Lightroom Classic: Keyboard Shortcut to edit single filename

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  • Updated 4 months ago
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When reviewing files in LR, sometimes all I want to do is edit the name of a single file.  In other DAM apps and file browsers (including Bridge), F2 initiates such an edit.  In LR, it brings up a drop-down box with many options, none of which provide the ability to just add a letter or word to the existing filename.  The most commonly given solution to this is to edit the filename via the Metadata panel, but doing so is extremely unnecessarily cumbersome:

*Editing a filename in LR: Use the mouse to navigate to the metadata panel -> click to expand it -> click into the FileName field -> type the name -> enter -> return focus to the main library.
*Editing a filename in any other software: F2->Type->Enter.

Anytime you have to move your hands from the keyboard to the mouse, it's cumbersome. And because there's neither a keyboard shortcut to activate the filename field (similarly to Control-K activates the Keyword field) nor a relevant menu item, it even seems to be impossible to fix this via addons (like i.e. Keyboard Tamer).
 
Lightroom's documentation frequently reminds us that we should always manage files from within Lightroom...but when simply editing a filename requires you to fiddle with the mouse, I always find myself just going back to Windows, doing all my file management, then when finished sorting I return to Lightroom & re-Synchronize the whole folder.

Again, I would emphasize that literally every other piece of file management software I've ever used can rename files solely with the keyboard. Is there some shortcut that all my searching has simply failed to turn up?

Note: This was originally pointed out as early as eleven years ago, here: https://forums.adobe.com/message/10266431#10266431
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Metal450

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Posted 4 months ago

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Bob Smith

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In Library module under Metadata... the first field in my default view (Exif and IPTC) is "File Name".  Simply edit it as needed.  I had the same frustration as you for ages until I realized this simple and obvious method.

Bob Smith
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Metal450

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Clearly stated above: "The most commonly given solution to this is to edit the filename via the Metadata panel." Did you read my listing in full?  This is about the lack of a way to do this with the keyboard, not the lack of ability to do it at all.
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Bob Smith

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I realized that about the time I hit post.  Sorry about that.  I was frustrated by the keyboard shortcuts that brought up the full file renaming dialog for ages before I figured out I could just do it  quickly in the metadata panel.  I thought that's what you were referring to.  I rarely rename a single file so its not a pressing concern but I see your point now.

Bob
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TangCanada

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F2 /Filename-custom nane
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Metal450

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F2/Filename-custom name gives you a blank field where you have to retype the whole existing name from scratch. Equally as cumbersome. If you want to just add a character to the end, you should not have to manually retype the entire existing filename. And it doesn't even show the existing name as reference, so if that dialog obscures the photo you're renaming behind it, you have to F2->select 'custom'->move the dialog so you can see the file behind it ->retype the filename->enter. Instead of just F2->add characters->enter.
(Edited)
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TangCanada

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I do it all the time... F2, arrow key down until filename-custom Name, tab to focus the textfield, type your custom name.
Below the textfield is an example of how your rename will look. Mine only shows the number in the filename.
My files are named K1_0001.dng in camera
example only shows 0001-untitled.dng (untitled is what is changed when you type in textfield.)
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Metal450

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Again: F2/Filename-custom name gives you a blank field where you have to retype the whole existing name from scratch. Are you telling me that for you, this comes up with the existing name pre-filled? For me it doesn't.  So for example, if the filename is currently i.e. "0050 - sampleName.jpg" and I want to change it to "0050 - sampleName (note).jpg," I have to retype the entire name manually from scratch. If the original name is obscured behind that dialog, I have to move the dialog over so I can see the original name while I retype it.  Rather than just pressing F2, "end," and just adding "(note)" (like in Windows/Bridge/Irfanview/all other software).

If when you press "F2" the dialog comes up with the existing name already there and ready to edit, then it's definitely not behaving the same for me.

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Don Dement

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I have some of the same frustrations as Justin. I've been telling my students that Lightroom, just like almost all other editing programs, uses F2 for renaming. Then I just hope there aren't any complaints based on how poorly this is implemented.

F2 does show the default filename on the screen, but selecting "edit" takes the user to the data field {filename} which can't itself be text-edited. The present name appears above the top of the field name window, but it's not swipeable to copy/paste.

As above, this requires that you custom-retype the whole name. In my case it will contain 15-25 characters: the folder name, a sequence number, the date and the adjoining hyphens - all of which have to be carefully typed again except for, say, a single-letter or number augmentation. In my view, not well thought out.

Why not enable the initial drop-down box with the present filename editable? Simple fix.
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Metal450

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Exactly :P
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Damien Husen

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I also find this extremely frustrating. In my case, I can't automate file naming due to labeling multiple angle views, for example 15a, 15b, 15c, etc.

Not only is manually entering names the slowest part of the workflow, but when you select the File Name field it automatically selects the file extension as well. This seems completely insane, as I would never change the file extension in Lightroom and can't think of reason someone would. The whole process is so overlooked by Adobe. 
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TangCanada

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Just so i wasnt remembering things, I just tried it to be sure.
My files are named K1_0001.dng (K1 pentax is one of my cameras, each camera I own has a designation in the filename so I know which camera shot which)
So 0001-untitled.dng shows as the example lightroom shows as rename.
I then type custom name and untitled is replaced by whatever I type.
No way for me to attach screenshot.
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Metal450

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No. You just happened to select a rename pattern that generates a number similar to what you had before.  Start with an image named "this is a test image name.jpg", and there is no way to rename it to "this is an image name (hello).jpg" or to "this is an image.jpg" without retyping it from scratch.

We're going way off-topic here, the point is simply: it doesn't behave like a normal rename UI.  Corner-cases where the starting filename follows a similar pattern to one of its available patterns do not negate that fact.

(Edited)
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TangCanada

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You said about LR rename dialog - "none of which provide the ability to just add a letter or word to the existing filename" - I gave you the solution, and you do not have to retype the old name.

I too had that frustration when I first started with LR 3. I decided to play with the rename dialog and save various rename combos for different cases.... the dialog has an option at bottom to edit and save your custom rename pattern.

You seem intelligent, play with the dialog and make it work for you, Adobe aint changed it in 11 yrs, maybe theres more to it than we think and complaining may not help.
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Metal450

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>>complaining may not help.

The purpose of this site is to point out bugs/shortcomings so they can be rectified.  If nobody "complains," then Adobe won't know what needs to be fixed.

>>I gave you the solution, and you do not have to retype the old name

Again, that is not a solution - it only works if you have very specifically-formatted existing filenames that follow a predefined pattern. Which every filename does not.

There's a standard form of rename dialog that every single piece of software follows, and there's a reason: it's functional.  The lack of such a functional dialog in LR is the issue I'm reporting here.

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TangCanada

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You seem stuck on wanting something Adobe may not even entertain in both our lifetimes.. there may be reasons only they know.

You said about LR rename dialog - "none of which provide the ability to just add a letter or word to the existing filename"

I will tell you again (and the others who will be looking for the solution)... that I gave you the solution above to add (prepend or append) just a letter or word to the filename, and you do not have to retype the old name.... I am responding to your original gripe by keyboard only. 

The only reason why I am even entertaining this is that you seem bent on insisting it cannot be done, its ok to mislead yourself but you are misleading others and that is not ok...

I am telling you that it is very easy to be done by keyboard only .....
and you do not have to "have very specifically-formatted existing filenames that follow a predefined pattern"

Take it or leave it.... but I do it all the time (because I spent time learning the dialog)

But now you have changed your requirements midstream - wanting to start with an image named "this is a test image name.jpg", and rename it to "this is an image name (hello).jpg" or to "this is an image.jpg"  - I dont know of any camera that will give you those kinds of names.

And if you use camera generated filenames and use the rename dialog you wont have a renaming problem henceforth.

You can either keep dreaming up scenarios that is not friendly to the dialog or go learn the dialog properly and make it work for you... and when you see that your original requirement is simple to achieve then come back here and be man enough to say you prefer complaining insted of learning to use whats there.
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Metal450

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>> You seem stuck on wanting something Adobe may not even entertain in both our lifetimes..

That very well may be the case. So then I guess I just shouldn’t bother to mention it here, or to try to clarify its usefulness/necessity?

 >> there may be reasons only they know.

This is purely a matter of UI design. Are you really suggesting that there’s some reason why they cannot have a hotkey to highlight the filename input box (like Ctrl-K does for keywords), or why there couldn’t be an option in that dialog with the existing name pre-filled so it can be easily edited, or why there couldn't be a 2nd 'simple rename' option that implements the same rename mechanism as literally every other software (including even LR itself when it comes to renaming folders)?  I honestly can't imagine what you're even suggesting with this...

>> But now you have changed your requirements midstream - wanting to start with an image named "this is a test image name.jpg", and rename it to "this is an image name (hello).jpg" or to "this is an image.jpg"  - I dont know of any camera that will give you those kinds of names.

 ...Um, did I say *anything* about only wanting to rename images that come directly out of a camera?  No, I did not. What I said, as you reiterated, is “the ability to just add a letter or word to the existing filename.”   “this is a test image name.jpg” is an example of an existing filename. “this is an image name (hello).jpg” is adding a word to that existing filename.  Precisely my requirement from the very first post.  Never changed.  You seem to have made something up about “only images out of a camera.” That was you adding a stipulation to my requirement, not me changing it.  

>> and you do not have to "have very specifically-formatted existing filenames that follow a predefined pattern" [...] And if you use camera generated filenames

So you’re saying that you don’t have to have specifically-formatted filenames, but then...that you have to use camera generated filenames. Which are specifically-formatted. Seems to me a perfect contradiction of your own statement from a couple sentences earlier.

>> You can either keep dreaming up scenarios that is not friendly to the dialog

I provided an example filename that was a bit more terse than my real-world naming, but since you’re being so weird about how this is such an “dreamt-up” or unrealistic scenario, I’ll give you an exact, real filename I had this problem with. This is not dreamed up.  This is exactly what happened. 

Current name: “17-10-12) 152916 Tanzania – Serengeti Day 1 - Elephants (DJI).jpg”

I would like to quickly rename this to: “17-10-12) 152916 Tanzania – Serengeti Day 1 - Elephants + Hippos (DJI).jpg”

I performed a bulk-rename of my photos from that day to get the first name above.  Later upon more careful review, I decided to add a couple more specific descriptive words to a couple individual photos, like the one listed.  In Windows and every other application on earth, I can just hit F2, then use the keyboard to move around & add/remove/replace characters. You seem to keep insisting that if you just “properly learn the dialog,” you can do this in LR too.  How about this: you provide a screen capture of performing this exact rename scenario without retyping any of the existing filename and only using the keyboard, I will concede that you are 100% right.  If you cannot, then stop misleading people.  And once again, note that this is exactly my original requirement.  Use the keyboard to "just add a letter or word to the existing filename" (without retyping it from scratch).  

>>when you see that your original requirement is simple to achieve

Please provide a video - I'd love to see how simple it is, as I'm sure others would too.

>>then come back here and be man enough to say you prefer complaining

Aww, damn - I guess you got me!  That’s why I’m here.  It’s my favorite pastime to make up complaints.  :P

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Rick Spaulding, Champion

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Hi Justin,

I hope I haven't missed anything but what do you think of this?:

1. Choose F2
2. Under File Naming choose Edit
3. In the Preset dropdown choose Filename
4. Type your appended text after "Filename" in the window below
5. Click Done

It's not very elegant or efficient but it works. If you append filenames with the same text often you could save it as a Custom Preset.

Does that help?

Rick
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Metal450

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When I select "Filename" in the dropdown, I do not have anywhere to type any text in that dialog.  Screenshot: https://www.screencast.com/t/eoBltJ6ZG.
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Rick Spaulding, Champion

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Hi Justin,

You first have to select "Edit" like this:



Then select Filename like this:



Then type your appended text in the window below like this:



Does that help?

Rick
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Metal450

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Ah, I see.

Yeah, I guess that much more cumbersome workaround can technically done with the keyboard:

F2->Pgup (opens the dropdown)->Up (selects edit)->Enter->Tab, End (to get the cursor to the end of that field)->Type.

It still feels seriously unnecessarily long-winded when the universal standard is just "F2->Start tying." And also far less versatile, as while it can technically be used to add characters/words as per my post, there's no way to make any correction to the existing name.  (I'm sure TangCanada will jump on me and say "AH SEE YOU CHANGED YOUR REQUIREMENT!!," and while I'll concede that I didn't *explicitly* state it should be possible to edit/remove characters in addition to adding...I guess I just didn't enumerate those cases separately as they seem to be obviously included in the basic ability to "rename a file.").

But yeah, this workaround could indeed be used as a roundabout way to add, but not edit, a filename...

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Rick Spaulding, Champion

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Yeah, I wish you could just right-click the image and have the name field appear...
Although a keyboard shortcut for that would be cool too! 

I'll change your post to an Idea so it gets logged as a feature request and we will see if anyone else agrees with us.

Cheers!