Picasa Web Albums, Youtube …).




Since official deposits

Shotwell is installed by default in Ubuntu. If this is the case, it is sufficient to install the package shotwell .

Since PPA

Installing a package out of official repositories can present a risk of instability for your system.

Stable version

The editor Shotwell offers a deposit on Launchpad which installs newer versions than those of the official repositories.

  • Add the PPP PPP: yorba / PPP 1) In your software sources;
  • Reload the package list ;
  • Install package shotwell .

Or in a terminal , enter the command follows:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa: yorba / ppa
 sudo  apt-get update 
sudo  apt-get install shotwell

Version under development

The yorba deposit is obsolete ; It is best to use the latest version repository!

You want to test the latest version and participate in its evolution:

  1. Add the PPP PPP: yorba / daily-builds 2) In your software sources;
  2. Reload the package list ;
  3. Install package shotwell .

Or in a terminal , enter the command follows:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa: yorba / daily-builds
 sudo  apt-get update 
sudo  apt-get install shotwell

May 23, 2016 – Version 0.23.1 Shotwell Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial :

sudo add-apt-repository ppa: yg-jensge / shotwell
 sudo apt update &&  sudo apt install shotwell

How to use Shotwell


Start the application from the dashboard of Unity. Shotwell is located in the “Graphics” once “filter results” of the magnifying glass “application”.
(For classic menus: Applications → Graphics → Shotwell Photo Manager .)

Or in a terminal (all versions of Ubuntu), enter the command as follows:

You can also run Shotwell since Eye of Gnome (the viewer default Ubuntu) from the “button Edit Image “. 3)
Conduct and provides direct access to additional features such as red-eye removal or adjustments.

A detailed manual (in English) is available Aid Shotwell but Shotwell wants to be very intuitive and functions are easily accessible in the interface.

Changes made to the photographs by the application are not applied to the originals.
Shotwell saves these changes in its database and applies them “on the fly” the next time you look at the photo.
If you want to see the original version, just press the ‘Shift’ key.

Parameters: writing metadata

Shotwell offers a very important option: the ability to write the metadata in the files of the pictures.

What is it about?
In a basic operation of this type of software, any information or comments you can associate with a photo (attendance, type of event, location, tags, …) available in Shotwell
with <Ctrl> + <T> or < F3>, are written to a file (a database) specific to the software.

The day you switch software, there is a significant risk that the new software will be unable to import the data of its competitor, especially if you change operating system.

All this patiently entered information is then lost.
If you chose to write your data in the files, the new software will be able to retrieve this information at the same time it will import your photo library.
On the other hand, if you give or publish your photos directly, this information will also be accessible!

To select this option, go to the Preferences menu Edition , and check the box “Add labels, names and other metadata in photos Files”

Support for “RAW” images in Shotwell

Shotwell has support for images, RAW to import and organization (with a torque management RAW + JPEG, when it is produced by the camera). You can select aRAW Developer specialized to which we can send the desired shots.

These functions, however, suffer from many small problems which were partially corrected with version 0.14.

Shotwell Database

The database Shotwell is in the hidden folder on each user’s personal file: ~/.local/share/shotwell.

Resizing Images

To resize images, simply go to the menu: File → Export.

Known Issues

Problem with importing photos

If the following message appears:


“[The] photo was not imported because the folder in the photo library is not writable:”

Shotwell Error Message


this can be a legal problem on Shotwell cache folder, in this case click OK and type the command follows:

 chmod  755 ~ / .cache / shotwell

And re-perform the import.

Thumbnails do not match the photos

In the main window of Shotwell you can see the ” miniatures ” of your photos by date or event.
Under certain circumstances, when you click on these thumbnails, these are other photos that appear as the one represented by the thumbnails.

There is probably a corruption of the thumbnail database.
Simply delete the folder of these thumbnails and Shotwell will create them again correctly. This can be a bit long depending on the number of your photos and your machine.

To find this file,

  • View your personal file;
  • Press the <Ctrl> + <H> [Hide] keys to display the hidden folders;
  • browse to go in .cache/shotwell/and delete the folder thumbs.

Error during an update from Shotwell 0.18

If, when switching from Shotwell 0.18 to a higher version available in the PPA, you get an error of the type:



Unpacking shotwell (0.20.2-1 ~ trusty1) …
dpkg: error processing archive /var/cache/apt/archives/shotwell_0.20.2-1~trusty1_amd64.deb (-unpack)
attempt to replace “/ usr / share /GConf/gsettings/shotwell.convert “which is also in package shotwell 0.18.0-0ubuntu4.3-common
dpkg-deb: error: subprocess paste killed by signal (Broken relay (pipe))
Treatment triggered to gconf2 (3.2.6-0ubuntu2) …
errors were encountered while processing:
E: Sub-process / usr / bin / dpkg Returned an error code (1)

Shotwell Error Message


Remove the package shotwell-common before reinstalling the package shotwell .


To remove this application, simply remove the package. Depending on the method chosen, the global configuration of the application is retained or deleted. System logs and user preference files in their personal folders are always retained.

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