CQ Digital Asset Management

You are reading the AEM 5.6.1 version of CQ Digital Asset Management.
This version has reached End of core support. For further details see our technical support periods.
This documentation is also available for the following versions:  AEM 6.2  AEM 6.1  AEM 6.0  AEM 5.6  CQ 5.5  CQ 5.4 

CQ DAM (Digital Asset Management) is a digital asset management tool that is fully integrated with the CQ platform and enables your enterprise to share and distribute digital assets. Users across an organization can manage, store, and access images, videos, documents, audio clips, and rich media such as Flash files for use on the web, in print, and for digital distribution.

Getting Started

This CQ DAM documentation describes how to use and extend CQ DAM. Depending on your existing knowledge, start with the following topics.

If you are new to Digital Asset Management ...

Start with the following topics:

If you have worked with Digital Asset Management Systems before ...

The following topics may be of interest to you:

DAM features and user types

When working with CQ DAM, the type of user you are determines what features you will need:

Type of User  Relevant DAM features
DAM power user/administrator CQ DAM Administration and Asset Editor 
WCM author Content Finder, Website console, Asset Dialog
Other DAM users Specialized DAM finders 

What is Digital Asset Management?

Communiqué Digital Asset Management (CQ DAM) provides enterprise-wide sharing and distribution of an organization’s key digital assets. Users across an organization can store, manage, and access digital assets such as images, graphics, audio, video, and documents through a Web interface (or a CIFS or WebDAV folder).

Completely integrated into CQ, CQ DAM lets you do the following:

  • Add and share images, documents, audio files, and video files in a variety of file formats.
  • Manage assets by grouping them by tags, lightboxes, or stars (your favorites). Add annotations to assets.
  • Find assets by searching file names, the full text of documents, and by searching dates, document type, and tags. 
  • Add or edit metadata information for assets. Metadata is automatically versioned together with the corresponding asset. You can import or export asset metadata. 
  • Perform image editing functions such as scaling and adding image filters. Import and export multiple digital assets simultaneously using a WebDAV or CIFS folder. 
  • Use workflows and notifications to allow joint processing and downloading of any set of assets and manage access rights to assets.

CQ DAM fully integrated in CQ WCM

CQ DAM is fully integrated with CQ WCM and functionality is available using the DAM icon:


Assets managed within CQ DAM can then be accessed via the content finder of WCM:



The basic GUI handling is the same as the rest of WCM - see Overview of the GUI Console for full details.

Digital Asset Management versus Image Component

When determining whether to put an image into CQ DAM or use CQ's image component, consider the image lifecycle:

  • If the image has the same lifecycle as the page, use the Image Component.
  • If the image has a separate life cycle, for example, if you use the image twice or outside WCM, use CQ DAM.

What are Digital Assets?

An asset is a digital document, image, video, or audio (or part thereof) that can have multiple renditions and can have sub-assets (for example, layers in a photoshop file, slides in a powerpoint file, pages in a pdf, files in a ZIP).

An asset is essentially a binary plus metadata plus renditions plus sub-assets. See the DAM Performance Guide for detailed information.


Uploading and/or editing a large volume of assets (particularly images) can impact the performance of your CQ instance.

CQ DAM Terminology

When working with digital assets in CQ, you need to understand the following terminology:


A collection of assets, either based on physical location (folder), common properties (saved search folder), or user selection (lightbox folders).


Assets have metadata; for example, author, expiry date, DRM Information (Digital Rights Management), and so on. Metadata is under access control. CQ DAM supports the following various common metadata schemata out of the box:

  • Dublin Core: including author, description, date, subject, and so on.

  • IPTC: including event, model, location, and so on.

  • WCM: including page properties, on- and offtimes, and so on.


Assets can be tagged and classified. See Tagging Administration.


A rendition is the binary representation of an asset. Assets always have a primary representation - that of the uploaded file. They can have any number of additional representations that are created, for example by customized workflow steps or when an asset is uploaded. Renditions may be of a different size, with a different resolution, with an added watermark, or some other changed characteristic.


Versioning creates a snapshot of digital assets at a specific point in time. You can restore assets to previous versions. See Versioning in CQ DAM.


Sub-assets are assets that make up an asset, for example, layers in an Adobe Photoshop file or pages in a PDF file. In CQ DAM, you can manage sub-assets as you would assets.

How to Work With Assets

You perform an action on an asset or collection. Actions can create or modify assets, collections, and renditions. Many of the basic actions you perform on assets - upload, delete, update, save sub-assets - trigger preconfigured workflows. These are automatically turned on in CQ DAM and are described in detail in DAM media handlers.

The tasks you can perform with these preconfigured workflows: 

  • save the asset in, or delete the asset from, the repository.
  • extract, and save, metadata for the asset; the individual metadata items are saved as XMP.
  • generate renditions and thumbnails for the asset; including automatic resizing and cropping where necessary.
  • transcode the asset where necessary. For example, video for mobile and web usage is transcoded with 24 frames per second, download video with 30 frames per second. Audio for mobile and web usage is transcoded with 128 kbps, audio for download with 192 kbps.

Of course, you can apply workflows manually as well. See DAM Media Handlers for a list of default workflows.

How to access renditions through servlets

How to use web renditions

How to Apply Workflows to Digital Assets

Applying workflows to digital assets is the same as for website pages. For a complete guide on how to create and work with workflows in CQ, see Starting Workflows.

Use workflows in digital assets to for example activate the asset (necessary in order for it to be viewed) or create watermarks. Many of the workflows for assets are automatically turned on; for example, automatically creating a rendition after editing an image.

To apply a workflow to a DAM asset:

  1. Select the DAM asset (either by navigating to it in the DAM Admin, the WCM admin, or in a DAM Finder page (such as the Geometrixx Press Center).

  2. If in the DAM admin or WCM admin, select workflow from the menu or right-click and select workflow. If in a DAM Finder page, select Workflow from the sidekick.

  3. Select the desired workflow. CQ DAM goes to the next step in the workflow. See Starting Workflows for how to participate in a workflow.

Managing Digital Assets

You manage digital assets in the Digital Asset Manager, which is accessible by clicking the digital assets icon on the CQ Welcome page:


Or when working in CQ you can click the camera icon to open the Digital Asset Manager (DAM) console:


After you upload assets, you can perform the following functions:

  • Create folders to organize assets better.
  • Edit assets, including asset metadata.
  • Upload thumbnails.
  • See what pages reference an asset.
  • Create a version that you can restore your asset to at a later time.
  • View sub assets


To override a binary, upload another file with the same name in to the CQ DAM administrator. Please note that if you upload the same asset via Drag Drop in the same folder , metadata fields in asset metadata will be overwritten with the metadata extracted from the new binary.If a particular metadata field does not exist in binary, then its older value in DAM will be retained.
Please note that if a metadata field was multi-valued property, then its older value will not be overwritten (in case it also exists in new binary) but will be appended.

Organizing Digital Assets

All digital assets, metadata and content of Microsoft Office and PDF documents are extracted and made searchable. Search allows sophisticated filtering on assets and fully respects the proper permissions. Metadata is covered in detail in Metadata in Digital Asset Management.

CQ5 DAM supports multiple ways of organizing content. You can organize them in a hierarchical manner using folders or you can organize them in an unordered, adhoc manner, using for example tags. Users can edit tags in the DAM Asset Editor where sub-assets, renditions, and metadata are displayed.

Creating Folders

When organizing a collection of assets, for example, all Nature images, you can create folders to keep them together. This is purely organizational.

To create a new folder:

  1. Navigate to the place in your digital assets folder that you want to create a new folder.

  2. In the menu, click the arrow by New... then select New Folder....

  3. In the Title field, type the name of the folder. By default, CQ DAM uses the title you type as the name. You can specify another name (the name is what appears in the Websites tab list).

  4. Click Create. Your folder appears in the digital assets folder.


Adding CUG properties to folders

You can limit who can access certain folders in CQ DAM by making the folder part of a closed user group (CUG). To make a folder part of a CUG:

  1. In CQ DAM, right-click the folder you want to add closed user group properties for and select Properties.

  2. Click the CUG tab.

  3. Select the Enabled check box to make the folder and its assets available only to a closed user group.

  4. Browse to the login page, if there is one, to add that information. Add admitted groups by clicking Add item. If necessary, add the realm. Click OK to save your changes.

Using Tags to Organize Assets

You can use folders or tags or both to organize assets. Adding tags to assets makes them more easy to retrieve during a search. See Tagging for more information on tagging.

To add tags to an asset:

  1. In the Digital Asset Manager, double-click the asset to open it.

  2. In the Tags area, click the drop-down button to reveal the available tags. Select tags as appropriate to add a tag. To delete a tag, hover the mouse over the tag and click the x to delete it.

  3. Click Save to save any tags you added.


Searching for Assets

You can search for assets in the digital asset manager by keyword, tag, file type, date, and path. To access searching in the digital asset manager, click the Search tab in the digital asset manager. 


The following provides information on the search capabilities:

Fulltext Searches the titles of the assets for the keywords you enter.
Path Limits the search to the path you select. Select the Do not search in sub folders check box to search only in the selected folder.
Modified after/before Limits the search to the dates you select.
Filter inactive assets Filters assets that are not active currently, based on the asset's on time and off time bracket.
File Types Limits the search to the file types you select. Click the arrow next to the file type to select sub types.
Tags Limits the search to the tags you select. Click the arrow next to the tag to select any sub tags.

You can also customize the search capabilities for assets by using an overlay.

Editing Assets

You edit assets (or sub-assets) in a window called the Asset Editor, which you access by doing one of the following:

  • Right-clicking an asset and clicking Open.
  • Double-clicking an asset.

You can perform the following on an asset:

  • edit metadata
  • edit tags
  • create and restore versions of assets
  • download an asset
  • publish an asset to Scene7
  • upload a thumbnail for asset types that do not support thumbnail creation

In addition, the Asset Editor provides access to the following:

  • any sub-assets, such as pages in a PDF
  • all renditions of the selected asset
  • reference information on what web pages an asset is used

It also provides a quick way to return to the DAM admin. Click Digital Assets in the top left corner to return to the admin page. Any other assets you have opened are also available by clicking the appropriate tab.



All of the actions that you perform on assets, you can perform on sub-assets as well. To select a sub-asset, click the appropriate sub-asset in the right pane of the Asset Editor to open it.

Editing Images

Images uploaded to the repository can be resized, scaled, cropped, rotated, watermarked, thumbnailed or processed in any other form, because of the integrated graphics engine.

There are two types of editing in CQ DAM: 

  • Interactive editing includes everything in the image editor, such as resizing, scaling, and cropping.
  • Non-interactive editing uses a workflow process of images to generate new renditions. For example, you could create a watermark by using this kind of workflow.

This section covers interactive editing in the Image editor.

  1. Right-click an asset and select Open or double-click the asset to open the Asset Editor.

  2. If the asset supports interactive editing, Edit appears at the bottom of the left pane. Click Edit. The Edit menu opens.

  3. You can perform any of the following functions:

    Crop Click Crop to display the crop marks. Move the crop marks in or out to crop the image as desired.
    Rotate Click Rotate to move the image clockwise. Click Rotate again to rotate it again, and so on.
    Resize  Move the Zoom lever to the right to make the image larger. Move the lever to the left to make the image smaller.
  4.  After you make changes, click OK. A rendition of the change appears in the Renditions tab. Scroll to see all the renditions.

Uploading Thumbnails

Most file formats support automatic thumbnail extraction. However, for some file formats, for example Flash animations (swf files), you need to create a thumbnail manually and upload it. CQ DAM lets you upload a thumbnail. You can also use this functionality to overwrite existing thumbnails. 

To upload a thumbnail:

  1. Right-click an asset and select Open or double-click the asset to open the Asset Editor.

  2. On the right side of the screen, be sure the Renditions tab is selected.

  3. Click Thumbnail. The Upload Thumbnail window opens.

  4. Browse to the file and click OK to upload the thumbnail.

Viewing References to Assets

To view what pages include reference to a particular asset:

  1. Right-click an asset and select Open or double-click the asset to open the Asset Editor.

  2. On the right side of the screen, click the References tab to see a list of references for the asset.


Editing Asset Metadata

Metadata is additional information about the asset that can be searched. It is automatically extracted when you upload an image. You can edit the existing metadata or add new metadata properties to existing fields (for example, when a metadata field is blank).

Because companies need controlled and reliable metadata vocabularies, CQ DAM does not allow for adhoc adding of new metadata properties. Although authors cannot add new metadata fields for assets, developers can. See Creating New Metadata Property for Assets.

Editing metadata for an asset

To edit metadata:

  1. Right-click an asset and select Open or double-click an asset to open it. The Asset Editor opens displaying all of the asset's metadata. This metadata was automatically extracted when it was uploaded (ingested) into CQ DAM.

  2. Make edits to the metadata, as needed, and when completed, click Save at the bottom of the screen to save your changes. You can also click Reset to reset them to the original values.


    If a text field is empty, there is no existing metadata set. You can enter a value into the field and save it to add that metadata property.

Any changes to the metadata of an asset are written back to the original binary as part of its XMP data. This is done via CQ's Metadata write-back workflow. Changes made to the existing properties (such as dc:title) are overwritten and newly created properties (including custom properties like cq:tags) are added together with the schema.

XMP write-back is supported and enabled for the following platforms and file formats:

Operating Systems

  • Linux (Works out of the box on 32bit systems. Needs 32bit application support on 64bit systems)
  • Windows Server (Supports 32bit and 64bit Architecture)
  • Mac OS X

File Formats

  • JPEG
  • PNG
  • TIFF
  • PDF
  • INDD


To enable XMP writeback in PSD and AI files, add their mimetypes to the NCommXMPHandler configuration under /system/console/configMgr. 

Creating New Metadata Property for Assets


Custom namespaces (like myCompany for metadata myCompany:description) must be registered in the repository/CRX. Otherwise, saving the metadata form results in an error.

You can make new metadata properties available for all assets by configuring the metadata dialog box.

Currently, metadata folders reside in /libs/dam/content/asseteditors/ and are organized as follows:

  • Format-specific metadata reside at the path image/format/formitems.xml: for example, image/jpeg/formitems.xml, which is used for all jpegs.
  • Metadata for images that do not have a more specific metadata editor reside in image/formitems.xml.

This setup lets site owners better control their metadata vocabularies.


DAM metadata support namespaces (such as Dublin Core). When creating a new metadata property, each property requires a namespace, for example, dc:language, dc:title, or dc:description. These namespaces are added to the appropriate metadata file to create a new property.

To configure a new metadata property so that it is available for any assets that have not been explicitly configured otherwise:

  1. Create /apps/dam/content/asseteditors/formitems (copy the form from /libs/dam/content/asseteditors/formitems).
  2. Add a new control and set the name to ./namespace:property e.g, ./dam:Example.
  3. Save your changes. After saving, all CQ DAM users can view and edit this property.


Custom namespaces (like myCompany for metadata myCompany:description) must be registered in the repository/CRX. Otherwise, saving the metadata form results in an error.

Deleting Assets

Delete an asset to remove it from the repository. The Published state of the asset affects the results of the delete command:

  • If the asset is not activated (or deactivated), the asset is deleted on both the author and the publish instance.
  • If the asset is activated, the asset is deleted on the author instance and remains on the publish instance. 

To delete assets:

  1. Select an asset or multiple assets by pressing Shift+click or Control+click. 

  2. Select Delete. CQ DAM asks you to confirm the action.

  3. Click Yes to delete the asset, or No to abort the action.

Copying and Pasting Assets

You copy and paste assets as you would pages in CQ. To copy an asset and then paste it into another location:

  1. Select an asset, then select Copy to copy it to the internal clipboard.
  2. Select the location, then select Paste from the menu to paste the asset.


If the original (or another file with the same name) exists in this target folder, then 1 is appended to the file suffix, for example IMG_0001.gif becomes IMG_0001.gif1.

Moving (or Renaming) Assets

The procedure for renaming and moving an asset are the same. You can perform both at the same time or perform these tasks independently.

To move and/or rename an asset:

  1. Select an asset.

  2. In the menu, select Move. The Move dialog opens.


    The list shows references to the asset.

  3. In the to field, navigate to or enter the target location. Click the drop-down arrow to navigate to the correct location.

  4. If you want to rename an asset, in the Rename to field, enter a new name for the asset.

  5. If you want CQ DAM to adjust references, so that the original assets points to the new name and/or location, make sure the checkboxes are selected.


    If asset is moved and the reference adjusted then the appropriate page on author will be shown as modified.

    The appropriate privileges are needed for replication.

  6. Click Move to move or rename the asset.

Activating and Deactivating Assets

CQ does not allow you to use assets on publish that are not activated. You need to activate assets to make them available on publish.

To activate or deactivate an asset:

  1. Select an asset or multiple assets.
  2. Select Activate or Activate later to activate an asset. Select Deactivate or Deactivate Later to deactivate an asset. Activating or deactivating an asset later lets you schedule the action for a specific date and time and click OK. CQ DAM indicates that the asset has been activated or deactivated.

Packaging Assets

Using the Package Manager to package content is covered in detail in the Package Manager documentation. However, when packaging digital assets or installing digital asset packages, there are some important notes:

  • When packaging digital assets, be sure to use the correct filter definition to ensure all digital assets are included.
  • Before installing a digital asset package, you need to deactivate an OSGi component (and then reactivate it before using CQ).

To create a new package of digital assets:

  1. On the CQ5 Welcome screen, click Packages.

  2. Click Create Package.

  3. Enter the name of your new package and the group (folder) you would like it to belong to and click OK.

  4. Click Edit to open the package and define it.

  5. Add a filter definition and enter the path /content/dam to include all digital assets and click OK

  6. You can make additional edits to the package. When ready, you can build the package to be installed on an instance. See Creating New Packages for more information.

To install a package of digital assets:

  1. Navigate to the OSGi console at <server>:<port>/system/console/components and deactivate the WorkflowLauncher  (com.day.cq.workflow.launcher.impl.WorkflowLauncherImpl.)


    Deactivating the WorkflowLauncher ensures that the CQ DAM importer framework does not unintentionally manipulate the assets upon installation.

  2. In CQ DAM, navigate to the package you want to install.

  3. Click Install. CQ installs the package on the instance.

  4. When installation is complete, reactivate the WorkflowLauncher in the OSGi console.

DAM Health Checker


The DAM Health Checker is no longer needed in normal CQ DAM operations.

It may sometimes be needed when using other applications such as Sharepoint. If using note the following:

  • You may get false error readings.
  • Do not use the Synchronize or Delete functions.

Do not use the DAM Health Checker for normal CQ DAM operations. For normal CQ operations, synchronizing between /var/dam and /content/dam is no longer necessary.

When you upload digital assets a workflow is started to perform several tasks, including synchronizing the binaries and resulting assets between /var/dam and /content/dam. These two directories should always be synchronized, but occasionally differences can occur.


The DAM Health Checker is provided to:

  • List assets that exist in /var/dam, but not in /content/dam.
  • List binaries that exist in /content/dam, but not in /var/dam.
  • Allow you to synchronize items.
  • Allow you to delete unwanted items.


Metadata is not compared.

To open and use the DAM Health Checker:

  1. Open the Tools console.

  2. Expand DAM in the left hand pane.

  3. Double-click on Health Checker to open the page:

  4. Click either:

    • Check Assets
      To check whether every folder and file under /var/dam has a corresponding entry in /content/dam (only the existence is checked, the metadata is not compared).
      For example, when entries are missing:


    In the example above the assets have been manually deleted so DAM already (and still) has information related to their original processing.

    • Check Binaries
      To check whether every folder and file under /content/dam has a corresponding entry in /var/dam.
      For example, when entries are missing:


    In the above example the folder containing the individual files is also missing, the status message reflects this.

  5. Depending on your requirements you can now click either:

    • Synchronize
      To recreate the missing entries.
    • Delete
      To delete the existing entries.

    The appropriate workflows will also be triggered and restarted.

CQ DAM vs. CQ MediaLibrary

Some products, like Day Software's Communiqué, have such smooth integration between WCM and DAM offerings that it's hard to tell where one begins and the other one ends.

                                                                                          — Kas Thomas, The Coming Acronym Crisis

CQ DAM is an integral part of the CQ platform. This smooth integration is seen as a major advantage of CQ and ensures consistency in content management and high productivity for content authors.

Frequently asked questions

What is Digital Asset Management?

CQ Digital Asset Management is an application on the CQ Platform that allows our customers to manage their digital assets (images, videos, documents and audio clips) in a web-based repository. CQ Digital Asset Management includes Metadata-support, Renditions, the Digital Asset Management Finder and the Digital Asset Management Administration UI.

What is the CQ Media Library?

The CQ Media Library is a designated part of the CQ WCM content repository where images and other shared resources are stored. The Media Library uses the Digital Asset Management capabilities of CQ WCM without being a full-blown Digital Asset Management system.

What do I get from CQ DAM that is not part of CQ WCM?

Unique features that are only available to customers of CQ DAM are:

  1. the ability to extract and edit metadata other than title, tags and description.
  2. the DAM Admin, available from the welcome screen by clicking the second button next to the siteadmin
  3. the Geometrixx Asset Share example DAM finder
  4. All components being used in the Geometrixx Asset Share - namely: Query Builder, Category Predicate, Date Predicate, Generic Predicate, Lens Deck, Mosaic Lens, List Lens, iFrame Lens and all Asset-related actions
  5. All workflow steps related to Digital Asset Management, namely DAM Ingestion, DAM Deletion, DAM Sub-Asset-Handling, DAM metadata extraction
  6. libraries including "dam" im package space

Using these features requires a valid license of CQ DAM.

Is CQ DAM available as a separate Package?

No. To ease installation and deployment, all CQ Applications and add-ons are delivered in one single package with all functionality included. This does not imply that you have permission to use all features in the package.

I want to edit metadata of digital assets. Do I need DAM?

If you are planning to edit metadata other than title, description and tags, it is required to license DAM.

I want to use the category predicate on my website. Do I need DAM?

Yes, the category predicate, together with all other components used in Geometrixx Press Center are part of DAM and require a DAM license.

I want to automatically resize images upon import. Do I need DAM?

Yes. Image resizing and automatic workflow-driven transformation as well as the ability to manage renditions is part of CQ DAM and requires a DAM license.

I want to resize images using a customized image component. Do I need DAM?

The image component is part of CQ WCM. The graphics library that is being used by the image component (but also by CQ DAM) is part of CQ platform and does not require a CQ DAM license.

How can I prevent my users from using DAM if I did not license DAM?

You can remove all DAM-specific workflows, components, taxonomies, options and the DAM admin from CQ. This will prevent your users from accidentially using CQ DAM features that you did not license. Day is providing a package in the CQ package share to accomplish that.

I want to add images to a page and want to crop and resize these images. Do I need DAM?

For this use case it is not required to buy CQ DAM, even the use of the Media Library is not required to use images on a website as the smart image component allows uploading images directly into the page.