Keywording in Lightroom–an insider’s tips


If you’re processing loads of images in Lightroom, you will probably be using loads of keywords. One of the engineers on the Lightroom team, Eric Scouten, has written a really helpful tutorial about keywords in the Lightroom team blog. As you can see in the image above, some of the keywords that are really important to me have to do with colors. One of the tips I liked the best was that he reminded me of the option of importing your keywords from a text file. If you are using a big list of keywords, it’s much easier to type them up in a text file and then import them into Lightroom.

For more info on using keywords, Scott Kelby has a nice tutorial posted on Adobe Design Center. For more info about keyword synonyms, look at this blog entry by Johann Gudbjargarson.  Finally, did you know that you can access Lightroom Help online? Yep! Why would you want to do this? Because it’s live, it is the most up to date version of Help. Also, it allows for comments and questions from the community. Check out the Help pages about Keywording.

13 thoughts on “Keywording in Lightroom–an insider’s tips

  1. I am testing and evaluating for buying with 1.2 and keyword selections are not made by choosing an keyword; I get the remark: no photo’s match the filter and I have 5 photo’s selected???
    Is this known by you>????

  2. I’m sorry cadenuijl, i don’t have enough information to answer your question. Perhaps one of our readers can answer it. Or, better yet, can you explain the problem more completely?


  3. The same thing has recently begun to happen to me. I have a number of images keyworded, but when I try to find them all I either get “no photos match the filter” or I get only one image when there should be several.
    I have looked in help menu and my Scott Kelby Lightroom book, and cannot find what I am doing wrong.
    Would appreciate any help regarding this.


  4. Hello again…I just realized that I made a “new user” mistake…so will pass my learning along… To cadenuijl, try this: Check to see that you have not accidentally selected on one or more of the filters in the filter bar. I had inadvertently selected a single star filter and therefore the search was not finding some of the images that were keyworded.

    So in short, if you are having this problem, check to see that you have not filtered out some of your images.

    Hope this helps.

  5. Not sure if this is correct, but I think that you may need to import the photos into the application if the yhad the keywords assigned previously or you may need to export them from Lightroom with the keywords assigned. I am dealing with an issue that seems similar as I have thousands of photos that already had keywords and Lightroom would not find them unless I imported them into the application then exported them.

    I am really new so it may be user error…

  6. I have included a number of suggestions on how to apply keywords to your images using Lightroom at

    There are a number of issues in dealing with a large hierarchical keyword catalog, and the page above covers use of the hierarchical keyword tags, the spraycan, and my favorite, the use of the keyword tags in the Keywording panel on the right side of the library panel.

    Hope this helps.


  7. David,
    Thanks for including this link. This is an excellent resource. We have linked to it from our Lightroom Help wiki. I highly recommend that everyone check it out.


  8. Dear Sir

    My name is Chander Ballabh. I am very much interested to discuss possible opportunities within your organization. I think my academic experience enables me to quickly adapt and help in your organization.
    I m working in this field for last 3 years with this company so I have the better knowledge of Keywording. I m looking for Freelancing work of Keywording. We are bunch of few guys with 3-4 years of experience in Key wording. We have done over 10, 00,000 images Keywording [in English, German, French and Portuguese] of premium collection of brand like Getty images, Jupiter Images and corbis. We specialized in Travel. Cultural, Lifestyle, Business images.

    As u no that Keywording is a process, which involves assigning keywords to an image to help the people narrow down their search to a particular theme and we promise you to give that type of work where words can speak volume to have an impact of an image on your clients

    We have a controlled vocabulary which helps in controlling unwanted and wrong keywords. A controlled vocabulary makes a database easier to search. In the long run, using a controlled vocabulary (or creating your own) is the only way to ensure that you consistently include the same cluster of Core terms to similar images. It involves lot of searching and accuracy.

    If you are seeking a talented individual who stays abreast of his field, who understands technology, who earns 100% staff support, and who is as career-committed as it takes to achieve total success, then please consider my application. I would be happy to have a preliminary discussion with you or members of your team to see if we can establish a mutual interest. We look forward to working closely with you in the future

    Thank you for your attention to these materials. I certainly look forward to explore this further.

    Most Truly Yours
    Chander Ballabh
    Mailing address-,

  9. this typically indicates that a photo has an assigned keyword which is part of a keyword hierarchical (family of keywords).
    If you right click on the keyword (the one with the minus sign) then you have the option to also add this keyword to your selected photo.

    Example: if a photo contains a keyword of “yellow” and this was with another keyword called “color” then the word color would have a minus symbol to the left of it.
    Right click on the keyword “color” and you have the option to add this keyword to the same photo.

  10. Recently invested in Lightroom which is great for organising my images, some PP, and help with my keywording as described below. But…

    I currently sell my event pics online using a bit of bespoke software that I buy into on a per use basis. I’d like to change the way I sell my images (so I have more control over the sales process) but I need to solve a keywording problem first.

    I need to be able to quickly (in a few hours) go through 1,000 – 2,000 images and assign individual numbers of competitors (i.e the number on their bike/shirt of the competitor in the pic) to each image.

    Not sure if I will be able to use Lightroom to help me do this, but any other ideas gratefully accepted.

    Currently I use the bespoke software mentioned above to flick through thumbnails of my pics and type in the numbers which are then stored in a database – whilst simultaneously flicking through the images in Lightroom, zooming and panning as necessary to be able to actually read the numbers in the images on a second computer. It would be good to be able to do this on one computer, but minimal keystrokes is the over-riding factor.

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