Lightroom: A decent key word editor for Lr (request for feature)

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I would like to see some form of additional editing capabilities for the keywords in Lightroom, an editor something like...give Lightroom the ability to recognize categories = high-level= parent "keywords" (might require some sort of special tag??), put these in a column on the left side of the page and then place all of the uncategorized keywords, e.g., those that have no "children" in columns on the right side of the page. I would then like to be able to "drag and drop" the uncategorized keywords onto a parent where I wanted to establish a relationship. This "editor" would also have to be able to distinguish more than one level of parent. I would envision an editor which would have a display similat to a "spreadsheet".

In my opinion, the present capability for editing keywords in Lightroom is very limited and very inadequate, particularly when one of the key strengths of Lightroom is as a data asset management application. The ability to manipulate keywords, create new ones and assign them to the proper "parent" is of paramount importance in an application such as Lightroom.
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Ronald May

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Posted 7 years ago

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jdv, Champion

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Use a text editor to format the keyword file (export it from Lightroom to get the current set) and then import it back in.

This way you get to use your favourite text editor which is going to be a much better tool than anything Adobe can provide.
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Ronald May

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I was not aware that you could export the keyword file to a text editor and then reimport it bakc into Lightroom - I have never seen this covered in any of the books tha tI ahve - maybe I didn't read the right parts?? stillnot sure how this works - reference please and thanks.
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Ronald May

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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Editing the exported keywords file and reimporting it has very limited usefulness. In particular:

- You can’t rearrange the hierarchy. If you edit the file to move keyword X from parent A to parent B, and then import the file, that will add a new keyword B > X, leaving A > X (and all the photos containing A > X) untouched.

- You can’t delete keywords.

- You can’t rename keywords (e.g. fix spelling).

- You can’t edit the keyword attributes Export Containing Keywords or Export Synonyms.
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jdv, Champion

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Yes, deletions and renames occur in the UI because the import is non-destructive. With filtering and drag and drop you can move trees around.

Exporting is controlled by using square or curly braces. See: http://lightroom-news.com/2009/05/04/...

I'm not sure I get your distinction between "categorized" and "uncategorized" keywords. Keywords are just a controlled vocabulary, and I have many that are leaf nodes without children.

But, you can do much of what you require with the existing UI and import/export.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"Exporting is controlled by using square or curly braces."

Curly braces designate synonyms, square brackets designate the Include On Export attribute. There isn't a way to designate the attributes Export Containing Keywords or Export Synonyms.
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Ronald May

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To John Verme, (first comment) I would prefer to be able to do this all withinLightroom, rather than have to invoke a test editor and the use of intermediate files - principle of parsimony.
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To John Ellis - if I cannot delete keywords, or fix spelling mistakes (which happen) or rearrange the hierarchy, then this whole effort- export - edit - import...has very limited usefulness, IMHO.
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To John Verme (second post) First, to answer your question...I am using the term "categorized" to refer to keywords that have a parent, i.e., they exist inside a category, for example Bird>Owl>Grey Owl...Owl is categorized within Bird and Grey Owl is categorized within Owl. In comparison, Bird is an uncategorized keyword because it has no parent and thus sits at the top of the hierarchy, as well, any keyword that does not have an assigned "parent" is uncategorized - hope that clarifies things. I run into this problem when I introduce a new keyword, for example African Fish Eagle, when I first use it, it ends up somewhere in the list of keywords starting with the letter "a". I then have to move it into the Eagle Category under the Bird Category - I did not know about the use of ">" to place things in a hierearchy - I do not seem to be able to find it in any of the books that I have...learn something new everyday!

Here is what I would like to do...take my current key word list and "edit" it so that all my keywords that are uncategorized or currently orphaned, can be placed under the hierarchy of their correct parent. This would presumable involve moving them around within the "exported" list, providing them with the proper "parent" by placing them within the parent "list" and indenting them appropriately, but if I understand John Ellis' posting correctly, this sort of processing is not currently possible. I do not want to change "parents", I simply want to place new keywords, that are currently orphaned into their appropriate place in the hierarchy and/or establish additional hierarchies, as required, if this is at all possible.

It is also unclear to me from reading the URL that you posted how {} play into the control of the exporting.

You note "But, you can do much of what you require with the existing UI and import/export. " leads me to my major question...given that this "feature" will probably not become part of LR4, is there a discussion of this whole process somewhere on the web, that is simple and straightforward.

Thanks guys for you replies and for sharing your insight.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Do you know that in the LR Keyword List pane on the right-hand-side, if you drag keyword A onto keyword B, A's parent will now be B? You can use this technique to give all your orphaned keywords parents.

Unfortunately, as described in other posts here, the dragging can be really fussy when you have a very large keyword list -- the autoscrolling is too fast and jerky.
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Ronald May

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Yes John, I am aware of this aspect and this is how I have been building my parent -> child -> grandchild relationships to date, but as you have noted, dragging things up and down a list is a pain in the @$$ and is really a very inefficient way to do things - far better to be able to have an on-board editor of some sort. LR's ability to manage digital assets, process raw images and such is just great in my opinion, but with out a decent "keyword" handling ability, it is like taking a high-powered sports car and driving it around in second gear - not really something I would do.

Even if all "new" keywords were dumped at the top of the " existing stack" so you could take them and run them down the stack to their "correct parent" this would, in my opinion, be a very small step in the right direction. As it stands now, I have to find them in their alphabetical position and then "drag" them up or down the list to assign them to their correct parent - as you have indicated, this is very fussy and to me, as noted, a pain in the....'nuff said...
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Rob Cole

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Pre-filtering keywords before drag and drop makes it far less unwieldy to restructure keyword hierarchy. This might help a tiny bit in the mean time...
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Ronald May

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Agree - I think, but I am not sure exactly what you mean by "pre-filtering. Is this where you do somthing like this: Grey Owl>Owl>Birds when assigning keywords?
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Rob Cole

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I meant, if you are dragging bird to animal in the keyword list, then put "bird animal" in the keyword list filter box, so the source and the target will be nearby so you don't have the fly-away scrolling to contend with.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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A while ago I looked into writing a plugin that would provide more efficient keyword editing for large keyword lists, but unfortunately, the LR plugin SDK doesn't provide sufficient capabilities. In particular, you can't change the parent or name of a keyword, and you can't set the attributes Export Containing Keywords or Export Synonyms.
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Rob Cole

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See related idea for adding support to SDK for keyword editing/management: http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
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Ronald May

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To Rob Cole, I think I understand what you mean by putting things in the key word filter box, but this is really a work-around and doesn't really do what I would like to see happen. I still haven't quite worked out in my own mind, how this will work, but that is probably because I am really not sure how some of this "key word" functionality works yet. Maybe part of the answer lies in contstructing appropriate keyword sets, whatever they might look like.
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To John Ellis, I wondered if someone had written a plugin for adding keyword editing functionality to LR, but I was not able to locate anything with a Google search, now I understand why. Thanks.
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To Rob Cole, thanks for the link, I will have a look at it.
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One of the things that came to mind this afternoon as I was editing my keywords and removing some junk created by spelling mistakes, etc., is that when you click on a keyword you get a panel that asks you effectivley - "what do you want to do with this key word" - one of the choices is "edit". It occurred to me that maybe if they added some functionality whereby you could assign a "parent" to a key word in the same way that you can assign synonyms...might solve some of my frustrations with the current system - just a thought, I mean if you can assign "synonyms", how hard can it be to assign a key word to a "parent" without having to go through all this child>parent subterfuge you do when you assign keywords. I know it is probably not simple - I was a programmer in my misspent youth - but with today's object oriented approach - it should be a lot simpler tha it was before OO approach.

Anyway, I think we have flogged this thing into the ground for now, but I would still like to know if any of you know of a decent website that contains a relatively simple-minded treatment of this whole keyword functionality. Thanks to all for the feedback - this has been a learning process for me.
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Rob Cole

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KeywordConsolidator may help. The user interface is not at all what you want (its an endless sequence of dialog boxes), but its what I used to consolidate my keywords back when they were unconsolidated ('bout time to do it again if you want the truth, but its not fun...).
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Ronald May

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Thanks Rob. I will download it and give it a try.