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Learn Photography

Lightroom > Library Module >

1 - The Work Area

Look in the upper-right corner of Lightroom, and make sure you're in the Library module.

The work area is located in the middle of your screen.

Click a Preview

The gray area around the preview is called the cell.

Press j repeatedly to cycle through three variations on what appears in the cell.

Click on the preview for one of your photographs.

The cell color changes from a dark gray to a lighter gray.

The preview is selected.

Press / to deselect it.


Cell with preview Inside

Select All & Deselect All

To select all of the previews, Press Ctrl + a.

To deselect all of the selected previews, press Ctrl + d.

In a Row

To select a contiguous series of previews, do the following.

1) Click the first preview.

2) Press and hold Shift.

3) Click the last preview.

Willy Nilly

To select previews from many different locations, do the following.

1) Press and hold Ctrl.

2) Click the previews.

Most Active preview

If you select more than one preview, the first one you select is designated as being the most active.

The cell color of the most-active preview will be a lighter shade of gray.

You can synchronize (apply) the editing done on the most-active preview to the active previews.

For example, if you edit the exposure of a photograph, you can apply the same editing to similar photographs.


Most Active


Not Selected

Move a preview

To move a preview, do the following.

1) You have to click on the bottom-most folder or bottom-most collection.

Let's say you've clicked on a folder called Paul & John Wedding.

There are several sub-folders under the Paul & John Wedding folder.

You won't be able to move the previews.

You have to click on one of the sub-folders, such as one called Reception.

2) Click and hold on the image, and not the border around the image.

3) Drag it to its new position.


The previews are numbered by Lightroom in the upper-left corners of the cells.


Typically, flagging is used to separate the keepers from the duds.

In the upper-left corner, there's a flag icon.

Click the flag icon to flag the preview.

A flagged preview is considered to be a keeper.

A rejected or non-flagged preview is a dud.

Press p to flag.

Press x to reject.

To undo the above, press u.



Press p



Press x



Press u

Here are more ways to flag previews.

On Tool Bar?


Keyboard Shortcut

p = Flag

x = Reject

u = Unflag

Right Click Menu


Menu on Top of the Screen

Photo > Set Flag

On Preview Cell (Border)?


Other & Related Methods

• Press Ctrl + Up Arrow & Press Ctrl + Down Arrow to change.

• Press the Caps-lock key to engage Auto Advance.

• To delete the rejected  previews, press Ctrl + Backspace (Mac: Cmd + Delete).

• Go to Library > Refine Photos to change all unflagged previews to rejects, and all flagged previews to unflagged.

Go to Flags.

Star Ratings

Typically, star ratings are used to rate the quality of photographs.

Look for the row of tiny gray dots below the preview.

Click on the dots to rate the photograph with stars.

On Tool Bar?


Keyboard Shortcut

0 = No stars

1 = ★

2 = ★★

3 = ★★★

4 = ★★★★

5 = ★★★★★

Right Click Menu


Menu on Top of the Screen

Photo > Set Rating

On Preview Cell (Border)?


Other & Related Methods

Press the Caps-lock key to engage Auto Advance.

Go to Star Ratings.

Color Labels

Typically, color labels are used to denote what actions have or have not been performed on photographs.

The default color label captions are their colors.

You can change them to reflect your workflow.






To Photoshop Elements


To be printed



Look for the row rectangle below the preview to the right of the stars.

Click the rectangle to color the gray area surrounding the gray area around the preview.

On Tool Bar?

Click triangle at right end of the tool bar to add to the tool bar.

Keyboard Shortcut

Red = 6

Yellow = 7

Green = 8

Blue = 9

Purple = None

Right Click Menu


Menu on Top of the Screen

Photo > Set Color Label

On Preview Cell (Border)?

Yes. Press Ctrl + j. Select Show Grid Extras & Expanded Cells at the top. At the bottom, select Include Color Label.

Other & Related Methods

Go to Color Labels.


You can rotate a photograph using the two gray arrows beneath a preview.

Click on the arrows, even if the photograph doesn't have to be rotated.

Change More than One preview

If you select more than one preview, and then click one of the features on one of the selected previews, the action is performed on all of the selected previews.

For example, let's say you downloaded photographs from your camera.

You click on the previews for the photographs that are keepers.

Then, you click the flag icon on one of the selected previews.

All of the selected photographs will be flagged.

You've been using the Grid view.

There's also the Loupe view.


Grid View - Press g

Grid & Loupe Views

The above view is called Grid view.

Press e on your keyboard.

The preview you selected enlarges.

This is called Loupe view.

Press g on your keyboard.

Now, you're back in Grid view.

Press d to go to the Develop module.

Library Module Develop Module
g e d
Grid View Loupe View  

Loupe View - Press e

Instead of Pressing g & e

If you press the space bar, you'll go to Loupe view.

Press again, and you'll go to the last magnification that you used.

There are also icons you can click to change the view from Grid to Loupe.

Look on the left end of the tool bar at the bottom of the work area.

Zoom Entire Grid In & Out

In Grid view, you can zoom the entire grid in and out.

To zoom in, press =.

To zoom out, press –.

Change the Cell or Display

You can change the features and information displayed in the cells around the previews.

In Grid view, press j to cycle through the choices.

In Loupe view, press i to do the same.

Change the Preferences for Grid & Loupe Views

Press Ctrl + j to change the preferences of the Grid and Loupe views.