The folders that contain your photos are displayed in the Folders panel of the Library module. The folders in the Folders panel reflect the folder structure on the volume itself and appear in alphanumeric order. Click the disclosure triangle to the right of a volume name to see the folders on that volume. Click the triangle to the left of a folder to see any subfolders it contains.

Folders panel in Lightroom
Folders panel displaying folders and many photos they contain

You can add and move folders in the Folders panel, rename folders, and delete them. Changes you make to folders in Lightroom are applied to the folders themselves on the volume.

Add an existing folder that contains images

Whenever you import photos, the folders in which they are located are added automatically to the Folders panel. You can add folders and import the photos they contain using the Folders panel.

  1. In the Folders panel of the Library module, click the Plus icon (+) and choose Add Folder.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • (Windows) In the Browse For Folders dialog box, navigate to the location you want, select the folders you want, and then click OK. Or, navigate to the location you want and click Make New Folder. Type a name to replace the New Folder name.

    • (Mac OS) In the Choose Or Create New Folder dialog box, navigate to the location you want, select the folder you want, and then click Choose. Or, navigate to the location you want and click New Folder. Type a name for the folder and then click Create. Then click Choose.

  3. If necessary, specify options in the Import Photos dialog box, and click Import.

Note:

If you have multiple copies of a folder and you want to change the location that Lightroom points to, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the folder and choose Update Folder Location.

Add a subfolder

  1. In the Folders panel of the Library module, select the folder in which you want to create the new folder. Then, click the Plus icon (+) at the top of the Folders panel and choose Add Subfolder.
  2. In the Create Folder dialog box, type the Folder name.
  3. If photos are selected, determine whether you want to copy the selected photos to the new folder, and then click Create.

In the Folders panel, the new folder appears in the hierarchy you specified. The new folder also appears in Windows Explorer or Mac OS Finder.

Note:

You can tell if a folder contains subfolders by looking at the disclosure triangle to the left of the folder icon. If the triangle is solid, the folder contains subfolders. If the triangle is faint and dotted, the folder doesn’t contain subfolders.

Add a parent folder

  • To add a new parent folder to the Folders panel hierarchy, select a top-level folder, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS), and choose Add Parent Folder.

Move folders

You can move folders into other folders in Lightroom. You cannot copy folders in Lightroom.

  • In the Folders panel of the Library module, select one or more folders and drag into another folder.

Video tutorial: Move folders around in Lightroom

Rename folders

  1. In the Folders panel of the Library module, select a folder.
  2. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) and choose Rename from the menu.
  3. Overwrite the folder name.

View the contents of a folder

Lightroom displays the number of photos in a folder to the right of the folder name. If you later add photos to a folder in the Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac OS), you’ll need to import the new photos into Lightroom or synchronize the folder to update the number displayed in the Folders panel.

  • In the Library module, do any of the following:
    • Select one or more items in the Folders panel.

    • Select a photo, and in the Metadata panel, click the right-pointing arrow next to the Folder field to display that photo’s folder.

    By default, selecting a folder shows all photos in that folder and all subfolders in the Grid view and the Filmstrip. To show only the photos in the selected folder, choose Library > Include Photos From Subfolders to deselect it.

Synchronize folders

If the contents of a folder in your catalog don’t match the contents of the same folder on the volume, you can synchronize the two folders. When you synchronize folders, you have the option of adding files that have been added to the folder but not imported into the catalog, removing files that have been deleted, and scanning for metadata updates. The photos in the folder and all subfolders can be synchronized. You can determine which folders, subfolders, and files are imported.

Note:

The Synchronize Folder command does not detect duplicate photos in a catalog. Lightroom does not have a function that identifies duplicate files.

  1. In the Folders panel, select the folder you want to synchronize.
  2. Choose Library > Synchronize Folder.
  3. In the Synchronize Folder dialog box, do any of the following:
    • To import photos that appear in the folders but have not been imported in the catalog, select Import New Photos. If you select Show Import Dialog Before Importing, you can specify which folders and photos are imported.

    • To remove photos that have been deleted from the folder but not from the catalog, select Remove Missing Photos From Catalog. If this option is dimmed, no files are missing. (You can choose Show Missing Photos to display the photos in Grid view.)

    • To scan for any metadata changes made to the files in another application, choose Scan For Metadata Updates.

  4. Click Synchronize.
  5. If the Import Photos dialog box opens, confirm the folders and files you want to import, and then click Import.

Note:

If you have a missing folder that is also empty, use the Synchronize Folder command to remove it from the catalog.

Locate missing folders

If a folder is moved in the operating system instead of in Lightroom, the link between the catalog and the folder breaks, and a question-mark icon  appears on the folder in the Folders panel.

  1. To restore the link, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) on the folder and choose Find Missing Folder from the context menu.
  2. Navigate to the file path of the moved folder and click Choose.

    Note:

    For instructions on relinking individual missing photos, see Locate missing photos.

Delete folders

  1. In the Folders panel of the Library module, select one or more folders and click the Minus icon (-). Or, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) and choose Remove.
  2. Click Continue in the dialog box.

    The folder and its photos are removed from the catalog and the Folders panel. The original folder and photos are not deleted from the hard drive.

View volume information

The Folders panel provides information about the storage resources for each volume listed. For example, you can see whether a volume is online or offline and how much disk space is available. Volume information updates dynamically as you import and work with photos in Lightroom.

  • To change the information you see for a volume, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the volume name and choose any of the following:

Disk Space

Displays used/total disk space on the volume.

Photo Count

Displays how many photos in the catalog are on the volume.

Status

Indicates whether the volume is online or offline.

None

Hides all volume information.

  • Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) a volume name and choose Show In Explorer (Windows) or Show In Finder (Mac OS) to open that volume in an Explorer or Finder window.
  • Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) a volume name and choose Properties (Windows) or Get Info (Mac OS) to view the Properties (Windows) or Info (Mac OS) window for that volume.
  • To change the information provided by the colored LED next to the volume name, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) it and choose one of the following:

Show Status

Indicates whether a volume is online (green) or offline (red).

Show Status And Free Space

Indicates whether a volume is online or offline, as well as how full the resource is:

Green

10 GB or more of space is free.

Yellow

Less than 10 GB of space is free.

Orange

Less than 5 GB of space is free.

Red

Less than 1 GB of space is free and the tool tip warns that the volume is nearly full. When less than 1 MB of space is free, the tool tip warns that the volume is full.

Gray

Volume is offline and photos on that volume are unavailable for editing. When photos are unavailable, only low-resolution previews display in Lightroom.

Choose how a folder name displays

  • In the Folders panel of the Library module, click the Plus icon (+) at the top of the panel and choose one of the following Root Folder Display options:

    Folder Name Only

    Displays only the name of top-level folders in the Folders panel. For example, 2011.

    Path From Volume

    Displays the full path and the name of top-level folders in the Folders panel. For example, Users/[username]/Pictures/2011.

    Folder And Path

    Displays the name of top-level folders followed by the folder’s path in the Folders panel. For example, 2011 - Users/[username]/Pictures/2011.

    Note:

    You may need to drag the right edge of the panel to expand it to see the full path and name.

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