Lightroom Classic: Zombie keywords can't be deleted

  • 9
  • Problem
  • Updated 1 year ago
  • Acknowledged
  • (Edited)
In LR 7.0.1, re-reading metadata from a photo can create a zombie keyword that can't be deleted from the Keyword List.  This behavior does not happen in LR CC 2015.12.

To reproduce:

1. Create a new catalog.

2. Import a photo that previously had the keyword A assigned to it and saved to its metadata.

3. Observe in the Keywording and Keyword List panels that A is assigned to the photo.

4. With the photo selected, select A in the Keyword List panel and click the "-" button to delete it. Observe that the keyword disappears, as expected.

5. Do Metadata > Read Metadata From File, and observe that A comes back to the Keywording and Keyword List panels again, as expected.

6. Select A in the Keyword List panel and click the "-" button to delete it a second time. Observe that A does not get deleted from the Keyword List.  

I haven't found any way to get rid of these zombie keywords -- restarting LR, assigning them to new photos, exporting as a new catalog, deleting preferences, etc. don't work.

Here's a video demonstrating the problem:

Tested on LR 7.0.1 and LR CC 2015.16 / MacOS 10.12.6.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Posted 2 years ago

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Alan Harper

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I just had a zombie keyword. I can't remember the exact sequence, but I think I renamed it, moved it to the top of the hierarchy, quit and relaunched, and then I could delete it. But, not knowing much about them, there could be different species of zombies, and different kinds of silver bullets for each.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Following Alan's suggestion, I was able to delete the zombie keywords by creating a new top-level keyword "Temp", moving the zombies as subkeywords of "Temp", and then deleting "Temp".  Thanks Alan.
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Sunil Bhaskaran, Official Rep

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Thanks for reporting it.
We could reproduce it.
We are investigating.

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Dan Hartford Photo

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Same problem.  Was able to work around by using Alan and John's suggestions.  Still a bug though
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Don't forget to me-too vote on it.
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Colin Killick

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Thanks Alan & John. I keep an orderly keyword hierarchy and there's nothing worse than importing some images and picking up an infection of dozens of ridiculous keywords (the last lot were in German), several of which invariably resist deletion. It would also be useful if there was a way of deleting unwanted keywords en masse instead of one by one.
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Robert Cullen

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Exactly what John Ellis describes above
Delete en masse....
The work-around method-
- create a hierarchical (is that the correct word?) 'parent' keyword.
- Use Ctrl+Click to select multiple unwanted keywords, (ie. highlight several)
- Drag all the unwanted keywords (all selected) onto this 'parent' keyword
- Delete the parent keyword.
All the keywords within the 'parent' will be deleted.
Easier to do than explain! but yes if a Right-click could delete all selected keywords- that would be a step, or two, easier again.

Another hint is to have a 'parent' keyword that is marked to "put new keywords inside this keyword",  then any new keywords you do not want are all neatly in the one hierarchy. Those you want to keep can be moved elsewhere.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Note that this bug also occurs when you import a photo that already has keywords stored in its metadata.  Those newly imported keywords become zombies and can't be deleted (without using the workaround).
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Same problem. My zombies are from when I imported a group of photos that were mostly of the same subject so I assigned the same two keywords to all of them. After import, when I tried to delete those two keywords from the few photos which didn't need them, I couldn't do it. I could ADD keywords, but not delete.  
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Wendy Elphinstone

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Same problem, except every time I add a keyword, any keyword, my zombie keyword 'scribble' gets added to my keywording, yet it is not in my keyword list... This is so frustrating... I'm wasting so much time trying to work around it.  I try to just not worry about it, but it still really, really annoys me!!!