Lightroom: Ability to search for Folder Names in Library Module

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  • Updated 5 months ago
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  • (Edited)
Julieanne Kost suggested that I post this feature request for Lightroom here.

Search for Folder names in Library Module. You can search for metadata, file names, keywords, etc. but there is no way to search for folders that contain a certain word (for example "NYC"). I have many folders with NYC in the title. Many are buried in subfolders. If I use the "workaround" that Julieanne and everyone else suggests - smart collections - that dumps hundreds (or thousands) of images, with no indication of which folder they come from, into one big folder. The only way that I know to find all the folders of would be to RIGHT-CLICK ON EACH INDIVIDUAL PHOTO and do "Go to folder in Library". It's faster to just manually go through my hundreds of folder and look.

Thanks,
Charlie
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Charles Seton

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Posted 7 years ago

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P K

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seriously? how is that possible that there is no "search by folder names" option???? how it is that lightroom is so much "deal with" and "workatound" tool? why using it is so damn hard? what about usability? such a shame I have to use Picassa to deal with very basic things Lightroom can not! And Picassa is free and super easy! Why can't I have both, simplicity/usability and advanced options Lightroom is designed for? :(

Yeah, and what else? I have to sign in to be able to post what I just wrote. Pity they let me know about it AFTER I've already wrote the post! USABILITY man, seriously!
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Charles Seton

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Has anyone tried the "Any Filter Lightroom Plug-in"? Does this solve the problem?

Thanks.
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john beardsworth

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Before you (PK) work yourself up into a frenzy, try opening your eyes a little. You just create a smart collection, and there's a folder name criterion. So it might read Folder Name / Contains / NYC.

However, for users with lots of folders, it would be great if the folders panel had a filter box similar to the one in the keyword list.

John
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Rob Cole

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If the built-in folder searching, as John mentioned, is insufficient, definitely worth considering:

* AnyFilter (comprehensive catalog searching, on demand)
* TextMeta (maintains folder path metadata)

Rob
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P K

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John, thanks for your suggestion but I know what smart collections are and they are NOT what I need. I need a quick search which lets me search folders by their names. You must admit that smart collections are not the same as search :)

Some use cases: Maybe today I need to search for "NYC", but tommorrow I might need "muffins" - so I definetely do not need search results to be remembered. And smart collection are persistent. Yes, of course I can remove them. Or edit search criteria. But what for if all I need is a simple search??
In addition I would like to have a list of folders which names match my query instead of having one huge list of photos from all those folders. In other words - I would like to filter folders by their names. Why? Because, lets say, I've been in NYC 3 times. Now I need to find photos from a certain visit, but I don't remember the exact date. What's worse, I have plenty of photos, plenty of folders, and I simply can't find those from NYC! So I want to list all folders related to NYC to be able to view them quickly.
So, as I said. Smart collection is a workaround, but only a workaround. And it's far from beeing perfect regarding my needs... Filtering folders by names seems to be such a basic functionality and so.... obvious! Why isn't it available?
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john beardsworth

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Because an underlying concept is that it's better to categorise and then search a picture collection with metadata such as keywords, IPTC location fields, or map location, not through folders. Right to assume you know this basic stuff?

It's easy enough to create a smart collection each time you need to search by folders - after all, the fact you've made this NYC search once is a pretty good indicator you'll repeat that search in the future, so saving the SC saves you time in future. Or just keep a few SCs that you edit when you have ad hoc queries.

But why is folder not included in the Library Filter / Text drop down box, like folder or copyname? To be frank, it's just one symptom of Lightroom's patchy search and filtering mechanism. It's good enough for most users.
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Kim Letkeman

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"Right to assume you know this basic stuff?"

Such condescension is misplaced because there are pragmatic reasons to use folder names. Some of us like to manage things using folder names so that we can search in explorer / finder etc ...

Three years later there is still no find folder / goto folder in Lightroom. This is a trivial feature to implement, yet the developers ignore basic pragmatism, as you suggest at the end of your comment. Lightroom is the worse for it.
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P K

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Well, probably keywords etc. is a great thing. I intend to use it myself. But since I'm rather new with Lr I have to deal with what I have. And what I have is a ton of pictures... arranged into folders which names are descriptive (luckily ;). I would love to use Lr without having to invest a lot of time to do it "Lightrom way".

I am also familiar with another concept - that there is no way that is the best for everybody. Different people work different ways and have different needs. It's better to keep tools universal, especially if it doesn't cost you much. And introduction of folders filtering shouldn't cost so much - I hope it's something Adobe can afford ;) I'm a developer myself and I stick to the rule that it's better to adjust to people needs than to make them work the way I decided is the best for them. Simple as that.

As for searching NYC - no, it's not usefull for me to keep search results as smart collections. Maybe my use case wasn't convincing for you, but I rarely need to search for the same thing again. I search for photos frequently, but almost every time for something else. I could edit search criteria for s.collection, but again: "what for if all I need is a simple search?? ". Besides, I really prefer to have my folders filtered than having all photos matching certain criteria listed as one big photo stream.

But thank all of you for your help and insights.

Now I'm testing TextMeta - it's also not what I need but it's certainly better than smart collections when you do NOT want to persist search results.
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Jim Burgess

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Searching for TextMeta didn't turn up any software that resembles what you want. What is "TextMeta"? Windows or OS X?
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P K

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It's a plugin that Rob Cole suggested 3 days ago :)
http://www.robcole.com/Rob/ProductsAn...
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john beardsworth

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Lightroom simply doesn't aim to cater for every way of working. There are ways it works best.
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Rob Cole

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P K - I keep a temporary smart collection for use as a turbo-lib-filter (for on-the-fly/temporary smart collections). That won't help with your basic problem, if I understand it correctly, but still...
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P K

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And do not forget to vote for this idea! ;D
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Rob Cole

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Let me see if I've got this straight.

What you want is *NOT*:

* To find all photos coming from folders that match your search criteria.

(which is what any-filter, text-meta, and Lr native allow you to do)

What you want *IS*:

* To find all folders which match your search criteria.

(like the similar capability in the keyword list section).

Yes?, no?, maybe so?

If not yes, then please clarify.

If yes, then the closest you can come, I think, is to run FolderFigure's "Go To Folders In Library" command. I mean, the basic Lr search capability including plugin-powered, finds photos (not folders). It does not however show you which folders the photos came from - but FolderFigure will.

Granted, as soon as you select a single folder, the other selected folders will be deselected, so it's not a panacea - not by a long shot, but it may help: e.g. you can drag all the found photos into a collection, then re-run "Go To Folders In Library" to reselect...

I think if I enhanced FolderFigure to make a parallel collection set when it finds the folders - that would do it, eh? - you'd have a collection set that matches the folder complement that the photos came from - I think that would do it, if I understand the objective correctly. ???

http://www.robcole.com/Rob/ProductsAn...

Rob
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Charles Seton

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I'm feeling encouraged that I'm not crazy if there have been so many comments...

The workaround that I've been using until I figure this out is to use Picasa, which is free. It has a VERY fast search capability. and will search for folders. The additional benefit of Picasa search is that it keeps the photos in their respective folders and you can view all of the folders in succession, without popping in and out of each folder.

Once I've found the photos I need to work on, I go into Lightroom and find each individual folder with the needed photos inside it . It's not great, but it gets the job done.
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Rob Cole

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If you could run a plugin that would translate folder matches into a "mini collection set", would that do it?

e.g. if you looked for all folders containing NYC, the result might be a collection set:

2011/April/first-trip to NYC
2011/September/2nd-trip to NYC
2012/June/NYC in the summer
2012/December/NYC for Christmas...

?

Would you use such a plugin, or would you opt for an Lr native solution or do without...?

Or am I still missing the thrust of your idea/request?

Or have you not understood this post? (its OK, maybe it wasn't very clear...)

???
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Charles Seton

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Rob, thank you for your concern.

I just want to be able to type "NYC" into the text box and have Lightroom bring up all of the folders that have "NYC" in the title, so I can find pictures I took on days I visited New York City. I don't bother with keywords because I KNOW where the photos are, and I have more than ten years of photos in labeled folders that I'd like to access.

I guess that the simple answer is "Yes, I'd like a 'native solution'..."
Until that time, I'll just continue to use my Picasa workaround. It's indirect, but actually works very well...
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Rob Cole

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Fair enough Charles.

I'm sure Adobe has "heard" (or will "hear") your request. But since it may take 'em a few years to implement, if ever they do, it's worth considering what is the best work-around.

The plugin would give you the folder set of interest in the form of a collection set, but it sounds like you've already got a good-enough work-around for now.

Cheers,
Rob
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Tony Bielat

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I've been looking for a folder search tool for a while. Seems absolutely archaic that Adobe doesn't provide this. I switched over form Aperture. Apple has a nice folder search feature in Aperture. Big miss for Adobe on this one.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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See the Any Source plugin -- it lets you search folders by name.
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Lars Daniel Terkelsen

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I too would like a simple way of seaching by folder name.
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Dan Berdal

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Seriously - this is basic! In the past LR has somehow seen folder path name in the metadata, but in LR 5 that is no longer the case. So, if anything, the search functions in LR are getting worse.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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You might be interested in trying my Any Source plugin, which provides fast, incremental search of folders and collections. Not quite as convenient as having it builtin to LR, but I think it gets close.
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Bryn Forbes

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I want something like the "filter keywords" at the top of the keyword list, for both folders *and collections*. I have tons of collections and scrolling through takes a long time
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Rob Cole

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I understand you want native folder-filtering functionality, and you'd probably prefer not to use a plugin for it...

That said, AnySource provides the equivalent functionality, and is worth a look, in my opinion.

Also TextMeta provides folder-path (and folder names) metadata which you can use in lib filters and smart collections. It allows you to filter photos based on the folder they're in, if you really want to select corresponding folders (instead of just having the photos they contain in the filmstrip), then FolderFigure supports doing that.

Again, I acknowledge such plugin workarounds would not be your first choice - still: may be better than nothing.
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Lars D. Terkelsen

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I would like to bring this up again. I feel it is a very basic thing that is missing from Lightroom. Yes there are workarounds, but hey, LR is a database, and you can search for anything except folder names. That feels like an strange exclusion to me.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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To clarify, different people mean different things when they talk about searching folder names:

1. The ability to search for photos contained in folders whose names match specific criteria. Smart collections provide this, built-in to LR.

2. The ability to filter the hierarchical list of folders in the Folders panel in the left-hand column of Library, just like you can do in the Collections and Keyword List panels. Unfortunately, this is not built-in to LR. However, the Any Source plugin provides that capability (among many others).

It's curious that LR 5 added the ability for collections but not folders or publish collections.
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anssik

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Option 2, the ability to filter the list of folders in the Folders panel, seems like a no-brainer.

But, still, after all these years (5 years from this original posted idea) there's no filtering for folders.
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frthrow

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom: Please add filter/search box at top of folders list.

Often you are presented with a large list of folders and you want to narrow it down based on a search for names of the folders.

Could you please add a search box above the folders that let you quickly filter the list?
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Ethan Strell

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I am relatively new to Lightroom, but am also flabbergasted that there is no straightforward way to search for a folder name.  That is the principal way I narrow down my search.  I have thousands of photos in many, many folders.  Even before I started thinking seriously about how to organize photos and even knew the word "metadata," I would name a folder something related to its contents.  Being able to search for that name greatly speeds up my ability to find that folder and those photographs.  Sometimes, through laziness or lack of time, each photo is not keyworded, so the folder name is the only way to go.  

For instance, suppose I know I took a vacation to Paris several years ago, but can't recall what year, and do not want to scroll through hundreds of folder names.  Simply type "paris" in a folder search box and, boom, there the folder is.  

Apple's former Aperture did this search quite well, and it is possible in Bridge and Finder.  Since I would like to use Lightroom to keep track of all of my photos, this seems like a no-brainer.  
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danny.dudek

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled LIGHTROOM: Folders quick search.

I wish there was a quick search / filter for folders.

ie. if I type in "Vienna" it would filter out all folders but "Vienna 2005", "Vienna 2007", "Roadtrip to Vienna" etc.
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sean

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom: Folder search in Library.

I'm wondering why there isn't a catalog search for folder name/dates in the Library module. Wasn't that there at one point? I'd like to isolate folders to work on and find work in my archive hierarchy.
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Ethan Strell

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Folder Search in Library.

Lightroom should include the ability to search by folder name for folders in a given Lightroom catalog.  My main way of organizing photos is by folder.  Each folder generally contains photos from a different event or shoot.  I name each folder consistently, with a date and a short description.  For instance, 2016-12-06 Vacation in France.  While I might also include keywords for photos within that folder, the simplest way to find all of the photos I am looking for is to search by folder name.  People are much less likely to effectively keyword each photo, and even if they did, a search for keywords will often retrieve photos from different shoots on different days or years.  I am not a programmer, but I would think that this basic search function in the Library module (which you can do in Bridge, which doesn't have Lightroom's database functions, or even in the Mac or Windows OS) would not be a hard lift.  Please, please, please consider adding in this basic functionality.  Thank you.
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D S

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It would be great to have ability to search by folder name. The folder name is a 'metadata' that already exists. Making it searchable will save users trouble of creating another 'tag' or 'keyword'. 

It is a simple feature. It would tremendously improve user experience. 

If you want to, please see now defuct Picasa to see how to implement this feature. Picasa had (and has) the best implementation of this feature. 

It would be very easy to add feature and will same lots of time to lot of people. 

Thanks.
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anssik

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Why after all these years only Collections get a search bar to quickly and easily filter down the Collections but Folders do NOT get a search bar to quickly and easily filter down the Folders?
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kirbykrieger

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I, too, am moving from Aperture (I am a Cert. Aperture Pro), and am astonished LR does not allow filtering by folder name. I have always used long folder names (Projects, in Aperture, similar but not the same) to store information that I use to search, find, and filter by container.  (My naming scheme is ShootName_ShootLocation_[Model1]_[Model2]_Photographer_#ofImages_DevelopmentCode_DDD-dd-MMM-yyyy.)  The utility of this should be obvious.  In Aperture, I used the same naming convention for Finder folders and for Projects.  LR _improves_ on this, by allowing me to use Finder folders as containers ... and then steps on a rake, hits itself in the face, and falls down knocked-out cold by not providing a way to filter the folder list.

This should be added, imho.