Tip 1 - Lightroom Community Help
Even the Lightroom Help document can be found wanting at
times, but did you know that they are now on-line and regularly updated.
Better still, you can post comments and questions to the Help system and get answers
that will be added to the Help system for the benefit of everyone. The
new system is called "Community Help" and can be accessed from the
Lightroom Help menu item "Lightroom
Help". Assuming you have an active internet connection you will
be taken to a page that looks similar to Figure 1 below.
Figure 1 - Lightroom 2 Community Help
To gain the greatest benefit from the help system you
should choose the "Community Help" option shown inside the red boundary
in figure 1 above. In figure 2 you will see an example were one of the
Lightroom community moderators has added some additional information on
Figure 2 - Adding a comment or raising a query
A similar Community Help system is now available for the
entire Adobe Creative Suite. Again, these can be accessed via the
application Help menu.
Tip 2 - Customising folder names
and adding hierarchical keywords during import
As the title suggests the following is really two tips
rolled into one. My reason for rolling two tips into one is that both are
related to the Import window. The first tip focuses on customising the name
of the folder into which the photos will be imported, and the second on
assigning hierarchical keywords to all photos during
import. As with many aspects of Lightroom both are undocumented and
To customise a folder name you simply double click the
current name with the mouse pointer (double click is required because
there is no context menu) to open the edit field then type your
preferred folder name. In the example shown in figure 3 below I have
added the words "Construction Materials" after the default folder
name (defaults are usually shown in the form of a date).
Figure 3 - Lightroom 2 Import window
The forward slash character (/)
is used to inform Lightroom that Construction Materials is a subfolder of
the default date folder (figure 4 shows how it appears in the Folder
panel of the Library). Had I replaced the default folder name the
new folder would have been created as a sub folder of "Users/ianlyons/Pictures".
Figure 4 - Folder panel
Adding individual keywords to photos during import is
relatively straight forward. For example, typing words like London,
England, UK, bricks, etc directly into to "Information to Apply:
Keywords" field will result in these keywords being assigned to all
of the photos being imported. By the way, the "comma" is used as the
separator. However, what if you prefer to assign keywords in using a
hierarchical structure - how can this be done?
Well, there are two methods. The first only works if we
already have an existing keyword list with the appropriate hierarchy.
Again, using the example from above, I know that the "London"
already exists in my keyword list and is a child of "Minnesota" -
OK, so I'm struggling here, but I got to keep the Lightroom team happy.
So, simply typing "London" will result in the keyword auto-complete
feature activating and offering me the option of selecting same. Had I
also included "London" in my keyword list under another parent (e.g.
"England") it too would have been listed and I would have had to make the
choice. Once selected Lightroom will automatically assign the entire
hierarchy for your typed keyword.
The second method is a lot less intuitive than the first,
but once learned is extremely powerful. It is also the only way that we
can add a completely new parent/child structure to an existing
hierarchical keyword list. So, how does it work.
Using the previous example again, but this time neither
"London" or "England" are in the keyword list. In fact, the existing
keyword list contains no towns, cities, countries. We begin typing London
then we add the > symbol to denote that we wish to create a
hierarchy. Next, I type "England" followed by another > symbol,
then "UK", "Europe" and "PLACES", each separated by the > symbol.
The typed text should appear as "London > England > UK > Europe >
PLACES", and for good measure we also include "bricks >
construction materials > ARCHITECTURE / FEATURES" (see figure 3 above
for exact formatting). Now, when we click on the import button the photos
along with the globally assigned keywords will be imported into
Lightroom. The new keywords complete with their hierarchical structure
will be added to the existing list. Figure 5 below shows the structure as
it appears in the Library Filter for Metadata.
Figure 5 - Library Filter for Metadata
No doubt you notice that I typed the child keyword first
and the top level keyword last and are wondering why. Well, I don't have
a definitive answer, but it's most probably due to the way that the
auto-complete feature works.
I hope to add more tips and tricks in future, so bookmark
this page for future reference.