Whether it’s a different way home from the office or combining steps in a recipe, we all have our little shortcuts that we take hoping to save us some time. While processing your images, you can drive yourself crazy clicking around all over the place, but I’ve gathered some of my most used Adobe Lightroom shortcut keys in the image above to cut down on the time that you’ll be editing. Many of these are so intuitive that they’ll become second nature as you plow through your workflow.
The shortcut keys, or hotkeys as some call them, that I use the most are probably those to switch between the Library and Develop modules. When you’re in the Library module, switching to Develop is as easy as simply hitting d on the keyboard. You can also get into the Develop module by selecting a shortcut key for one of the development functions – w for white balance, r for crop/resize, k for adjustment brush, etc.
So, what shortcut key would you hit to get back into the Library module? L, right? Good guess, but no, that actually turns out the lights (darkens the screen around the image), but instead you would select the shortcut key for the view that you want – e for loupE or g for grid. If you hit l just to see what it would do, know that there are two levels of darkness and you just need to keep pushing the l key to cycle through them.
When it comes to sorting and culling your images, shortcut keys will save you a bunch of time here, too. There are several ways to sort your images: a star rating of 1-5, color labels, or setting a flag on that image. Setting a star rating is by far the easiest and most intuitive of all of the keys and it can be used in the Library or Develop modules. Simply hit a number from 1 to 5 to assign the number of stars that you rate that image.
Giving an image a color label is just as easy as a star rating, but it’s not quite as intuitive. Just select numbers 6-9 to set the label as red, yellow, green, or blue. Purple is not available as a shortcut key and 0 (zero) resets the star rating. To reset a color label, just hit the key for that color label again. With either stars or color labels, you can combine the shift key with the command and it will set the label and move to the next image.
The last sorting method that I will talk about actually may be the first one that you might use when you have a large volume of images and you need to cut that number down pretty quickly – setting a flag. While there are actually three flag conditions, one of them is no flag set and this becomes a binary operation if we ignore that one. In order to flag an image as picked, you just hit the p shortcut key. Enable the loupe viewing mode and you can quickly flag images and move to the next one using the left/right arrow keys. In order to reject an image that has been flagged, hit the x key. You can also use the shortcut key u and that will unflag the image, but sometimes it is helpful to explicitly mark an image as rejected.
Once you have made your first pass sorting, labeling, rating or flagging images, you can further refine your selection by filtering your images and sorting again. It may be helpful to change to one of two more available view types in order to sort again. Highlight the images you want and enable Compare view (shortcut key c) which is useful for comparing two images or Survey view (n) when you want to compare a group of images. If you’ve flagged images as picked, further refining your selection could simply mean setting the reject flag or continuing with another method like adding color labels or ratings. You can combine filter types and sort with all different combinations of ratings, flags and labels to pick out exactly the images that you want.
Those are just some quick tips about sorting/culling and honestly, it could probably be its own post in order to cover all of the bases. One more quick note – when using the adjustment brush (k), you can see exactly where your adjustment is applied by hitting the o shortcut for Overlay and you will see a red quick mask over the affected area. Hit the shortcut key again to toggle the effect.
There are a lot more short cuts in Lightroom than I’ve included here and to find them, Adobe has put them just another shortcut key away. Hitting Ctrl+/ in any of the modules will pop up an overlay that has the shortcut keys for that module. I’m pretty confident that if you incorporate even just the few shortcuts that we’ve covered here into your workflow that you will save time.
Comment below with your favorite shortcut key below if it wasn’t covered here!
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