Skip to main content
Adobe Photoshop Family

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

Thu, Oct 13, 2011 1:45 PM

Acknowledged

Lightroom: Exact text match in smart collections and filters, including matching spaces

Is there really no way to search metadata for a term that has spaces in it? e.g. "brown hair".

Responses

704 Messages

 • 

8.5K Points

9 years ago

If the various free-form search terms support special chars like - + and quotes, someone from Adobe should speak up.

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

Based on Adobe's response in the following link, this is being considered a bug: http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

9 years ago

Unless I'm mistaken, this has to be considered a serious flaw in metadata handling - we need to be able to find things even when they have spaces in them!

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lightroom: spaces in metadata.

475 Messages

 • 

10.5K Points

9 years ago

Just my 2¢, but I really don't miss this feature.

Being able to click on a multiword keyword (in Keyword List or Metadata panel) to get an exact match, + being able to set up Smart Collection with "Keywords contains Words", is fine for me.

All I want keywords to do are to show me all the photos that meet the criteria I need. If there are a few others (for instance images keyed "hair brown" as well as "brown hair"), it doesn't bother me.

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

Hopefully you don't mind if Adobe takes a minute to fix this for the rest of us.

Note: the problem exists not only for keywords, but all other textual metadata, including custom.

*** BEWARE: "Contains Words" still has an insidious bug - it will not always return the photos it should. I think it should be removed from Lightroom completely until it's fixed, which should be immediately, if not sooner - my .02.

Big Mallard Ducks,
Rob

704 Messages

 • 

8.5K Points

I can't even tell the difference between "Contains Words" and "Contains All"

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

I discovered the 'Contains Words' bug when attempting once and for all to understand the difference between the various "Contains..." options. I think Adobe was trying to make it simple, but made it confusing and limiting instead.

Maybe the "Contains..." drop-down could be implemented as named regex presets, and Lightroom could ship with a set that implements the current ones for backward compatibility, but also the users could define their own.

Toss in a checkbox for "ignore case", and a better way of handling delimiters (e.g. specify delimiter explicitly, or have multiple lines instead of delimiters) and I'd be a lot happier.

-R

Champion

 • 

5.3K Messages

 • 

95.3K Points

9 years ago

The inability to do exact match of multiple keywords is a glaring omission, especially for those with large, controlled keyword hierarchies. While it's possible to select a single keyword in the Keyword List pane, you can't select more than one (Boolean "and"). You can select multiple keywords in a Library Filter column, but scrolling a column with thousands of keywords is painful, partly because Adobe has a non-standard micro scrollbar that's fussy to use. And the only way to do more complicated queries is to use Smart Collections, which can't do exact match of keywords (or other string-valued fields).

704 Messages

 • 

8.5K Points

9 years ago

One could argue that metadata come in two flavours: those delimited by whitespace, and those delimited by something else, like a comma. Adobe have chosen the first one, which implies that you should be able to make a gesture that can exclusively search for anything between a delimiter.

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

9 years ago

The metadata itself has no delimiters.

But in the UI, there needs to be the concept of delimiter if its to support multiple terms in a single search box.

The solution could be a "no delimiters" checkbox - when checked it means search for entered text verbatim. Another common solution is to employ quote marks, but that has the problem that quote marks can be a legal metadata character, so then you have to define an escape character. One could also have a "Contains Verbatim If Substring", and a "Contains Verbatim If Whole"..., but that would just add to the confusion... ;-}

86 Messages

 • 

1.3K Points

9 years ago

I'd be curious how often is a comma is actually used as part of a keyword string. More often than not, in most software, it seems the comma is the delimiter between keywords. So people that use a comma as part of their keyword collection have to adjust, while the rest of us (a majority?) could use the space as just another character in a keyword string. How about some feedback regarding commas used within a keyword?

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

I don't think you can have a comma in a keyword, since its interpreted as a separator upon entry. Even if possible, it would be a *bad* idea...

But you *can* use commas in other metadata items, and this problem applies to non-keyword metadata too.

86 Messages

 • 

1.3K Points

That's exactly my point. The use of the space character as a delimiter is what's screwing everything up. The comma should be THE delimiter for separating keywords; everything else, including the space, is just another character in the string.

LR has given a special meaning to the space character. If there's a specific reason, I hope a development person with a logical explanation will jump in here and enlighten us.

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

I got your point - its not a good idea to have a legal data character be a delimiter, especially without some way of escaping it. But using a comma as delimiter only solves the problem for keywords - the solution needs to include non-keyword metadata.

86 Messages

 • 

1.3K Points

But if I had a choice of searching keywords that contain spaces working properly all the time, versus a search for a phrase within a caption that might fail because of a comma, I'd take the former. Keywords are just too important in the scheme of things, and having users forced to invent workarounds to a bad design just doesn't make sense.

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

Its just not that hard to do it right - hopefully we won't have to settle for a partial solution.

475 Messages

 • 

10.5K Points

FWIW, you can set a keyword with a comma using, eg, exiftool, and Lightroom will handle it. It just won't let you set that keyword on new photos. I am slowly converting my keywords like "Vegetation, forest" to "Vegetation--Forest" on an as-needed basis.

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

I vote for a search solution that works the same and equally well for all metadata types, whether they have spaces, commas, line-feeds, or anything else in them.

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

Do any of the keywords in 'controlled vocabulary' have spaces?

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

9 years ago

SpaceUrchin solves this problem.

UPDATE: AnyFilter also solves this problem

4.5K Messages

 • 

76.3K Points

8 years ago

To the forum admin behind the curtain:

Consider converting this to a feature request.

4 Messages

 • 

128 Points

6 years ago

This needs to be fixed. It is really aggravating to have a smart collection that is supposed to contain "little planets" and it also happens to pick up "My Little Pony" pictures as well...

Champion

 • 

5.3K Messages

 • 

95.3K Points

6 years ago

Lee Hawkins wrote, "...a smart collection that is supposed to contain "little planets" and it also happens to pick up "My Little Pony" pictures as well...".

It sounds like you may have used the criterion:

Collection contains little planets

That will match any collection that contains "little" or "planets". If instead you used:

Collection contains words little planets

that will match only collections that contain the words "little" and "planets". That's still not exact match, e.g. it would also match a collection "Planets that are very little", but it would reduce the number of accidental matches quite a bit.

But I agree wholeheartedly that LR has botched the search features by omitting exact match. Don't know what the product developers were thinking...

14 Messages

 • 

404 Points

5 years ago

Whats wrong with using quotation marks to show a string of words, or heaven forbid some kind of smart filter. Adobe seem great at making tools to edit photos, and absolutely shocking at making it easy to navigate a huge library. The thing that makes me laugh/cry is when the folder tree gets over two or three items, or if the folder name is longer than a word or two, you can't swipe left and right to see what is there, it just goes: Fu... or It... haha, good luck with that, what a nightmare, you can't just left click or keyboard shortcut to rename either. You have to right click, select rename, see what the name is, rinse repeat. Miserable.

14 Messages

 • 

404 Points

5 years ago

Oh yeah, and after you search for something and try to scroll down to see what has been returned, it keeps kicking you back to the top for a few minutes until it settles down. It feels like the 90's sometimes in Lightroom.

14 Messages

 • 

404 Points

5 years ago

This is comical too. I am trying to create a smart collection to find a work around. Inside a collection set? Sure, why not. This is the scroll bar I'm confronted with. No option to click in and out of the hierarchy, just an endless scroll with not even an indicator where I am in the scroll!? I have about 200,000 images so the scroll would take an hour. I'm getting the feeling Lightroom isn't built for people with large collections

2 Messages

 • 

100 Points

5 years ago

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled LIGHTROOM Smart collections using keywords containing spaces..

When using Lightroom, I have tagged my photos with keywords, some of which contain spaces. However, I don't seem to be able to create an accurate smart collection using these keywords. For example, I have friends "John Adam", "Adam Peters" and "John Smith". When I try to create a smart set for "John Adam", I also get all the photos that have both "Adam Peters" and "John Smith" in them. I seem to get either too many photos or none, depending on what options I choose for the "contains" setting. Any ideas on how I can make smart collections work using keywords with spaces?