Lightroom: Exact text match in smart collections and filters, including matching spaces

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  • Problem
  • Updated 5 months ago
  • Acknowledged
  • (Edited)
Is there really no way to search metadata for a term that has spaces in it? e.g. "brown hair".
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Rob Cole

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Posted 8 years ago

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Anders Sorensen

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When Adobe started cloud subscriptions, we were told it would lead to more and faster improvements in the software.  The problem with the search in Lightroom has been going on for years, but Adobe still has done nothing about it. Adobe is for what ever reason, ignoring it.  They seem to be putting whatever development effort they are making in Lightroom into the photo processing area, but Lightroom is supposed to be a database management system too and far too little attention is being given to that aspect of the program.  I can't remember that last time they made an improvement in that aspect of the program.  Database management is what sets Lightroom apart from Bridge.  Adobe needs to pay more attention to it.
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Damon Crane

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Yes. This a thousand times over. How can they be so good at something so complex but have such a horrible database management system. The mind boggles.
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James Harvey

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Quite.  If I wanted a top of the line photo processing program, I'd spend all my time in Photoshop.  This goes double for the mobile Lightroom app, where I don't want to process my shots on the non-colour-corrected screen of an iPhone, but I would  quite like to get on with keywording, titling and rating...
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Anders Sorensen

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I agree fully.  I have no use for lightroom mobile, small screen, not color corrected.  It is a solution looking for a problem.
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Neil Tonge

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Can we try and get more people to vote on this page. The more "1 ups" we get on it then the better chance we have of the issue getting resolved.
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Damon Crane

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Any progress with this awful flaw in your software Adobe?
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James Harvey

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Dear Adobe: could we get this fixed, pretty please...?
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Anders Sorensen

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Adobe, Adobe, wherefore are thou Adobe if not to serve thy customers?  Is anyone at Adobe reading this thread?  Could someone from the company please give us an answer to this problem?
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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Either there is something incompatible with how LR's database engine works and doing these type of searches isn't easy, or Adobe has not prioritized making this sort of change. 

Even if Adobe is working on it (and they'd never tell the public what they're working on until it's ready) I'd guess something like this would not happen in the middle of a version series, though, and we're up to LR 6.5/2015.5, so maybe LR 7 or LR 2016 (if those are the next versions) but not before. 

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Anders Sorensen

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I am quite sure it is the latter.  This type of text search is basic stuff that is included in nearly all database management systems.  Adobe has not given this part of the produce a high priority since the problem has been around for years.  Having done some programming myself, I can tell you it is not that difficult to do.
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William Warby

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It is definitely the latter. I'm a software architect and I can tell you for certain that this would be one of the easiest things in the world to add. Lightroom's .lrcat file is actually just an SQLite database file in disguise - the application simply queries the database using SQL, and from memory I'm pretty sure the tables are structured such that keywords are stored in a relational table rather than as a comma separated string the way they appear in the UI, which would make it trivially easy to query the database for strings containing spaces, and the UI changes required to implement the feature would also be very simple.

Clearly nobody who has any influence over product specification is looking at this thread, otherwise they would have at least responded to the request. Perhaps there are other more effecting ways of communicating the requirement to Adobe we should look into?
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Patrick Philippot

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I'm also a software engineer and I confirm that fixing this kind of issue is a matter of minutes.

This bug belongs to what I have called the "permanent bugs" family. They are here since years and they will never be fixed. Nobody cares. They have become a product's signature. They belong to it. If they were fixed, Lightroom would no longer be Lightroom. More seriously, the mere idea of priority list is the basic reason for which they will never be fixed : there will always be a more urgent major bug to fix. They will never reach the top of the list. There are dozens of such bugs in Lightroom. So commenting about the priority list doesn't make sense.

Actually, there should be two different teams (persons?) dedicated to fixing bugs. One that would take care of urgent bugs, those preventing the product to be used normally and one fixing those minor, so irritating bugs that can be quickly fixed. This team should start working with the bugs at the bottom of the list.
(Edited)
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Remco Douma

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Coming from Aperture, I'm flabbergasted that this isn't supported by default. I can't imagine how the design process of this feature could leave something like this out... Anyway, I voted, but given that this post is 5 years old it seems like Adobe couldn't care less. Quite ridiculous, really.
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John Long

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled keyword search for two words with space.

LR needs facility to match "exactly" the keywords being searched for. Often use two words like small pearl bordered when there is also a different species as pearly bordered. searching doesn't allow them to be separated and brings up both lots. This is a fault in my book and need to be bale to search for two words with spaces in between.
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John Long

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I've received responses from John R Ellis and Simon Chen and can't answer on the links provided as closed.
I have used the "contain words" but this doesn't change the search result. I put in "pearl bordered' and search brings up "small pearl bordered" as well. This means a lot of sifting through to get to what I want. the whole idea of a search is to find exactly what I want. This use to be a search in Aperture I believe where you can search for "exactly" and this is what is needed in LR.
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Damon Crane

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Yeah, the search function and folder organisation features are beyond embarrassing. It's a shocker really. Not fit for managing a large database of images. Seems Adobe don't monitor their own forums though.
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robgendreau

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Folder organization?
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Damon Crane

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Exactly! Catalogues, the indexed file structure is shambolic. You can't edit anything quickly and you can't scroll through a list of names without it buffering. So poorly designed.
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robgendreau

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That's kinda the whole basis behind Lr. It was designed to be modular like that.

Perhaps you'd like Bridge better; it was designed differently, for things like very rapid browsing through folders.
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Patrick Philippot

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Still not fixed in 2015.9.

Anyone at Adobe needing an SQL course ?
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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I have updated the bug to reflect the recent information. 
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Anders Sorensen

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Did you mean to say Blog?  If so, how do I access the blog?
(Edited)
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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No. I meant 'bug'
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Trevor

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Need exact match for collections.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled When creating a Smart Collection inside a Collection Set, the Smart Collection sh....I switched to Lightroom from Aperture - reluctantly to say the least.

Aperture had the ability to limit Smart Albums to filtering a specific album. This rule gave a drop down list of all the available Albums. Pretty simple and straightforward. And best of all, IT WORKED! Heck, even the new Photos app gets this (a screenshot of it is attached).

In Lightroom, in theory, you can limit a Smart Collection to a specific Collection or Collection Set, but it doesn't seem to work constantly.

PLEASE allow Smart Collections to filter via Collection Set.

PLEASE allow the "Collection" filter in the Smart Collection set to be set to "is" (as seen in the attached Photos.app screenshot). If its not an exact match, then the Collection/Collection Set doesn't get included. Including text in quotes does not perform the expected operation.

It shouldn't have to be a trial and error operation to do something which could be SO simple.

This makes Smart Collections a complete pain in the bum to use on Lightroom.

It would be amazing if Lightroom management could know that even the small things matter. 





Note: This conversation was created from a reply on: Lightroom: Smart collections missing criterion for "Collection Set".
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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You can usually work around the lack of the Is operator by using Contains All rather than Contains.  The Contains operator matches if the field contains any of the words (e.g. "Hawaii" or "1998"), whereas the Contains All operator matches only if the field contains all of the words (e.g. "Hawaii" and "1998").   

There are common use cases where Contains All isn't sufficient, of course.  And we all agree that LR's text-matching operators are ill-conceived.
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robgendreau

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Yeah, we shouldn't have to hunt around for terms to include as text or have to design stuff like collection names for easy text searching. Lr should give us drop-down menus with the actual items, whether it be collections, cameras, lenses, etc. But we've nagged about this forever. And I would love to be able to save filters as a smart collection as opposed to a filter.
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Anders Sorensen

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One thing you have to watch out for using "Contains" or "Contains All" is they do not match just complete words, but will match parts of words as well such as if you search for the word "Red" it will also return words like "Cleared" because "Cleared"  has the letters "red" in it.  To get only complete words returned, use "Contains Words".  Unfortunately none of Lightroom's text search routines give the expected results all the time, and Adobe, now that it has gone to a subscription business model, does not seem to feel any need to do anything about the database capabilities of Lightroom.  That is pleasing customers is no longer their highest priority.
(Edited)
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"To get only complete words returned, use Contains Words."

Excellent point.  After seven years, I still forget the differences between Contains, Contains Words, and Contains All and have to look them up: https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/help/finding-photos-catalog.html

 Contains Words is generally the most useful and the one I recommend (but I got confused this time).
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Anders Sorensen

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I am very disappointed in the new Lightroom Classic CC.  There are no improvements to its database abilities.  When  Brian O'Neil Hughes spoke at Adobe Max 2017 and said he never uses Keywords, that seemed to explain Adobe's attitude towards Lightroom as a database manager.
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Gary Rowe

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Scary !!!
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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I'm sure Brian O'Neil Hughes will also say that an iPhone is a great camera.
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Anders Sorensen

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How serious a photographer can you be if all the information you need about the pictures you have taken is what AI can provide?
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Neil Tonge

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I still can't believe this is ongoing. Please Adobe fix this. Surely you can;t have all these people asking for a feature and for you not to do something about it?
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Patrick Philippot

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 Surely you can
Anyone having a basic knowledge of database programming can. Actually, the right questions are : Do they want ? Do they care ?
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Duncan Moir

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled I would suggest addition of a keyword option of "Contains Only" Is it only me ....

I would suggest the addition of a keyword option of "Contains Only" is it only me or are there others who would find this useful
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Duncan Moir

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled I would suggest addition of a keyword option of "Contains Only" Is it only me me ....

Containing  only the referenced key word and NO others.

Note: This conversation was created from a reply on: I would suggest addition of a keyword option of "Contains Only" Is it only me ....
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"Contains Words" is often a good approximation of exact keyword match, though it sometimes gives false matches.

The Any Filter plugin lets you do exact match on keywords, as well as several hundred other photo fields.
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Duncan Moir

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Thanks for commenting but unfortunately this results in inclusivity not exclusivity
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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As I said, it's approximate -- "Contains Words" excludes more than "Contains" or "Contains All", but it doesn't exclude all the unwanted keywords.
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Duane Anderson

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Pleeeaaassse fix!!  Keywords need to be able to contain white space.  I have integrations with other areas that require the white space.  Consequently, I am locked out of using smart collections until this bug gets fixed.  Implement a regex feature.  Thanks.
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Jim Robertson

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled filtering one word vs multi word keyword.

I suspect there is a simple solution for this, but as an example, if I have a key word "estate" and another one "real estate" and a third "MacKenzie King Estate". When I do a search/filter for "estate" I get all three whether I uses "contain"/"contain all"/"contain words".

Are there special characters I can use to select the images with the single word keyword "estate"??

Or am I stuck with getting them all or dreaming up a new set of one word keywords?

Thanks
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Robert Somrak, Champion

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First of all, merging these post LEAVES OUT a lot of pertinent information from the other posts that seem to be relevant to the issue.  The only way to see them is to follow the links.  Makes it more difficult to resolve issues

Onto the main topic.
This comment is from a linked post.


Johan's above suggestion works great.  As this smart collection filter has been requested in several posts I would think I should be fairly easy to add a choice in the smart collection to do this as in the above scenario.  The filtering programming code is already written as it works as above so it just needs to be added to the smart collections.
(Edited)