Updated in Lightroom CC 2015.7/Lightroom 6.7

Types of collections

Collections are a way to group photos in one place for easy viewing or for performing a variety of tasks. For example, you can assemble photos in a collection into a slide show, contact sheet, or a web photo gallery. Once created, collections are listed in the Collections panel of every module. They can be selected anytime you need them. You can create as many collections as you need.

Regular collection A group of any photos you choose to put in a group.

Smart collection Collections based on rules that you define. For example, you can create a smart collection of all photos that have a five-star rating and a red color label. Photos that meet the criteria are automatically added to the smart collection.

Quick collection You can temporarily group photos for certain tasks into the Quick Collection. Unlike regular or smart collections, there can be only one Quick Collection at a time in the catalog.

Here are some things to keep in mind about working with collections:

  • Make sure that you understand the difference between catalogs and collections: Collections are groups of photos within a catalog.

  • Photos can belong to more than one collection.

  • You cannot stack photos in a collection.

  • You can change the sort order of the photos in a regular collection, but you cannot sort by User Order or drag photos to rearrange them in a smart collection.

  • Removing a photo from a collection doesn’t remove the photo from the catalog or send it to the Recycle Bin (Windows) or Trash (Mac OS).

  • You can create collection sets to organize your collections.

  • You can explicitly save Slideshow, Print, and Web module settings as output collections. See Save slide show settings as a slide show collection, Save print settings as a print collection, and Save web settings as a web collection.

Note:

For a video about using keywords to organize your photos, see Keyword overview.

Work with collections and collection sets

Create a collection

  1. In the Grid view, select photos and do one of the following:
    • Choose Library > New Collection.

    • Click the Plus icon (+) in the Collections panel and choose Create Collection.

  2. In the Create Collection dialog box, type a name in the Collection box.
  3. If you want the collection to be part of a collection set, choose it from the Set menu. Otherwise, choose None.

  4. Select the Include Selected Photos option.

  5. If you want make this collection available on your Lightroom mobile app, select the Sync with Lightroom mobile option.

  6. Click Create.

The collection appears in the Collections panel with a photo-print icon . Photos that are part of a collection display a Photo Is In Collection badge  in the Grid view and the Filmstrip.

Create a collection set

A collection set is a container that includes one or more collections. Collection sets give you flexibility in organizing and managing your photos. A collection set does not actually contain photos; it only contains collections, including regular collections, smart collections, and output creations. A collection set has a filing box icon .

  1. In the Library module, do one of the following:
    • Choose Library > New Collection Set.

    • Click the Plus icon (+) in the Collections panel and choose Create Collection Set.

  2. In the Create Collection Set dialog box, type a name for your collection set.
  3. If you want the new set to be part of an existing set, choose the existing set from the Set menu. Otherwise, choose None.

  4. Click Create.

  5. In the Collections panel, drag any collection into a collection set folder to add it to the set.

Delete a collection or collection set

When you delete a collection, no photos are removed from the catalog or deleted from disk.

  • In the Collections panel, do one of the following:
    • Select a collection or collection set and click the Minus icon (-).

    • Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) a collection or collection set and choose Delete.

Add photos to a collection

  • Drag photos from the Grid view to a collection in the Collections panel.

Identify photos in a collection

  • Photos in a collection display the Photo Is In Collection badge  in the Grid view and the Filmstrip. Click the badge to see which collections the photo is in.

    Note: Smart collections are not listed.

  • In a collection, Ctrl-click (Mac OS) or right-click (Windows) a photo and choose Go To Folder In Library to go to the folder that contains the photo.

Remove photos from a collection

  1. Select a collection in the Collections panel.
  2. In the Grid view, select the photos and choose Photo > Remove From Collection, or press Delete.

Copy or move photos between collections

  1. In the Library module, select a collection in the Collections panel.
  2. In the Grid view, select photos.
  3. To copy the selected photos, drag them to the collection in the Collections panel that you want to add them to.
  4. To move the selected photos, delete the photos from the original collection after dragging them to the new collection.

Sort collections

  • In the Collections panel, click the Plus icon (+) and do one of the following:
    • Choose Sort By Name to sort collections alphabetically.

    • Choose Sort By Kind to sort collections by type.

Rename a collection or collection set

  1. In the Collections panel, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) a collection or collection set, and choose Rename from the menu.

  2. Overwrite the name of the collection.

Set a target collection

A target collection allows you to override the temporary Quick Collection. A target collection lets you make any permanent collection behave as a Quick Collection for as long as it is targeted. Targeted collections are an easy way to quickly group photos together for further processing.

  1. In the Collections panel, select the collection that you want to target.

    Note:

    A collection set cannot be a target.

  2. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) and choose Set As Target Collection.

    A white plus icon next to the collection name indicates that it is targeted.

  3. To add a photo to a target collection, select the photo in any module and press the B key.

  4. To remove a photo from a target collection, select target collection, and then select the photo in the Grid view, and press the B key.

  5. To turn off the target, select the collection, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS), and deselect Set As Target Collection.

Work with the Quick Collection

Use the Quick Collection to assemble a temporary group of photos to work with in any module. You can view the Quick Collection in the Filmstrip or in the Grid view, and you can convert the Quick Collection to a permanent collection.

Video tutorial: The Quick Collection

Video tutorial: The Quick Collection
video2brain

Add photos to the Quick Collection

  1. Select one or more photos in the Filmstrip or the Grid view.
  2. In the Library or Develop module, choose Photo > Add To Quick Collection. In the Slideshow, Print, or Web modules, choose Edit > Add To Quick Collection.

    Note:

    From any module, select a photo and press the B key. Or move the pointer over a thumbnail image and click the circle in its upper-right corner.

View photos in the Quick Collection

  • In the Library module, select Quick Collection in the Catalog panel.
  • In the Filmstrip Source Indicator menu, choose Quick Collection.

Remove photos from or clear the Quick Collection

  1. Display the Quick Collection in the Filmstrip or Grid view.
  2. Select one or more photos in the collection.
  3. In the Library or Develop module, choose Photo > Remove From Quick Collection. In the Slideshow, Print, or Web modules, choose Edit > Remove From Quick Collection.

    Note:

    From any module, select the photo and press the B key. Or move the pointer over a thumbnail image and click the circle in its upper-right corner.

Convert the Quick Collection to a collection

A Quick Collection can be saved as a collection. You have the option of clearing the Quick Collection after saving it.

  1. In any module, choose File > Save Quick Collection.

  2. In the Save Quick Collection dialog box, type a name in the Collection Name box.
  3. Specify one of the following actions:
    • Select Clear Quick Collection After Saving to clear the Quick Collection after it’s saved as a collection.

    • Deselect Clear Quick Collection After Saving to preserve the Quick Collection after it’s saved as a collection.

  4. Click Save.

Work with smart collections

A smart collection is a collection based on metadata criteria that you specify. Smart collections automatically include all photos that meet the criteria. You don’t manually add or remove photos from a smart collection.

Lightroom includes a set of five default smart collections: Colored Red, Five Stars, Past Month, Recently Modified, and Without Keywords.

Video tutorial: Creating smart collections

Video tutorial: Creating smart collections
Infinite Skills

Create a smart collection

  1. In the Library module, do one of the following:
    • Choose Library > New Smart Collection.

    • Click the Plus icon (+) in the Collections panel and choose Create Smart Collection.

  2. In the Create Smart Collection dialog box, type a name for your smart collection.
  3. If you want the smart collection to be part of an existing set, choose the set from the Set menu. Otherwise, choose None.

  4. Specify the rules for the smart collection by choosing options from the pop-up menus.

    Note:

    The rules used to define searchable text conditions for smart collections are the same as the rules used to search for text with the Library Filter bar. For definitions, see Search for photos using the Text filter.

  5. (Optional) Click the Plus icon (+) to add additional criteria. Click the Minus icon (-) to remove criteria.

  6. (Optional) Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the Plus icon (+) to open nested options that let you refine criteria.

  7. Choose to match all or any of the criteria from the Match menu.
  8. Click Create.

Lightroom adds the smart collection to the Collections panel and adds all the photos in the catalog that meet the specified rules. Smart collections have a photo-print icon with a gear in the lower-right corner .

Edit smart collections

You can change the criteria and rules for a smart collection at any time.

  1. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) a smart collection  in the Collections panel and choose Edit Smart Collection.

  2. Choose new rules and options in the Edit Smart Collection dialog box.
  3. Click Save.

Note:

You cannot sort by User Order or drag photos to rearrange them in a smart collection.

Share smart collection settings

You can share smart collections by exporting smart collection settings and then importing those settings into a different catalog. Lightroom applies a .lrsmcol filename extension to smart collection settings files.

Exporting a smart collection exports the rules for the smart collection. It does not export the photos that are in the smart collection.

When you import smart collection rules, Lightroom creates the smart collection to the Collections panel and adds any photos in the catalog that meet the smart collection criteria.

  • To export a smart collection, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) it in the Collections panel and choose Export Smart Collection Settings. Specify the name and location of the exported smart collection settings file and then click Save.
  • To import a smart collection, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) it in the Collections panel and choose Import Smart Collection Settings. Navigate to and select a smart collection .lrsmcol settings file and click Import.

Work with All Synced Photographs collection

Introduced in Lightroom CC 2015.7/Lightroom 6.7

All Synced Photographs collection in the Catalog panel
All Synced Photographs collection in the Catalog panel

In the Library module, the All Synced Photographs collection in the Catalog panel displays all the Lightroom photos (including the ones that are not a part of any Collection) that are synced to the Lightroom mobile clients. Therefore, the photos that appear in the All Photos view in Lightroom on the web, Lightroom Photos view in Lightroom for mobile (iOS), and Lightroom Photos view in Lightroom for mobile (Android) are same as the All Synced Photographs collection in Lightroom desktop.

Add photos to All Synced Photographs collection

You can drag a photo directly into the All Synced Photographs collection in the Catalog panel (Library module) to sync that photo with all your Lightroom mobile clients — even if that photo is not a part of any synced collection.

Note:

To add photos to the All Synced Photographs collection, the Sync with Lightroom mobile option should be ON. To know how to turn on sync, see Sync Lightroom across desktop and mobile platforms.

Remove photos from All Synced Photographs collection

Deleting photos from the All Synced Photographs collection removes them from all your Lightroom mobile clients, but not from Lightroom desktop.

  1. In the Library module, select All Synced Photographs in the Catalog panel.

  2. In the Grid view, select the photos and choose Photo > Remove From All Synced Photographs, or press Delete.

Note:

Deleting a synced collection, unsycing a synced collection, or removing a photo from a synced collection does not remove the photos from All Synced Photographs. If you want to stop syncing a photo across your Lightroom mobile clients, remove it from All Synced Photographs.

Export a collection as a catalog

You can export a collection of photos as a new catalog. When you create a catalog from a collection of photos, the settings in the photos are exported to the new catalog.

Note:

Exporting a smart collection as a catalog adds the photos in the smart collection to the new catalog. It does not export the rules or criteria that constitute the smart collection.

  1. Select the collection or smart collection that you want to use to create a catalog.
  2. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the collection name and choose Export This Collection As A Catalog.

  3. Specify the name, location, and other options for the catalog, and then click Save (Windows) or Export Catalog (Mac OS).

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