If you’re familiar with Adobe, you know that they will often include about a hundred ways to do any one thing and like to tuck away all kinds of features that are useful but little-known. You could spend a lifetime learning Adobe programs and still find something new, often. How many times have you pressed the “wrong” key working in Photoshop and accidentally learned a useful new keyboard shortcut, or peered into a menu you’d overlooked before and blown your own mind with what you found there?


Well, today we’ve got a little something just like that for you – a trick that’s incredibly simple, but if you hadn’t thought to look in a particular place, you’d never know it was there. That something is the ability to customize what Lightroom toggles to in a before/after view.

Lightroom team member Benjamin Warde has created a short and sweet edition of his Lightroom Coffee Break video series detailing just how this works.

It’s so easy and has the potential to be really useful. If you make basic edits and then apply an effect, using this technique you could toggle between your edited version and the effect version with a simple keystroke that is dedicated to before and after display. The backslash (\) and ‘Y’ keys both offer a fast way to toggle between your original, untouched photo and whatever you’ve done to it in order to compare the two. The backslash key will swap the two versions back and forth and ‘Y’ offers either a before and after split view of the image or a side-by-side comparison.

However, if you’d rather swap between a state other than the original and a later edit, there is an easy way to do that. Simply make your initial edits, then navigate to the ‘History’ tab on the left of the screen in the Develop module. Find the place in your history that you would like to become the ‘before,’ right click on it, and select ‘Copy History Step Settings To Before.’ That’s it. Now you can keep making changes, and when you view before and after, your ‘before’ will be whatever you’ve selected from the history.

For more from Benjamin Warde and more Lightroom tips and tricks, check the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom YouTube channel!