Lightroom: How can I organize keywords?

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  • Updated 6 years ago
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What's the quickest way to organize a large number of keywords into a hierarchy?

Is there a way to select multiple non-contiguous keywords and move them into another in one step? E.g. I'd like to select Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower, and move them inside San Francisco.

I can highlight multiple keywords, using the Command key on the Mac, but when I click and drag I only get one at a time. This is tedious given that I have 100's of keywords.
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Dragonfly415

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Posted 6 years ago

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jdv, Champion

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You can export your keywords as a formatted text file, edit it and import it back in. There are format rules for relationships and synonyms. There are a few refs out there. Here's one: http://lightroomsecrets.com/2009/04/b...
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john beardsworth

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A lot depends on whether you already have images assigned to keywords. If not, the exported text file is a vaguely acceptable method. If you have keyworded lots of images, it's the slow way. The keyword list filter can be handy in limiting what's shown in the list.
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Dragonfly415

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Thanks for the link to lightroomsecrets. I just exported my keywords and opened the file in Excel. This lis exactly what I was hoping to find. I assume that when I import them back the new list will replace the old one. If I inadvertently delete one, I'm guessing that LR will return it to the list as a standalone keyword, yes?

I'm not sure from Beardsworth's response whether this method works best when the keywords have been assigned to images or not. In my case, they have all been assigned. If the export/import method is the slow way, what is a faster way? (For me this is already a big improvement over dragging keywords up and down through a long list in LR).
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Dragonfly415 wrote, "I can highlight multiple keywords, using the Command key on the Mac, but when I click and drag I only get one at a time."

Are you sure? I'm not in front of my Mac right now, but in the Keyword List pane in LR 4.1 on Windows, you can ctrl-click multiple keywords and then drag them to a new parent. I'd be moderately surprised if this doesn't work in LR 4.1 on Mac.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Dragonfly415 wrote, "I assume that when I import them back the new list will replace the old one."

Unfortunately, the import will create new keywords. You can't use the export/import method to edit existing keywords.

Better keyword management is one of the more popular feedback topics:

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
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Dragonfly415

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I, too, was surpassed that dragging multiple keywords didn't work, I use this function in other programs without trouble. Don't know if it's because I'm still using LR 3. (I can drag multiples when they are next to each other, but not when separated by other keywords). I just ordered version 4 but was planning to clean up my keywords before installing. Maybe I should rethink that.

I will read through the latest link you sent when I get back home later today. Thanks again.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I just tried LR 3.6 and LR 4.1 on my Mac OS Lion. Both of them allowed me to cmd-click multiple keywords, not necessarily adjacent to each other, and then move them to a new parent.

So I think either there's something in the way you're attempting to do or something screwy with your particular installation.

Here are the precise steps I use in the Keyword List pane on the right:

1. Click the first keyword.

2. Cmd-click the second keyword.

3. Release the mouse button.

4. Click and hold the mouse button on the first keyword and drag onto the desired new parent.

Here's a screen shot of the dragging:

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Dragonfly415

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I just tried it again in LR 3.6 and 4.1 and it's working in both. This is exactly the same process I tried earlier when it wasn't working. Another unexplained technical puzzle. By the way it doesn't need to be the first keyword, a click on any one of them will select the group.

I'm still working on setting up a hierarchy in Excel; it's taking a while since I have more than 1000 keywords. I'm a little unsure about what will happen when I import it back into LR. Will it overlay what's in there now, or should I delete all of those in advance?

It annoys me that LR only partially recognizes capitalize words, e.g. if I've defined
Birds and want to use birds instead, it won't let me use the second one until I delete the first, yet it treats them as different otherwise.

Thanks.