Learn More About the Lightroom 4 A-Z Guide

The following tutorial is “Interface Basics and Shortcuts” from Chapter 2 – 1 from the Lightroom 4 A-Z DVD Guide. We will be releasing 1-1 tutorials per week from the LR4 A-Z DVD. The full DVD including 130 tutorials and nearly 14 hours of Lightroom 4 training is available in the SLR Lounge Store.

In this Lightroom Tutorial

We’re going to be discussing Lightroom’s interface, the terminology, and the shortcuts. Lightroom 4 is built to make the photographers workflow easier and faster, so the more you understand the Lightroom interface, the more efficient your work will become.

Interface Basics and Shortcuts Written Tutorial

At the top of Lightroom is the menu bar that contains the different menus for Lightroom. We will be exploring this menu bar at a later chapter. Below that is the Identity Plate Panel that houses the Identity Plate on the left hand side and the different Modules tab on the right hand side. The Lightroom workflow is broken up to different Modules based on the function that you are working on.


On the left and right sides below the Identity Panel are the Left Panel and Right Panel. This is where all of our options going to be for the different tasks and adjustments that we use. The contents of each Panel will change from one Module to another. The Left Panel is more devoted to organizational functions and presets, while the Right Panel holds the individual modifications like Metadata keywords and processing settings.

In the center of the interface is the Working or Content Area where we work on our images.

Lightroom 4 Left-Right-Panel-&-Working-Area

Down at the bottom is the Film Strip Panel. At the top of this Panel are the viewing and sorting filters, and right below that is the actual Film Strip itself.

Lightroom 4 Film-Strip-Panel

Right now, we are in the Grid view of the Library Module, so the Content Area is showing the thumbnails of the photos in this folder. To quickly get to the Grid mode, you press G on both Mac and Windows.

If you switch to Loupe view by pressing E on Mac and Windows, you will see one single image in the Content Area.

Lightroom 4 Loupe-View-Shortcut


Shortcuts and Tips on Maximizing your Interface

One of the great things about Lightroom is that you can customize your workspace to match your working preference. Some people like to have all the Panels showing, while others may hide one or more Panels.

So let us take a look at some of the shortcut keys that allow you to modify your Lightroom interface. You can show and hide the different Panels using these Function keys and the Tab key:

• F5 – Toggles the Identity Plate Panel

Lightroom 4 F5-Identity-Plate

• F6 – Toggles the Film Strip Panel

Lightroom 4 F6-Film-Strip

• F7 – Toggles the Left Panel

Lightroom 4 F7-Left-Panel

• F8 – Toggles the Right Panel

Lightroom 4 F8-Right-Panel

• Tab – Toggles the Left and Right Panels

Lightroom 4 Tab-Left-Right-Panel

• Shift+Tab – Toggles all four Panels

Lightroom 4 Shift-Tab-No-Plates

You can also click on the arrows on the edge of each Panel to show and hide that Panel. When a Panel is hidden, you can temporarily make it visible by hovering your mouse over its arrow.

Lightroom 4 Arrow-Toggle

Another way to expand your working space is by cycling through the full-screen mode. The shortcut for this is the F key. The first view will show you a full-screen view with the menu bar visible. If you hit the F again, the menu bar will disappear. Finally, hitting the F key the third time will take you back to the regular windowed view.

Lightroom 4 Full-Screen-Mode

Lastly, you can click and drag the inside edges of the left Panel, right Panel, and Film Strip Panel to expand and contract the Panel. I like to have my left Panel as small as possible, while having the right Panel to be a little bigger, since this is where all the individual adjustment sliders are located.

Lightroom 4 Drag-Panel-Size

I also like to enlarge the Film Strip because I want to see a larger thumbnail when working in the Develop Module.

Conclusion and More Info

So this is the basics of the Lightroom interface. You can customize the different Panels and change your full-screen mode to suit your working preference. In the next set chapters, we will go more in detail on the different Modules.

The Lightroom 4 A-Z DVD Guide will turn any Lightroom novice into a complete master of Lightroom 4 in no time! The DVD which can be played on a Mac or Windows PC includes the following:

– 130 Video Tutorials and nearly 14 hours of content!
– Over 6 hours of tutorials dedicated to developing techniques
– Full Menu System for easy navigation through the tutorials
– Bonus DVD Content that includes Advanced Lightroom 4 Techniques
– Full HD 1080p Resolution for all Video Tutorials
– On-screen Shortcut Tooltips for Lightroom 4
– Exercise Files + Final Catalog so you can follow along during the tutorials
– No Advertisements

Click here to purchase

Related Product Offers Recommended by SLR Lounge

1) Purchase Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 through Amazon. Click any of these links to take you to the offer.

Click here to purchase Adobe Lightroom 4 from Amazon.com

2) Student and Teacher Editions of Adobe Photoshop  Lightroom 4 is available through the Adobe Educational Purchasing Site.

Article by
Post Production Pye
Managing Editor