Very confusing a dangerous the way Multiple Photos are selected in Lightroom Classic

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  • Updated 3 months ago
I find it very confusing and dangerous the way Lightroom works when selecting and deselecting multiple photos, as it is inconsistent with the way Windows works, and can lead to accidental deletion of files.

After selecting multiple photos/files in Explorer in Windows, and then clicking on one of them, only one photo is selected as seen below. I can now hit the delete button to delete that single photos. This is how Windows has worked for years. 

After selecting multiple photos in Lightoom, and then clicking on one of them, the Lightroom interface indicates that that single photo is selected by changing the gray color around the photo as seen below. However, contrary to what many Windows users may think, Lightroom still has all photos selected as seen below. My recommendation is that Lightroom should work the way Windows Explorer so that when a user clicks on one photo, only that photo is selected. That way we avoid situations where users accidentally deletes many photos instead of one.



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Posted 3 months ago

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Richard Hix

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On the Mac, if I select multiple photos/files in Finder (the Mac equivalent of Explorer) all eight would be deleted if I hit the delete button.  I guess you just have to realize different operations systems and software work differently and be careful.  
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Joel Weisbrod

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Lightroom detects the difference between clicking in the photo area of the filmstrip OR clicking on the frame of the photo in the filmstrip (same in Library Grid Mode). When you select multiple photos they are lighter gray. The lightest gray is the "CURRENT PHOTO" that is shown in loupe modes. If you click another photo area of the selected group, all stay selected but the CURRENT PHOTO changes to the one you clicked. To deselect all except the one you clicked, simply click the frame of the desired photo! This is a designed behavior and facilitates many different things.

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Todd Shaner, Champion

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When multiple files are selected the delete popup confirmation panel warns you that more than one file will be deleted or removed. If you're not seeing that go to LR Preferences> General tab and click on 'Reset all warning dialogs' at the bottom of the panel.
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Yves Crausaz

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Or go to a good optician to make you prescribe glasses allowing you to read correctly limp them with dialogues which, it are definite whatever is the used language!

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This is one of the biggest annoyances I have with LR. Especially when trying to advocate for LR and teaching a friend(s) how to use it.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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This is only a problem when you select all photos in the grid. When you select multiple, but not all photos, it is clearer that multiple photos are still selected. Like others said, you will get a warning when you press delete, so this should not be a major problem.

The reason that Lightroom behaves this way is (probably, I'm guessing) because of the different synchronize options, like synchronize develop settings or synchronize metadata. The synchronization takes place from the 'most selected' image to all other selected images, so you may have to change the 'most selected' image sometimes. It would be awkward if a click on a photo in the middle of a selection would deselect all others, especially because the only way to make a selection of multiple photos with the 'most selected' one in the middle would be shift-click in one direction, and then ctrl-click on each one in the other direction. Thanks to the current behavior you can shift-click to select the whole range, and then click the one that needs to be the source image, i.e. 'most selected' one, no matter where it is located in the selection.
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Yves Crausaz

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And besides, as any professional software, it requires some days of study, I know that it is not any more in agenda, everybody knows very today...

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Robert Cullen

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FYI- From my notes on "Selected Images":


1.       MID-GREY :   Un-selected “NOT SELECTED”  image borders are MID-GREY.


3.       VERY LIGHT GREY:    The image selected that is the “PRIMARY SELECTED” or “MOST SELECTED” image among multiple selected images.  The other images selected by holding [CTRL] or [COMMAND] or [SHIFT] KEYS, become the “SECONDARY” selected files with a LIGHT GREY BORDER.

4.       DARK GREY:    Images with a VIRTUAL COPY or images marked for "GROUP INTO A STACK",  all show as DARK GREY in library grid mode. (VCs stacked with original resume the MID-GREY shade as for 1. )

 When multiple files are selected-

*Clicking on the IMAGE AREA in a thumbnail of one of the selected files upgrades this image to the “Primary” selected image. (aka. “Master” image) and  the “Secondary” selections  (aka “Child” selections)  remain selected.

*Clicking on an image thumbnail GREY BORDER- deselects all other images.

 Keyboard Shortcuts-

*[CTRL+A] will select all images in Grid View.

*[CTRL+D] will deselect all and every ‘selected’ image (ie. none are selected). Also Click on page background.

*Pressing the [ / ] key deselects the selected images starting from the Primary image selected and resets the next image to the “Primary”.


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David Converse

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Yes it’s annoyingly and leads to mistakes. Unfortunately like a lot of Lightroom’s UI.
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After all these years of Lightroom use by many. We get use to any idiosyncratic ways and any change now for the few would lead to more mistakes by the many.