13 Replies Latest reply on May 16, 2018 10:56 PM by Conrad C

    Navigating Folders in Lightroom

    edhopkins3 Level 1

      Why is it so difficult and awkward to navigate and find folders in Lightroom?  Can it be configured to behave more like Windows Explorer?  The only situation in which it's easy to navigate and locate folders is when importing pictures.  Any advice?

        • 1. Re: Navigating Folders in Lightroom
          richardplondon Level 4

          That is a little like asking, why does a phonebook not list everyone in the world, including people who do not have a phone number? The phonebook is a special-purpose book listing phone-numbers, each one with a person's name associated with it. So where there is no phone number, there is no entry in the book.


          Lightroom works by modifying internal LR information which was created when each image was imported. It can browse quickly and flexibly around the images in its library (even when the drive they are on, is not connected) because it already has them in its database index, plus an internally cached thumbnail preview. 


          If you habitually use LR rather than some other method, to copy images from the camera card into the computer in the first place - then LR will have already added them and this [difficulty] will not arise. Or if the images are already in the computer, then using the add option of LR import will cause them to appear there hereafter.


          The purpose of Lightroom's Folders panel is only to help you to use the pictures which you have imported. It is not a file browser.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Navigating Folders in Lightroom
            janelle_f Adobe Employee

            Managing the image library

            Lightroom has been designed to offer a flexible workflow that meets the requirements of all types of photographers. When you work with Lightroom, you begin by explicitly choosing the photos you would like to add to the catalog. From this point on, the way Lightroom manages those images is actually not that much different from working with any other type of browser program. Most browser programs are like glorified versions of the Mac Finder or Windows Explorer; they are mainly useful for inspecting the contents on a computer and allowing you to see everything that is on a drive or in a specific folder. The main difference with Lightroom is that you control which images are imported into Lightroom. Images can be imported from a camera card, directly from the camera (via the Tethered Capture panel), or by copying them from an existing folder. Or, you can tell Lightroom to add photos to the catalog by importing them from the current folder location. After images have been imported into the catalog, anything you do in Lightroom (such as changing a folder name or filename, deleting a file, or moving a file) are mirrored at the system level. When deleting, you have the option to remove the file from the catalog only or move the file to the trash for permanent deletion. Working with the Folders panel in Lightroom is, therefore, not dissimilar from working with a hierarchical folder list tree view in a browser program. But in Lightroom, the list tree in the Folders panel shows only those photos that you have requested to be in the catalog and nothing else. Of course, a hierarchical folder management is fine if you know in which folders your images are stored. But when you start working with many thousands of photographs, you’ll soon find this is no longer such a practical solution. Lightroom can store all your images in a neat hierarchy of folders, but its real power as an image asset manager comes in when you use the Filter bar features to search for images in the catalog. Once you get into the habit of entering descriptive keyword information each time you import new photos, you’ll be able to search your archive more easily and more quickly when browsing for specific photographs.


            take a look at this link further: http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1596000

            i find lightroom really more geared in structure towards photographers and the images.....


            • 3. Re: Navigating Folders in Lightroom
              edhopkins3 Level 1

              Thank you so much for taking the time to address this.  I really appreciate it.


              I think I was most likely unclear with my original posting.  Please allow me to try again.


              My normal workflow is to copy files from the flash card to the folder I want them in on the computer.  Then I import them into LR.  Based upon your phone book exemplar, I would think that this process would enter all the names and numbers into the "phone book" in question.  The problem I have is that, following the import, if I want to go to another folder in the catalog or library, it may or may not be visible and is often extremely difficult or impossible to locate in a reasonable time.  In other words, unless I am doing something bone-headed (a clear and distinct possibility) then somehow, importing the images does not always, or even usually, get the entries into the book, at least not in my case.  I have used LR since it's debut and am currently using LR4, and have had the same difficulty with all versions.


              I have never used keyword information and have no desire to so...in fact I very much want to avoid having to do that.  In my case, only casual snapshots would lend themselves to making good use of this feature.


              I just mean that, after importing a new set of images from a given folder, I find it very hard, in LR, to go back to images that are in folders that were imported previously.  In my case, life would be enormously simplified if LR could be made to browse EXACTLY like Windows Explorer.  I can, and do, use WE to locate the images I with which I want to work and it is, to me, very quick and dead simple, rarely taking more than a minute and often only seconds. The hard part comes when trying to navigate to the desired folder within LR.


              As to the "add" option when importing, that appears to be the default and I don't recall ever once changing it.


              Again, thank you for the reply.  Hopefully, I have managed to more clearly describe my problem this time.

              • 4. Re: Navigating Folders in Lightroom
                richardplondon Level 4

                Sorry that I misinterpreted your first post. Many people struggle with the idea that they cannot see folders and images that have not been imported - I can see now, that was not the issue here.


                If I understand you correctly, you are not seeing the imported images in the proper hierarchy (tree view) that reflects the way they are stored on disk? If you are just seeing a long list of unconnected individual folders representing a series of unrelated imports, then it can be helpful to right-click on one of these loose subfolders, and select "show parent folder".


                This will start to organise things better - since any other folders present in the listing which happen to live physically inside that same parent folder, will automatically move up or down the folders panel, into the proper location nested inside that. Then try the next parent level up, and so on. This is not actually moving any folders around; just causing LR to make a more systematic display of these.

                • 5. Re: Navigating Folders in Lightroom
                  Conrad C Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  When you look at the images in Lightroom, in the Folders panel, do they show up in the same folder hierarchy as Windows Explorer? If you're lost because they don't match Explorer, I can understand how that might happen. When you add folders one by one, each folder is listed at the top level of the Folders panel, even if those folders aren't at the same level on the disk. They end up next to each other, rather than in the same tree structure under the same parent folder (such as My Pictures) as in Windows Explorer. Lightroom does this to keep the focus on the photo folders you imported, not add the complexity of the entire disk's folder tree. But maybe you'd prefer to see everything and navigate it the same way as in Explorer.


                  If that sounds like the problem, one thing you can try is to right-click one of the folders in Lightroom and choose Show Parent Folder. This will add the next folder up in the hierarchy, and if you do that repeatedly, eventually you'll display the folder that contains them all. At that point, the folder hierarchy should look like it does in Windows Explorer.

                  • 6. Re: Navigating Folders in Lightroom
                    edhopkins3 Level 1

                    Thank you so much for taking the time to post this answer.  I very much appreciate it.  I'm afraid that I was not entirely clear in my original posting.  I am aware that LR supposedly has deep and sophisticated options for advanced handling of image cataloging.  I have not been able to think of any use I might have for such tools, so have made no effort use or learn about them.  I can imagine them being of use to me, personally, only in such cases as using keywords for simple family snapshots.  For serious work, my imagination falls flat when attempting to think of a way in which such tools would do anything other than complicate my life.


                    My problem is simply that, after images are imported (I first copy them from the flash drive card to the folder on the computer where I want them to be) then import the contents of that folder into LR using the default, add option.  After I have moved on to new images, then try to go back to previously imported images, they may, sometimes, be easily found, but far more often, they are extremely difficult or impossible to locate.  I can find them easily and very quickly in Windows Explorer, but the folders and their contents, in many instances, seem to simply have disappeared from LR and I cannot find them again.


                    I am not sure what's happening and I would be quick to believe that I'm causing the problem somehow...I just don't have a clue as to what I might be doing wrong.


                    It just seems to me that, after importing images into LR from a folder on the computer, you should be able to easily navigate to any of the folders previously imported.  For me, this is very seldom the case.


                    Thanks again for your answer.  Best regards.



                    • 7. Re: Navigating Folders in Lightroom
                      edhopkins3 Level 1

                      Thank you so much, Richard.  I cannot understand why, after decades of using computers, I NEVER seem to think of right-clicking anything until someone else suggests it.  I would still very likely have struggled further until I eventually stumbled upon the show parent directory part, but I just tried it and this is my answer.  It was never that I necessearily wanted to see the entire disk tree structure inside LR, but rather that I frequently, even usually, had great difficulty locating previously imported images and their respective folders.  I needed a way to cause LR to show me the tree when I needed to see it, and this does exactly what I need.  This answer solves what has been, at times, an extremely severe drawback to using LR.  Now, that drawback no longer exists.  I have tried to find this information for years!  Thank you very much for your help.  Best regards,


                      • 8. Re: Navigating Folders in Lightroom
                        edhopkins3 Level 1

                        Thank you so much, Conrad.  This is, in fact, the solution to my problem.  For reasons that escape me, and despite decades of using computers and having "right-click" be the solution, or the beginning of the solution to a problem, I NEVER seem to think to try it until someone specifically suggests it.  I also needed the "show parent directory" part of the equation, but I've tried it and this is the answer to my problem.  Thanks again and best regards,


                        • 9. Re: Navigating Folders in Lightroom
                          edhopkins3 Level 1

                          Thank you, Janelle.  The answer, it turns out, lies in right clicking on a directory that I can see, then left clicking on "show parent directory" and the mystery begins to rapidly clear.  I very much appreciate your help and the help I got from others on this.  The only extremely severe problem I've had with LR (so severe that I have repeatedly considered abandoning it altogether) now no longer exists.  Thanks again and best regards,


                          • 10. Re: Navigating Folders in Lightroom
                            Conrad C Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            Glad it takes care of the problem, Ed. I should have read Richard's post more closely before posting, then I would have seen that he had already given you the right solution!

                            • 11. Re: Navigating Folders in Lightroom
                              evan.fotis Level 1

                              The implementation of favorite folders is just incomplete compared to anything out there from the past 20 years.
                              Why can we not choose certain folders and have a favorites tab or view just favorite folders in the tree?
                              Even searching by name for favorites just doesn't work properly, that is narrowing down just the folder typed in the search box.
                              And Collections works only for files directly not for folders with sub-folders.

                              • 12. Re: Navigating Folders in Lightroom
                                WobertC Adobe Community Professional

                                Why can we not choose certain folders and have a favorites tab or view just favorite folders in the tree?

                                You can, I believe.  It is not a Tab, but two mouse clicks-

                                One on the 'Magnify' icon, Two on "Favorite Folders"

                                (Folders are added to the Favorite list by selecting and a Right-click to "Mark Favorite" )




                                And Collections works only for files directly not for folders with sub-folders.

                                Collections are not designed as "folders with sub-folders". They are not meant to be a 'mirror' of disk folder structure (what purpose would that serve?.

                                Collections are virtual lists of photos gathered for a special purpose (eg. Book, Slide-show, etc), but you can group Collections into a Collection Set (eg. a Set might contain- Selected Images, a Book of these Images, a Slideshow of these images)


                                And you have revived an 'old' thread

                                1 person found this helpful
                                • 13. Re: Navigating Folders in Lightroom
                                  Conrad C Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  evan.fotis  wrote

                                  Why can we not choose certain folders and have a favorites tab or view just favorite folders in the tree?

                                  If you have the Filmstrip open and you click the folder path at the top of the filmstrip, a menu appears that specifically lists favorite folders and collections. This menu has been in Lightroom for the last several versions, but it isn't easy to discover so you don't hear about it very much. But once I found it, I started using it all the time to go straight to favorite and recent sources.

                                  Lightroom favorites.jpg


                                  The menu can even remember if you had selected multiple folders or collections at once to see the combined images from those multiple sources, and you can favorite those combinations too. You can see some examples of those in the Recent Sources part of the menu.