Ansel is based on darktable 4.0 and configuration files of darktable 4.0.1 and prior can be seemlessly imported by Ansel, such that you recover your tags, styles, presets, and library of images.

Importing usual darktable configuration files

The configuration folder of darktable is located by default at :

  • ~/.config/darktable for Mac OS and Linux
  • C:\%LOCALAPPDATA%\darktable on Windows.

Ansel re-uses the same folder structure, where darktable is replaced by ansel. Since Ansel is based on darktable 4.0, you can import your darktable 4.0 and earlier configuration files by simply copying into /ansel configuration folder.


This works on Mac OS and Linux terminal : 

1$ cp -R ~/.config/darktable ~/.config/ansel
2$ mv ~/.config/ansel/darktablerc ~/.config/ansel/anselrc


If you are not comfortable with command lines or use Windows, use your file browser to copy-paste the following files from the darktable configuration folder to the Ansel’s one :

  • library.db,
  • data.db,
  • shortcutsrc,
  • darktablerc, which will need to be renamed anselrc after copying.
  • the color folder, if any, especially if some of your edits use custom-made ICC color profiles.

From there, you can continue to work just as before. Ansel can be installed alongside darktable.

Importing configuration files from Flatpak

Flatpak packages work on recent Linux distributions only and are a hacky way of dealing with outdated packages on distributions repositories, but they create many other problems in the process.

Flatpak run in sandboxes and don’t store their configuration files at the usual place but in ~/.var/app/org.darktable.Darktable/config/darktable, where ~/ is the current user home folder.

From this Flatpak configuration folder, you will need to import the files mentionned in the previous section into ~/.config/ansel. However, the current user will not be the owner of the copied files, which belong to the Flatpak user, and they are copied with their permissions retained. In practice, it means that the copied files will be read-only and Ansel will not be able to write into the database.

To fix the permissions, you have a console and a graphical method.


Run in terminal :

1$ cp -R ~/.var/app/org.darktable.Darktable/config/darktable ~/.config/ansel
2$ mv ~/.config/ansel/darktablerc ~/.config/ansel/anselrc
3$ chown -R USER:USER ~/.config/ansel # may need sudo
4$ chmod -R 644 ~/.config/ansel

where USER is your OS-wise username.


Use your file browser to navigate to ~/.config/. Since it is an hidden file (as the . prefix suggests), you may need to display hidden files first to find it (the typical shortcut is Ctrl + H).

Once in ~/.config/, right-click on the ansel folder and click on the Properties entry of the contextual menu, then on the Permissions tab. From there, set read and write permissions for the file owner and its group and check the option Apply to subfolders and their content.

Note that the graphical method does not allow you to change the file owner, which needs to be done in terminal with the command chown -R USER:USER ~/.config/ansel. If you don’t know how to do it, and if you are not the owner of the folder, set read and write permissions to Others too (which means all users of the system). This is a security threat if you are not the only user of the computer since it will allow anybody to access and write changes in the folder. It is ok if you are the only user of the computer or you trust the intents and the skills of the other users (at home).

Working with Ansel alongside darktable

darktable and Ansel can store the images editing histories in XMP sidecar files when the option is enabled. Since they both use the same XMP tags, the last application to have opened the image will overwrite its own history within the XMP. This is not a real issue for darktable 4.0 and Ansel 0.0 since their pixel pipelines are compatible, but the compatibility is broken between Ansel and darktable 4.2.

However, both applications load the editing histories first from their database. Then, if the look for updated xmp files on startup is enabled in the preferences, they can crawl the image folders to detect if the XMP edits are more recent than the database ones. In that case, they will prompt a window asking if the files should be synchronized and in which direction. Never synchronize from XMP to database if you use both applications on the same files.