‘Keywording’ and ‘Keyword Lists’ are both useful right-side panels that help with image organization and filtering. As long as your keywords are concise and relevant keywording is great way to organize your images. In this tutorial, we will show you six tips for using keywords in Lightroom.


Watch the Video Tutorial

The following video is from the SLR Lounge Lightroom 4 A to Z Workshop on DVD, a 14-hour workshop covering everything Lightroom from file management to advanced artistic processing techniques. The video shown below explains the different settings available in the Library View Options.

Six Tips For Keywording

Note: In a previous tutorial about setting user preferences, we mentioned to select “auto-fill” keywords in the ‘Metadata’ tab. This selection makes things go a lot quicker when keywording because there is no need to type in keywords completely that have previously been used; they will appear automatically as soon as you type the first letter or two.

1. Create a keyword set

If you are working with just a few keywords, we recommend creating a keyword set. A keyword set is simply a group of keywords that you can customize for the keywords you most often use. When a set is created and selected, all you have to do is look at the right side panel and when the choice image is selected, simply click the keyword you want to apply to that image.


Then, select “edit set” within the keyword set options.


Lightroom will then allow you to type in up to nine different keywords.


2. Applying keywords to multiple images at once

Simply select all wanted images, then click on a keyword. You may choose from the suggestions, keyword list, or create a customizable set if you use certain keywords frequently.


Importantly, you don’t have to waste time entering in the same keywords over and over again.

3. Keyword lists to apply or remove keywords

The ‘Keyword List’ panel shows all the keywords that have at one point been used in your catalog. The numbers on the right column represents the number of images with that keyword applied. When you select an image, you can select a keyword from the list and “check” the keyword to apply it to your image as shown below.


If there is already a check mark next to the keyword, that keyword has already been previously applied. You can remove the keyword by removing the check mark.

4. Quickly filter via keyword

If you click the number directly within the keyword list, it acts as a filter to pull up only images with that keyword applied. This way you can use keywords as filters where only the specified keyword images will appear.



5. Use keywords to export images to a separate catalog

If a keyword has been used so often that it deserves its own catalog, it is really easy to do. First, make your selection of images based on a keyword in the keyword list, and then simply right-click on that keyword and select the option “Export photos as catalog” as shown below.


6. How to delete all keywords

First, select all of your images by hitting CTRL+A (CMD+A on OSX). In the ‘Keywords’ panel, select all the keywords and hit delete as shown in the image below.


Make sure you push “Enter” after deleting the keywords to accept the deletion. If done correctly, your Keyword List should show 0’s next to all of the keywords as shown below.


Now, since all of the keywords are unused, we can use the “Purge Unused Keywords” option in the menu to delete all unused keywords as shown below.


Again, this function only deletes what is unused, which is why we had to first remove all the keywords applied to each image.


At this point you should have a good understanding of some of the ways to use keywords in image organization. Keywords keep images categorized by topic, content matter, or anything you want since they are completely customizable. If you use them right, you will save a lot of time that you would have otherwise spent searching through hundreds of images.

In our next Lightroom 4 A to Z DVD tutorial, we will be covering metadata and syncing in Lightroom.
If you are interested in purchasing the Lightroom 4 A to Z DVD, it can be purchased for $99 in the SLR Lounge Store.

Purchase the Lightroom 4 A-Z DVD Guide

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– 130 Video Tutorials and nearly 14 hours of content!
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