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Learning to Love the Lightroom Library Module!

TipSquirrel is delighted to welcome back Lightroom ACE Ashu Mittal

If you are like me and having to import, sort and organize photos feels like a pain that you have to endure before you get to the real stuff – developing and publishing – well then, this post is just for you. Since there is no denying the importance and necessity of sorting and organizing your photos, let me try and make it a little easier for you!

This post is basically about my favorite shortcuts and tricks that make working inside the Library module of Lightroom much more efficient and quick. I have organized the tips into two different sections: Browsing and Sorting/Organizing.

Browse like a Pro:

You can use G to access Grid view and E to switch to Loupe view inside the Library module (these shortcuts do work irrespective of your current module). Also note that live preview (as shown below) is only available when you hover over the photos in the film-strip or via the folder structure in the left panel. There is no live preview available when you hover over photos in Grid view.


In Library Grid view mode – use J key to toggle between expanded/compact views of the thumbnails. The expanded view shows additional info like File Name, Dimensions, Index Number etc. and can be customized by right-clicking on the gray area around the thumbnail and choosing the desired attributes:


In Library Loupe view mode – use I key to see information regarding the photo. This info can again be customized by going to View > View Options and choosing the options in Loupe Info 1 and Loupe Info 2.


Use ALT key to view or change Sharpening and Saturation instead of Clarity and Vibrance that appear by default in the Quick Develop section of Library module:


Use Ctrl+F to quickly bring up search by text field in Library module!


Bonus tip: In Library as well as other modules, pressing Ctrl + 0 (or 1, 2, 3, 4) toggles the panels in right side menu (Histogram, Quick Develop and so on).

Sort and Organize Photos Faster:

I’m sure most of you use the basic rating and labeling shortcuts already but if you don’t, here is what you must try using next time:

a.1 to 5 for rating the images (where 1=1 star and so on)

b.0 to remove the stars

c.6-9 for color labels (6=Red and so on)

d.P to flag as Pick

e.U to Unflag or Unpick and

f.X to mark an image as Reject

Phew! These may seem like a lot to begin with, but the shortcuts are all extremely logical and you’ll keep getting better and better as you use them regularly.

This tip is one of my favorites! While adding flags, stars or labels you can auto-advance through the images (yes!) and to do so – either leave the Caps Lock on or keep the Shift key pressed. This will speed up your sorting process considerably.

Here’s one more secret weapon for quickly zeroing-in on your best shots and it’s the Refine Photos command! Go to Library > Refine Photos and this basically results in unflagged photos to be flagged as rejected, and picked photos to be unflagged for further review. Also, you can automatically delete Rejected images by using Ctrl + Delete or going to Photo > Delete Rejected Images.


At times you may want to segregate some images in a “container” so that you can revisit all of them together. That’s when the Quick Collection comes handy! And what’s more, there are many ways to add an image to a Quick Collection – you can drag and drop images to the Quick Collection in the left panel, press B to add the active photo to the Quick Collection or just click on the gray-circle at the top right of the image thumbnail.

RS_Quick collection

Finally, to quickly rename images, hit the F2 key!

Now I know that there is one more very important section in the Library module and it’s the Keywording panel. But since that has a lot of nuances and tricks of its own, I am going to save it for a future post.

Till then, remember Rule #5 – Enjoy!

2 Comments on Learning to Love the Lightroom Library Module!

  1. SHAZnyc // 21/01/2010 at 5:32 pm //

    Very useful information, thank you.

  2. SHAZnyc // 21/01/2010 at 5:32 pm //

    Very useful information, thank you.

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