Lightroom Classic: Custom sort order of keywords (instead of alphabetic).

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Lightroom needs to stop re-ordering our keywords into an alphabetical order. People who are keywording for stock agencies and other purposes need to order their keywords most important and relevant first. Lightroom ruins this for us. I can't believe it's version 5 and Lightroom hasn't figured this out. Lightroom is single-handedly ruining our sales based on keyword searches. Thanks Adobe
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Leigh Williams

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  • frustrated

Posted 6 years ago

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Armin Staudt

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funny, one of the most important agencies who has this "sort-after-priority-thing" is Fotolia. And who bought Fotolia last year? So all people who wants to upload their work to Fotolia couln't use LR for it.
Really funny.
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Laurent Hamels

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Correct, same issue as you have apparently. We're ad and stock Photographer with the major web agencies. We had to switch to a software called Photo Mechanic to do the job.
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August C. Bourré

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I just discovered this issue, and it's extremely frustrating. The entire purpose of hierarchical metadata structures is to create relationships between metadata. To then strip those relationships on export is to remove substantial value/usefulness, and is an absurdly bad practice from a records-management standpoint.

My use-case for Lightroom is admittedly an edge-case*: I use it to manage the photographic output of inspectors on a large-scale public works project. I have thousands (approaching tens of thousands) of photos to manage from a dozen photographers, and thousands of project-determined keywords, many of which are numerical and only meaningful in the context of a hierarchy.

I now have the task of exporting all this data to be worked with in other contexts. I've built considerable redundancy into my system at the filename/folder level, but to allow you to build hierarchical relationships and then not preserve them on export is akin to if Excel allowed you to build a spreadsheet full of formulas to manipulate your data, but only allowed you to export the formula inputs, not the outputs. The inputs have inherent value, but the relationships between them can allow you to create significant, sophisticated value.

(*You'd think there would be a bunch of software solutions for my use-case, but there really aren't. Most projects like this still manage their files by dumping them into Windows Explorer and then just changing the filenames to something descriptive and hoping for the best when you need to find something specific later on. Lightroom was still the best solution within my budget.)

(Edited)
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Lynn Oakleaf

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look into MYLIO software, it works with Lightroom
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Gary Schimelfenig

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Without downloading mylio I found a comment regarding keywording on the mylio site that indicated keyword searches must be in alphabetical order.  I asked the question of mylio about using keywords with images in mylio set in order of relevance to the individual image.  I will report back their reply.
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Amy Vaughn

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Now Adobe's own stock submission program *requires* a custom sort order, they made an official Lightroom plugin that uploads to that stock site, but they still did not make it possible to have a custom sort order in Lightroom so every submission from Lightroom to Adobe Stock has to have all the keywords reordered again after upload? Ugh.
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Magnus Binnerstam

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Yes, this is really annoying! Keywords first entered in correct order in Lightroom . Then Lightroom scrambles them in alphabetic order and after upload to adobe stock they demand them to be set in priority order......... what the........
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Magnus Binnerstam

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Now we got a brand new Lightroom Classic CC but still only alphabetic sort order for keywords..........it ́s  been four years since this request came up and still no response from Adobe!
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John Cothron

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Maintain keyword order for stock agencies.

I already do this in my keywording scheme, what would be REALLY helpful for Adobe to do would be to give us some control over which and in what order keywords are embedded in the image.  This would help tremendously with certain stock agencies.  For one the alphabetical order just doesn't work for the way most of use lightroom.

Note: This conversation was created from a reply on: Lightroom: Support defining mandatory keyword node hierarchy (instead of only val....
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West Katzenstein

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I concur that forced alphabetizing of keywords should not be mandatory.  In my case, I have scanned approximately 1500 historical family photographs, and list the people in the images from left to right in the MS Word table that I have used to capture the information.  I want the keywords to be listed in same order, so future viewers can correctly associate a name with each person.  Perhaps there is a way to trick LR by assigning sequential letters of the alphabet to major keyword headings and use punctuation that LR does not recognize as a keyword separator to separate the names under each heading (assuming such punctuation exists). 
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Maxine Simmonds

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C'mon Lightroom. It is now over 2 years that people have been asking to control their own keywording. A simple toggle - alphabetical or user defined. Please.
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Corinna Haselmayer

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Feature request: Please add a function that I can enter my keywords by relevance ....
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Gary Schimelfenig

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I recently had a pop up survey while in Lightroom or on the Adobe site that asked if I would recommend Lightroom to others.  My reply was to give Lightroom a single star (BAD LIGHTROOM!), out of five, and a direct, succinct explanation that I would NEVER recommend Lightroom to any one under any circumstances as long as the keywording is set to a default of reordering all keywords alphabetically.  Further, I requested the ability to set a custom arrangement of the keywords based on relativity or what ever I require for submission to stock houses I work with, that will remain and not be defaulted to alphabetical by Lightroom upon closing or opening of  Lightroom.
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Richard Whitcombe

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lr 7 Classic - Export keywords in priority order for Adobe Stock.

Its been brought up before and a little crazy its not in the new release so start it again.
Lr7 really needs the ability to export keywords in a custom order and NOT alphabetical order.  Its particularly crazy now as Adobe stock requires keywords in priority order meaning their very own plugin in LR is pointless to use as you still need to log in, repaste the keywords in order before submitting.

As a compromise, how about a custom (adobestock keyword) metadata field where it'll use these in the order they appear on an images EXIF rather than the alphabetical ones?
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Gary Schimelfenig

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Here is my request to and reply from mylio:

Hi Gary,

Thank you for writing into us here at Mylio. I am happy to help.

At this time, Mylio will always store keywords in alphabetical order. Obviously, your use case is a great one and something we didn't keep in mind when we were designing Mylio. The good news is that we've been hearing this request for increasing regularity, so it is bubbling to the top of our to-do list. So, while it isn't something we have immediate plans on changing (it actually changes quite a few things for us) it is something we are discussing internally and are working to find the right time to change.

I'm going to add your voice to the choir of users asking this question as it will continue to assist us in prioritizing, and if I hear anything specific about this coming to fruition I will let you know.

Thank you very much for the feedback.
  


-- Matt @ Mylio
    Mylio Support
    Visit the Mylio Support Site
    
  
Gary Schimelfenig on October 18, 2017 at 11:38pm wrote:


For professional photographers working with stock photo houses, keywording is an absolute critical factor of uploading images to the stock sites. Most stock sites REQUIRE keywords for images be uploaded in order of relevancy to the image being uploaded. Can mylio store and attach keywords in the order set by the photographer to images to be submitted to stock photography houses?
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Wout Helsmoortel

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An Adobe Stock contributor here - Adobe please make this a priority - I now have to reorder everything in your Adobe Stock portal whilst I could have done it in Lightroom where I manage my keywords.
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Roberto Binetti

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Please adobe update Lightroom with Custom sort order of keywords (instead of alphabetic)
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mreco99

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Why are we still waiting for this, it makes Lightroom unusable for all of us who reply on custom sort order for keywords for our work and jobs. This is not a trivial problem for people who work with images all day.
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mreco99

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Any news on this?
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Rick A

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Somebody said above that it is not as easy to implement. 

Sorting requires a special step. "Not sorting" doesn't require any special step.

Keywords are simply strings of text, users should have a setting under catalog preferences to turn off the forced sorting. 
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john beardsworth

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No, the keywords applied to any one image are not stored as a text string. There's a relational database structure where an intermediary table stores a series of image and keyword IDs. To save custom keyword orders would require LR to store additional data and/or make other changes to reading/writing the keyword data at various points (presets, sync metadata, display in panels, writing upon export).
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Rick A

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While the title says "custom keyword orders" what users are really asking for, is "save it in the sequence I typed it".

Given that there's already a linkage table linking the images to the keyword IDs, all that's required, is to use an integer surrogate key or a timestamp column key on that linkage table, and not apply any other sorting on the many-to-many linkage table, when querying the keywords. Then, keywords will be shown in the order in which they are applied to the image because, that's the order in which the entries get added to the linkage table. 

The forced alphabetical sorting indicates that the keyword itself is being used for sorting or is being used an an index, which is a mistake. 
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john beardsworth

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Users often re-order keywords after typing (or using sync metadata, metadata presets, reading from xmp), so it's insufficient to sort simply on the order in which entries get added - it's an extra column There are complications in most of the areas where keywords are recorded, displayed or output in LR, and obviously for the majority of users LR would need to retain alphabetical keyword sorting as its default. While anything can be done, one shouldn't imagine it's simple.
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Graham

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Is it not possible to implement a drag and drop re-ordering of keywords before export which will be maintained and allow the order to be viewable? You can do that in Photomechanic.
(Edited)
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Rick A

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Hi Graham, in a typical application, if reordering is required along with searching and with a sorted display of keywords, the typical way to do it is:

Save the keywords in two formats (a) a blob of text or as a “linked list” with the keyword-IDs separated by a delimiter to use during display and export and (b) add a new sort order column in the linkage table, to allow for filtering

Reordering would entail these parts:
- UI/UX for reordering (especially when dealing with multiple image selection and some keywords present only on some images)
- each time a reordering occurred for one keyword, the the sort order column for all keywords occurring after its old position or new position (whichever is smaller) have to be revised image by image when multiple images are selected
- Revising the linked list / blob of text for each image

In both cases, supporting reordering is more effort than plain “save it as I typed it”, but then we are talking about a team that has built tools like de-haze so it’s not rocket science for them.

I think reordering wont be logically possible if multiple images are selected because one image could have Tag A before Tag B and another in the selection could have the opposite.

It’s up to us users to tell Adobe if we’d be happy with a save-it-as-I-type it approach, or whether we want nothing unless there’s reordering as well.
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David Converse

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There are some bugs in keyword writing and handling between Lightroom, Bridge, and Photoshop. Keywords are actually written two different places in the XMP (dc:subject and lr:hierarchicalSubject) and they don't match between programs. I have written a Bridge script to fix the problem but it doesn't preserve keyword order. Remember, keywords are text that is written to the file. A program reads that text and can process it however the programmers decide (including using parent keywords.) Just because a program shows keywords in alphabetical order does NOT mean that they are written that way in the actual file.

Keywords entered in the Basic tab of Bridge and Photoshop File Info are written to dc:subject but not lr:hierarchicalSubject, while keywords added in the Keyword panel of Bridge are written to both. If some keywords are added in Photoshop or Bridge via File Info and then others added via Bridge Keywords panel, the lr:hierarchicalSubject is not updated. So you have different sets of keywords in the two namespaces. Additionally, if keywords are assigned via Bridge Keywords panel then deleted, an empty lr:hierarchicalSubject tag is left behind. If keywords are added back in File Info->Basic, that empty tag is deleted.

And yes I have filed a bug on the problem.
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Rick A

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@jeffreytranberry

Would it be possible to get your input on this?
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Just FYI, Jeff's out of the office this week and next. But for when he gets back, what kind of input are you looking for?