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 8 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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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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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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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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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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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.
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Roger Walton

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How about a complete window-size keywording panel - navigating the thin strip is quite tricky with the constant scrolling necessary.
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nahcr

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good idea, especially because the font in the keyword is rather small and cant be changed afaik.
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Monty

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Excellent idea!  I would love to see a larger keywording panel!
Monty
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Sara Hedgpeth

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Keywording is one of the things I've been hoping would be fixed/improved with every succeeding version of Lightroom, but I guess it's just not sexy enough to attract developers' attention. (Or probably not sexy enough to attract management's attention.)

I am also absolutely dying for a keyword tool where I can set standards for all new keywords like don't export 3rd level keywords or don't export synonyms or set all new "people" keywords to not export.

Another feature on my wish list is the ability to click on a photo's keyword symbol and have a popup show up with the assigned keywords - I don't always have the keyword panel open and it would be nice to not have to scroll up or down and click the keyword panel open.

Since this topic is 4 years old I don't hold old much hope for any improvements soon, but I just had to let out my frustration since I'm in the middle of keywording 1000 pictures.
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Paul

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom: Ability to merge two or more keywords.

I know there are other threads on here that document extensive ideas around managing the keywords library.  And I thoroughly support them.  However the combined ideas represent a huge body of work.  In the meantime I (and many others on the forums) would like one very simple change:

  - The ability to merge multiple keywords 
The ugly workaround is to select the unwantedkeyword, display the images , select all, click and drag the wanted keywordonto the images, then delete the unwanted keyword.  This is a long-winded and error pronemethod.  I should be able to select the keywords, right click and choose 'Merge Keywords." (yeah, there would need to be some way to identify the keyword into which the others should be merged)
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Lucinda Lewis

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In general, Lightroom needs much better data management. Merging is critical, but there are many other deficits.
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Erik Stensland

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That would be very helpful!!!
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Assoc Prof karl Reed

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The responses have been very interesting.  my needs were much simpler. I'd like Boolean searches. Plus, default "and" for a list of keywords, i.e. if i have a list k1,k2,...,kn, then, a search is formed for k1^k2^...^kn. This means order is irrelevant and, one doesn't need to know what filed the ki are in. Works extremely well.
I'd also like wild character searches and regular expressions.
The funny thing about all the searches i use, is that NONE of them behave intelligently! I taught file design and database at a uni for a few years, and, it seems none of this has made it into the modern real world!
My main concern with loosing LR on a disc is that I have some 20,000 images which have some kind of LR processing. I don't want to spend the rest of my life reprocessing what I have already done!
Not good!
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Ian M Butterfield

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Karl,
If I need to do those kinds of boolean searches - I use a smart collection.  If you haven't found it yet try holding down the ALT key when clicking "+" button when adding a rule while editing a smart collection.!  ;-)  It allows you to create some very complex rules.  If it's a one-off search I prefix the smart collection name with "tmp" so I know I can just delete it later on.

20,000 images.... I wish that was my concern.  237,000 images in my catalog.  
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Paul

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16,000 images here.  I use Daminion to manage it.
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Ian M Butterfield

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Please can we have Improved Keywording Support - we've been asking for TEN YEARS.....

I know this has been raised many times before, but Lightroom needs better keywording support.  As a professional photographer here's what we need.  There's TEN of them - one for each year we have been waiting for improvements.

  1. We need an easy way to combe/merge keywords - yes it is possible at the moment but it is convoluted. 
  2. We need to be able to cut and paste keywords in the keyword list hierarchy, dragging them around doesn't really work when you have 10,000+ keywords in your list (as I have)
  3. For stock photographers, we need the ability to change the order of the keywords to put the most relevant keywords first on export.
  4. We need the ability to prevent 'third party' images or images which haven't been exported with keywords in a hierarchy from creating new keywords in the wrong places on import.
  5. We need the ability to filter on synonyms as well as master keywords.  Many a time, I have needlessly created a new keyword because I had forgotten the one I wanted was a synonym for a different keyword
  6. Autocomplete should autocomplete on synonyms and then replace with the keyword it is a synonym for.  Again we can't always remember which is the 'master' and which is the synonym.
  7. We need to be able to filter for keywords with spaces in the name if I want to filter for "Tower Bridge" I want to see just the "Tower Bridge" keyword not the keyword for every bridge and every tower that I have created.
  8. Keyword sets should not be limited to 9 keywords each.  It makes no sense. Allowing those sets to be of variable length would make a huge improvement to speed in which we can keyword. 
  9. We need the ability to work in a larger panel with larger fonts.  Managing keywords and metadata in a small side panel with tiny fonts is difficult on the eyes.  Many of us actually spend more time doing keywording and metadata than we do developing our images.
  10. We need to be able to do keywording in on our mobile devices AND have it sync back to LR Classic.  It's just crazy that it's now available there but doesn't sync.  We should have our LR keyword list available to us on the mobile devices.  Some of us have spent years building up custom taxonomies to support our business.

Getting any one of these fixed would make a real difference to professional photographers round the world.  LR is 10 years old - some of us, myself included, were raising many of these keywording issues when we were beta testing LR version 1 and TEN YEARS later there has been no improvement.

I had really hoped that we could have seen at least some progress by this stage.  I am truely disappointed in Adobe on this one.
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Dianne Arnold

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Hear, hear!!
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Paul

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I gave up waiting and over a year ago I switched to Daminion for my Digital Asset Management and I haven't looked back.  I never use LR now.  Anything I can't do in Daminion I do in Photoshop Elements.  Adobe have done sweet f*** all in 10 years despite repeated request - the idea that they are going to listen now is frankly delusional. You can download a free copy of Daminion here and the paid for consumer versions here

Daminion's handling of keywords is superb, although they don't have mobile apps.  I use Daminion for metadata management and Synology Photo Station for photo display (Synology does have mobile apps.
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uwemobil

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I fully support all requests regarding optimizing keywording and keyword-management. There are a lot of usefull and smart requests and suggestions. Ian M Butterfield last one is very good.
A DAM is for me as an enthusiastic amateur with only 25000 pics nevertheless essential. A lot of (good) competitors are lacking of a good DAM or are to expensive. Or if they have a good DAM are lacking of other features or a convenient handling compared to LR.
I always come back to LR because I CAN FIND AND ORGANIZE MY IMAGES - still there is potential for improvement.
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Ian M Butterfield

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I really didn't want this post buried 3 pages into a 7-year-old topic.  So not particularly happy that my thread has been merged into here.

In another attempt to get Adobe's eyes on this issue, I've converted my post into a blog post and open letter to Adobe - you can find it here:  https://www.ians-studio.co.uk/2017/10/an-open-letter-to-adobe-lightroom-keywording-ten-years-of-negl...

I'm trying to get as many people as possible to tweet or share the link on social media to try to get Adobe to pay attention.  If anyone feels they can share it or tweet it - please do so and tag Adobe, or Lightroom or any of the Lightroom Influencers/evangelists that you know.  Let's make some noise.... I'm not giving up on keywording in LR without a fight!
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Erik Stensland

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I have an extensive keyword list and I'm worried that Adobe may be putting its hopes in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) system they are developing for the new Lightroom CC. While I think that will be a helpful tool for finding many of our photos an AI system will never be able to apply all the very specific keywords that I need to track all of my photos. Will the AI be able to keyword the specific name of a little visited country bridge, will it be able to identify a particular trail in the forest, will it know that this photo is of my cousin or that this picture is a good metaphor for confusion?

AI can identify a lot of things, but it will always have limitations and so I really hope that Adobe will commit to improving the keywording system in LR Classic while also developing their AI cloud keyword solution.

One of my biggest gripes about the LR Classic keywording, apart from the overall clumsiness of applying specific keywords to each image, is the way that they get messed up, or rather orphans appear when you edit a photo in another application like PS and then bring it back into LR. In the next few weeks, I need to commit quite a bit of time to try and do my yearly cleanup of the LR Classic keywords. I'm not looking forward to it.  

Please give keywords some further attention Adobe! There are many of us here who rely on them! 
(Edited)
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Ian M Butterfield

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Erik,

I agree with you, as a stock photographer who has a particular interest in photographing ancient sites, when the AI system can correctly identify which Egyptian Pharoah is depicted in the statues I have photographed and tag them with the all the different spellings of the names and correct dynasty they belong to, then and only then will I start to take it seriously.  Until that time we NEED the tools to do it ourselves.  ARE YOU LISTENING ADOBE??

Ian.
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Sara Hedgpeth

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I'll also second the ideas presented by Ian M Butterfield and Erik Stensland in their posts. Although I'm happy to see the few changes made in the Develop module this time around, I am more than disappointed that there were no major changes to the Library module.

The new "Adobe Sensei" sounded interesting until I read that the keywords would not sync with a Classic catalog. Huh!!?? How helpful is that? Sorry, Adobe, but my catalog is never going to live in your cloud!

When I think of the time I have invested in LR over the years it makes me kind of sick to think about looking for a new software tool, but that's what I'll be doing.
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Ian M Butterfield

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Just for the record, Adobe - my thread (https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/please-can-we-have-improved-keywording-suppor...) that was merged into this one is getting "upvotes" (it has gone up to 6 votes in the time this thread went up by 3).  Therefore votes from people who want improvements to keywording are not being reflected in the count on this thread... which I thought was the reason for merging - to combine the votes.   

So not only have you hidden my suggestions on page 3 of a 7-year-old thread (the digital equivalent of filing it “in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.” - to quote Douglas Adams). but the votes people are giving the suggestion are not being counted.

If anyone is interested I've been blogging about this and my post here has become the basis of an open letter to Adobe.  https://www.ians-studio.co.uk/2017/10/an-open-letter-to-adobe-lightroom-keywording-ten-years-of-negl...