Lightroom Classic: Better keyword management

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How about some better support for keyword management. It's very basic now. I would like to do the following tasks:- Delete multiple keywords at once. Not all plugins do handle hierarchy keywords well and add all the keywords to the root level. It's a tedious task to delete them one by one.- Search for duplicates.- Merge keywords. With lots of tricks, it can be done, but it's so inefficient.- Import keywords from within any level in the keyword hierarchy. Now you can only import keywords to the root level.- And for now last but most important: Real external editing of the keyword list. Moving keywords around and doing real heavy reorganization is difficult in LR. I would like to have an editing option like exporting and when reimported all changes are reflected in LR.
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Joop Snijder

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Posted 7 years ago

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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Regarding "Delete multiple keywords at once":

You can do that in LR already. In the Keyword List pane, select multiple keywords with Shift-Click or Ctrl-Click. Then click the "-" button (Delete Selected Keyword Tag) to the left of "Keyword List".

Note that if you right-click the multiple selected keywords and select Delete, you'll only delete the keyword that you right-clicked. This is inconsistent with the way that most programs work and is a design misfeature.

I agree in general that LR's handling of keywords is weak and could be improved.
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TK

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I like the term "misfeature". :) I agree that selecting "Delete" from the contex-menu should delete all selected keywords. Have you submitted a bug report?
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I haven't submitted a bug report. According to the FAQ, this site is intended to supersede the feedback/bug form:

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
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Shangara Singh

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As someone who has a stake in keywording (stock photographer) and has written a Keyword Catalog containing some 28,000 keywords, I think I can add some weight to Joop's ideas.

I would also like to see following:

Separate hierarchies from applied keywords (Bride does this) so that you do not have to scroll endlessly to find your hierarchies.

Show the number of synonyms attached to a keyword (currently, you have to double-click a keyword to see whether it includes synonyms).

Enable spell check in the Edit Keyword Tag dialog and also make it more prominent in the Keywording and Keyword List panels (I'd be surprised if everyone knows that, in Mac OS, you can check spelling).
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Joop Snijder

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Good point Shangara. And I also want to add the ability to type in keywords case insensitive. Every typo results in a new keyword.
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Shangara Singh

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Before Bridge added hierarchies, I had someone write a simple Java app to read and create hierarchies. It sells only occasionally now that both Bridge and Lightroom can read and create hierarchies. However, it does have more options. See attached. I think these could be added to both Lightroom and Bridge.

For my work, I would find option NOT to arrange alphabeticalyl enormously helpful (will start a new thread, I think).

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Greg Vaughn

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I, too, would really like to see the option to put keywords in the order I want them (by relevance and priority for stock photo agents), not alphabetically as LR now forces.
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Louis Sherwin

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Additionally I would like to see the following improvements to the string matching for searching.

1. The "Filter Keywords" entry should follow keyword separator preferences instead of only using "space" as a delimiter.

2. Add some basic string matching meta-characters like, beginning of word, end of word.

3. Add some basic boolean operations. AND, OR, NOT for example.

I have requested all of this many moons ago with a but/feature request form.
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Rob Cole

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Also, please consider an option to prompt before new keyword creation.

And, an option to add the plural (or singular if already plural) as a synonym. And other plural handling support, e.g. if user types "daisies", find "daisy" too, if "plurals too" is enabled.
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Geoff Walker, Champion

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I'd like to see keywording with it's own module to enable many more options and layout. The space available currently is way too small.
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Hamish Niven

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I've been working on the road for a while and have several catalogues set up. The main one on my desktop iMac has many of the hierarchies set up correctly, but I made the mistake on my laptop of not setting the hierarchies up correctly, so now I have

iMac
jockeys
fred
kevin
horses
Desert Orchid
Zenyetta

etc

and on the laptop

Desert Orchid
kevin
fred
jockeys
fred
horses
Desert Orchid
Zenyetta

...
and there are about 120 horses scattered across the "root" and the horse folder / category what ever and a few less of the mess of the jockey.

So far I've wiped all the references of 2 jockeys from my laptop keyword collection (UNGH) due to LR's fundamental awkwardness with its keywording.

I too, think another tab along the top is essential for keywording and metatagging images. It is a subset of the library, but fundamentally important for the vast majority of photographers who keyword their work.
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Sebastien BARRE

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Drag & Droppping keywords in the keyword list is a chore, it's either very slow, or suddenly picks up speed as your reach the top or bottom of they panel viewport. It's also inconsistent; selecting multiple keywords to drag&drop them to another keyword "directory" sometimes work, or only move the first one. Even more puzzling, moving a keyword in the hierarchy suddenly opens other parts of the keyword hierarchy tree, for no reason. You end having to close all these subtrees over and over.
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Rob Cole

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Yeah, its pretty unwieldy. What I do is filter the keywords first, to eliminate those not involved. That way its not so fast. I'm not saying there isn't room for improvement, I'm just sayin' try that as a workaround until then...
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Janet Horton

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It's a very time-consuming task to move many keywords in "Other Keywords" to the same place in the hierarchy, doing them one at at time, scrolling slow then zooming, trying not to over shoot. Please make the ability to move more than one at a time, and fix this speed zooming issue.
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Alan Harper

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The easiest way to directly edit keyword hierachies is to have two windows (or two panels). You scroll the destination panel to the correct place, and then drag from the source panel. (Just like most of us do when moving files between folders). The scroll-up/scroll-down while dragging doesn't work well in any Macintosh program I know, and is especially awful when you have 1000's of words in very small type.

I just realized when I saw Rob Cole's comment, that it is a good thing that LR uses an "or" filter to show keywords. You can show the keyword you are trying to drag, and the container you are trying to drag to at the same time. I hadn't thought of this before. But I like direct manipulation better when it works.
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Rob Cole

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Especially if custom metadata does not make it to xmp come Lr4, I'd also like the ability to distinguish exportable from non-exportable keywords in the keyword form.

(If custom metadata makes it to xmp, I'll just quit using non-exporting keywords, however keywords have an advantage (over custom metadata) of not getting lost should one have to re-import)
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Ronald May

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I would like to add my voice to this request for something to edit/manage key words. At present, as I understand it, any "detailed editing" is best done by exporting the keyword list, making one's changes/edits and then reimporting it and even this approach has some serious limitations. This is like trying to drive a car sitting on the trunk facing backwards and looking into a set of mirrors, in my opinion.

Keywords and the keywording process are such an integral part of Lightroom that not having some decent formal processes within Lightroom to manage them is a severe lack of functionality, so, if there is one thing I would wish for in the next edition of Lightroom (Lightroom 4), is an easier way to edit, update, categorize, etc., my key words. At present, all I seem to be able to do is move them around within the keywording panel on the right side of the Library module and it becomes a real nuisance, for me at least, to maintain this list in any sort of reasonable "order". For example, in keywording birds, I have a top level category "Birds", then a next level category type of birds, e.g., owls, eagles, etc., and then within each of these sub-categories, I might have the actual name, e.g., Grey owl, Bald eagle, etc. If I find a new type of eagle, for example, the African Fish Eagle and use this as a new keyword, then it gets stuck in alphabetical order under the "A" part of the list and I have to move it to the location that I want it - under Birds, Eagles... - so my thinking is - 1) I am not doing the initial keywording correctly, or 2), I am missing something in LR that will allow me to "edit" and organize my keywords much more easily than trying to move them up and down within the existing right-side panel - a process that is currently very frustrating and time consuming.

Anyway, that is why I wish there was some additional functionality within LR to help me deal with the organization of my keywords in a much less time consuming and more time efficient way. I am thinking that some sort of "tabular" option that would allow editing, moving, fixing mispelling, modifying the hierearchy, etc. would probably do the trick. To me, the keywords and the ability to edit/manage them is just as important, if not more so, than being able to do raw cinversion and editing to the images themselves.
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Matthew Wirth

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"If I find a new type of eagle, for example, the African Fish Eagle and use this as a new keyword, then it gets stuck in alphabetical order under the "A" part of the list and I have to move it to the location that I want it - under Birds, Eagles... - so my thinking is - 1) I am not doing the initial keywording correctly, or 2), I am missing something in LR that will allow me to "edit" and organize my keywords much more easily than trying to move them up and down within the existing right-side panel - a process that is currently very frustrating and time consuming."

1.) Right-click (or on a Mac: control-click) on the keyword you want to put the keyword under.
2.) Left/Normal click "Create Keyword Tag inside "Keyword"...".
3.) In the "Create Keyword Tag" dialogue that pops up, under the "Creation Options" section, make sure that "Put inside "Keyword"" is checked. This is probably done automatically if you do steps (1) & (2).
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John Doogan

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Is there still time to include some of these marvelous suggestions in LR4?!?
It seems a shame that the Lightroom team has not taken the opportunity to overhaul keywording and take the lead as an asset management software. I hear many complaints about Lightroom 3s keywording facility but it appears nothing is changing as a new version is rolled out.
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Matthew Wirth

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Some other things I think it would be nice to see for keyword management:

  • Ability to color keywords. This doesn't have to be exportable or otherwise saved to anything but the lightroom database (though that would be nice). The main purpose is to make it easier to scan for certain keyword types/groups when keywording.

  • Private and public keyword sections. Unlike the export options already present, this would (under the current, as of LR 3.6, representation) be two different panels. One panel would default to public/exportable keywords, while the other would default to private/non-exportable keywords. This should include the ability to move keywords/hierarchies between the two, and have their export status automatically (or optionally) changed as appropriate.

  • Some way to notify the user that a keyword other than the top-level is currently the target for keyword creation. This is most useful if the target is currently hidden due to being collapsed inside a hierarchy. One way to do this would be to put a link to the target keyword in the panel itself, in dimmer text, right next to the plus sign.

  • The ability to create custom keyword panels. Private and public categories were already mentioned above, but this would also allow, for example, separating client & photographer keywords, controlled vocabularies & other keywords, etc. Additionally, this could provide finer keyword export selection (instead of the current all or nothing approach) for different audiences. This is most useful in a separate Keyword module, as I suspect it would make it too easy to clutter up the Library module.

  • Keyword version control. Mostly useful in a multi-user context. A limited version of this could also be used as a history across application openings/closings to allow undoing the past n number of mistakes.

  • Keyword definitions. This would be provided via an additional input box in the keyword creation/editing dialogue box(es). While not exported (although, again, that would be appreciated), this allows the user to write a reminder of the purpose/meaning of some of their more ambiguous keywords ("does horizontal here refer to format or content?"). The definition could be read in a pop-up on mouse-over.
    (After writing this, I found the same idea mentioned here.)

  • Easier synonym viewing/control. I can think of two useful ways to do this:

  • One option is to show synonyms in the pop-up mentioned in "Keyword definitions". To include both, the pop-up could be formatted as:
    Definition: definition text
    Synonyms: synonym-A, synonym-B

  • Another option would be to display the synonyms as sub-tags with a different text color/lightness, sorted to the top (in case there are proper sub-tags also present). With this method, one could right click on a synonym, choose the appropriate option from the pop-up menu, and have a keyword editing dialogue box appear for the proper keyword, with the synonym already selected.



  • Keyword cut & paste. Instead of having to drag keywords and keyword hierarchies, also allow cutting them and then pasting them at the top-level or into/onto another keyword. To avoid inadvertent keyword loss, the keywords should not actually be affected (i.e., not removed from their current location) until pasted.
    There should also be an easy way to indicate and cancel the move. Possibly by highlighting or changing the color of the keywords to be moved, and using the escape key to cancel.

  • In lieu of being able to do exact keyword searches, provide user-accessible and searchable GUIDs for keywords, either automatically or at user request.

  • Provide a means to automatically create tags out of certain metadata, such as camera make and model.



These are not strictly keyword management issues, but close enough that I thought they deserved a mention:

  • Allow searching for the exact keyword in collections and other areas. I do not know if this has its own topic.

  • Allow tagging regions in an image with a/several keyword(s). This has its own topic here.



I am not sure if this is already possible (I haven't heard of anything, and according to some random piece of information I saw on controlledvocabulary.com, I suspect it isn't), but if it isn't, I would like it to be:
  • Provide the ability to write plugins to work with keyword servers. This would work best in combination with the custom keyword panels mentioned above. To wit, it would be similar to the Publish collections plugins that each create a sub-panel. The major use of this would be to provide an efficient way to include and update controlled vocabularies by source. For an example use, one could imagine a publicly accessible keyword server for biological classification.
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Matthew Wirth

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There's are some line breaks missing because I failed to read the entire list of allowed tags.
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Matthew Wirth

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Dang Muphry.
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Rob Cole

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Another idea, similar to one of Mathew Wirth's:

Keyword Libraries: I'd love to be able to keep my keywords separated from keywords included with files imported by other photographers, and separate from keywords imported from "controlled vocabulary"...
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Aron Schmukle

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before i worked with lightroom i used ivew mediapro. what i am really missing from it is the ability to merge keywords on import. you could even give priority to the keywords included in the picture or the ones from the catalog, see picture below.
it would be even better if one could choose the particular fields to be imported. similar to the keyword template dialog.
it would be great to get this functionality in LR4.



sorry my english, i am german speaking.
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John Spacey

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I'd like user defined keyword hierarchy, so that if I added Golden Gate Bridge to an image, LR would also automatically add, San Francisco, California, USA
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Rob Cole

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Lightroom already does this. It will only show you "Golden Gate Bridge" in the 'Keywording' box, but if you export it, then the parent keywords will be included, provided they are also enabled for export. You can see the whole hierarchy in the 'Keyword List'.

Just be aware, if you try to search for Golden Gate Bridge, you'll get everything with Golden, Gate, or Bridge in it (Lightroom treats spaces as search separator, instead of part of the search term). To find 'Golden Gate Bridge', you'll need a plugin like AnyFilter or SpaceUrchin.

Rob
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John Spacey

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Hmmm. I've had no problem with using commas separating multiple word keywords. I use 'contains all' when using collections to avoid keywords that are just 'golden'

"It will only show you "Golden Gate Bridge" in the 'Keywording' box, but if you export it, then the parent keywords will be included, provided they are also enabled for export"

That's useful to know, Thanks :) - but I wasn't talking about exporting them, but rather for use within Lightroom itself. I use keywording to make use of the excellent smart collections in LR which allow me to search across a collection of over 150,000 pics

So to clarify my suggestion is to have user defined keyword hierarchy within LR itself. Unless I'm continuing to miss something. I'll have another play in a minute :)
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Rob Cole

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Smart collections will catch parental keywords. Lib filter only shows child keyword (unless parent needed to resolve ambiguity - just like in the 'Keywording' box).

And yes, 'Contains All' helps when looking for multi-word metadata items, but its not a panacea.

e.g. 'contains all' 'black hair' will match 'hairy black ape' too.
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Assoc Prof karl Reed

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In the year 2012, any serious keyword system should support searches using boolean expressions! Please add this!
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Tanja Schulte

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in 2015 also.... but hey you get crappy mobile support now.

i have yet to find someone who uses the mobile app for something productive.....

it ́s a PITA to use LR mobile on a tablet.

but hey adobe maybe gets some instagram user ....
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Hamish Niven

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We have a superb map feature for LR4, we have a book feature that will blow away the competition when other suppliers add their templates to it - which they most definitely will do.
I'm hoping that there will be a fully re-thought and up to date powerful and intelligent key-wording section that makes key-wording viable and simple, that allows moving of 100's of keywords to hierarchies, and picks up similarly spelt / misspelt keywords.
There is such a need for some good keywording and the current iteration - even when opened up as people have indicated is not sufficient, the drag and drop is poor and clumsy.

I'm sure / hoping / wishing that LR4 beta 2 has the keyword section in it.
that would be most wonderful!
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Tanja Schulte

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a book feature nobody with a clue will use.
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Babar_e

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I would also love to have keywords that can belong to 2 hierarchy branch:
for example you may have a hierarchy like that :

People
-----Friends
---------School friends
----------------First grade
--------------------John
--------------------Tom
--------------------Jerry
---------Second grade
--------------------John
--------------------Mickey
--------------------Mini

Here John was both your classmate in first and second grade, so you have him in these 2 branches of the hierarchical tree.

Currently if you assign the first tag
People->Friends->School friends->First grade->John
the second tag
People->Friends->School friends->Second grade->John
is not assigned, I would like an option to specify that these 2 tags are the same and should be synchronised.

This is just an example with name but there are plenty of other cases where I have the problem.

I could change the organisation of the keywords but I would loose a lot of flexibility.

This could also work for keyword that are different:

example (with one way synchronisation - I find this one very useful)

domestic animal
-------my cat Tom

Nature
-------Animal world
-----------mammals
----------------cat

or other example

---sunset photo

---natural light photo

this should be an option, when you create the keyword, you should be able to select among the exisitng one, wich keyword you want to link and which way the synchro should be done (one way or both way or reverse way)

regards
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J Evans

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I have a collection of photos from the local drama group. one of the keywords I apply is the name of the play which could have a number of words. (it is in a hierarchical category as an alphabetical list of the play names under "Play")

I would want to be able to do a keyword filter for just the "play" category. (without having to scroll through every other keyword )

Likewise, I want to be able to display the assigned keyword in the "play" Category underneath prints or in the new books module without any other keywords showing.
- this is in addition to the caption field which I use to list the names of the people showing in the photo from left to right.
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John Spacey

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another couple of things for keywords :

1] can we have a 'Previous' Button please? Often I have to enter ten keywords to an image, when I've just recently added the same ten keywords to a previous image

2] Keyword Sets: Can we have them of unlimited size please? - a limit of nine is very limiting and annoying to have to keep loading seperate sets up
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Rogier Gruys

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I would like to see an improvement to the keyword box on image import as well: I can add keywords on importing images, but there is no way to select keywords from my established hierarchy of keywords. This makes the box useless to most advanced users! I don't see any improvements to keywording in LR4b, which is disappointing.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Agreed that the Keywords box in the Import module isn't that useful.

But immediately after import, all the imported photos will appear as the special source Catalog > Previous Import, and from there you'll have full access to the Library's keyword functionality. Does this not work reasonably well for your workflow?
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Rogier Gruys

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yes, it is something, but it would be easier to add at least some keywords right when I am importing photos. Right now, they might as well delete that keyword box on the import screen...
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DIANNE ARNOLD

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I also don't see any improvements to keywording in LR4b - very disappointing in a major version upgrade.
At the very least, larger keyword sets and the ability to put them in a user-defined order (something other than straight alpha like now) should be implemented.
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Tanja Schulte

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add LR5 and LR6...... next to nothing happend.
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Greg Vaughn

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I also am extremely disappointed that Lightroom continues to force keywords to alphabetical order. This is really sub-optimal and forces stock photographers to bring images into Bridge or Photoshop for keywording.