You can create stacks to group a set of visually similar photos together, making them easy to manage. Stacks are useful for keeping multiple photos of the same subject or a photo and its virtual copies in one place, and they reduce clutter in the Grid view and the Filmstrip.

For example, you may want to create a stack to group multiple photos of a portrait session taken with the same pose, or for photos taken at an event using your camera’s burst mode or auto-bracket feature. When you take photos this way, you end up with many similar variations of the same photo, but you usually want only the best one to appear in the Grid view or the Filmstrip. Stacking the photos lets you easily access them all in one place instead of having them scattered across rows of thumbnails.

When grouping photos in a stack, the photos are stacked according to their sort order in the Grid view, with the active photo at the top of the stack.

A stack is collapsed when stacked photos are grouped under the thumbnail of the top photo in the Grid view or the Filmstrip. A stack is expanded when all photos in a stack are visible in the Grid view or the Filmstrip.

Lightroom Collapsed stack and expanded stack
Collapsed stack (top) and expanded stack (below)

Here are a few tips for working with stacks:

  • Any Develop adjustments, ratings, flags, or color labels applied to a collapsed stack affect only the photo at the top of the stack.

  • If you select a photo in a stack and add it to a Quick Collection or collection, only the selected photo—not the entire stack—is added.

  • When you search for photos, the top photo in a stack shows the number of photos in the stack in the upper-left corner.

Lightroom stack
The top photo in a stack displays the number of photos in a stack.

Video tutorial: Working with Image Stacks

Video tutorial: Working with Image Stacks
Infinte Skills

Stack photos

  1. In the Grid view or the Filmstrip in the Library module, select the photos you want to stack.

    Note:

    Stacked photos must be located in the same folder.

  2. Choose Photo > Stacking > Group Into Stack.

    The stacked photos are arranged contiguously and display stacking order numbers in the upper-left corner of their thumbnails. The top photo in the stack is “1,” the next photo is “2,” and so forth.

Note:

If you select two stacks and choose Photo > Stacking > Group Into Stack, only the top photo from the second stack is moved into the stack you selected first.

Unstack photos

  1. In the Grid view or the Filmstrip in the Library module, select the thumbnail of a collapsed stack. Or, if the stack is expanded, select any photo in the stack. You don’t have to select all photos in the stack.
  2. Choose Photo > Stacking > Unstack.

Add photos to a stack

  1. In the Grid view or the Filmstrip in the Library module, select the stack and one or more photos that you want to add to the stack.
  2. Choose Photo > Stacking > Group Into Stack.

Expand and collapse stacks

Expanding a stack displays all the photos in the stack. When you collapse a stack, all the photos are grouped under the thumbnail of the top photo. The number of photos in the stack is displayed in the upper-left corner of the thumbnail.

  • In the Grid view or the Filmstrip in the Library module, do any of the following:
    • To expand a stack, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) a collapsed stack and choose Stacking > Expand Stack, or click the stacking number displayed in the upper-left corner of the photo. You can also select a collapsed stack and choose Photo > Stacking > Expand Stack.

    • To expand all stacks, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) any photo and choose Stacking > Expand All Stacks, or select any photo and choose Photo > Stacking > Expand All Stacks.

    • To collapse a stack, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) a photo in the stack and choose Stacking > Collapse Stack, or click the stacking number in the upper-left corner of the photo. You can also select a photo in the stack and choose Photo > Stacking > Collapse Stack.

    • To collapse all stacks, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) any photo and choose Stacking > Collapse All Stacks, or select any photo and choose Photo > Stacking > Collapse All Stacks.

Remove or delete photos from a stack

Removing photos from a stack keeps them in the Lightroom catalog. Deleting photos from a stack removes them from both the stack and the catalog. Using the Delete Photos command, you also have the option of removing photos from the catalog and deleting them from the hard drive.

  1. In the Grid view or the Filmstrip in the Library module, expand a stack.
  2. Select one or more photos in the stack and do one of the following:
    • To remove photos from the stack, choose Photo > Stacking > Remove From Stack.

    • To delete photos from the stack, choose Photo > Delete Photos. You can also right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) a thumbnail and choose Delete Photo from the menu.

Removing or deleting a photo from a stack containing only two photos unstacks the photos.

Rearrange photos in a stack

  • In the Grid view or the Filmstrip in the Library module, select a photo in an expanded stack and do any of the following:
    • To make it the top photo, choose Photo > Stacking > Move To Top Of Stack.

    • To move it up in the stack, press Shift-Left bracket, or choose Photo > Stacking > Move Up In Stack.

    • To move it down in the stack, press Shift-Right bracket, or choose Photo > Stacking > Move Down In Stack.

Split a stack into two stacks

Photos within a stack can be grouped into a new separate stack using the Split Stack command. When split, the original stack contains the remaining photos that were grouped into a new stack.

  1. In the Grid view or the Filmstrip in the Library module, expand the stack.
  2. Select the photos you want grouped in a different stack.

    Note:

    The Split Stack command is not available if you select only the top photo in a stack.

  3. Choose Photo > Stacking > Split Stack.

Automatically stack photos by capture time

Lightroom can automatically stack photos in a folder based on their capture time. You specify a duration between capture times to create a new stack. For example, suppose you specify 1 minute for the duration. All contiguous photos with capture times less than 1 minute apart are grouped in one stack. A new stack is created when the next contiguous photo has a capture time that is 1 minute or more later than the previous photo’s capture time. In turn, the new stack groups contiguous photos with capture times less than 1 minute apart from each other, and so forth.

You can specify a duration between capture times of 0 seconds to 1 hour. Specifying shorter durations creates more stacks. Specifying longer durations creates fewer stacks.

  1. Select a folder in the Folders panel.

    Lightroom auto-stacks all photos in the folder regardless of which photos are selected in the content area or the Filmstrip.

  2. Choose Photo > Stacking > Auto-Stack By Capture Time.

  3. In the Auto-Stack By Capture Time dialog box, drag the Time Between Stacks slider to specify the minimum duration between capture times that creates a new stack.

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