Work with smart collections

A smart collection is a collection based on metadata criteria that you specify. Smart collections automatically include all photos that meet the criteria. You don’t manually add or remove photos from a smart collection.

Lightroom includes a set of five default smart collections: Colored Red, Five Stars, Past Month, Recently Modified, and Without Keywords.

Create a smart collection

  1. In the Library module, do one of the following:
    • Choose Library > New Smart Collection.

    • Click the Plus icon (+) in the Collections panel and choose Create Smart Collection.

  2. In the Create Smart Collection dialog box, type a name for your smart collection.
  3. If you want the smart collection to be part of an existing set, choose the set from the Set menu. Otherwise, choose None.
  4. Specify the rules for the smart collection by choosing options from the pop-up menus.
    Note: The rules used to define searchable text conditions for smart collections are the same as the rules used to search for text with the Library Filter bar. For definitions, see Search for photos using the Text filter.
  5. (Optional) Click the Plus icon (+) to add additional criteria. Click the Minus icon (-) to remove criteria.
  6. (Optional) Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the Plus icon (+) to open nested options that let you refine criteria.
  7. Choose to match all or any of the criteria from the Match menu.
  8. Click Create.

Lightroom adds the smart collection to the Collections panel and adds all the photos in the catalog that meet the specified rules. Smart collections have a photo-print icon with a gear in the lower-right corner .

Edit smart collections

You can change the criteria and rules for a smart collection at any time.

  1. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) a smart collection  in the Collections panel and choose Edit Smart Collection.
  2. Choose new rules and options in the Edit Smart Collection dialog box.
  3. Click Save.
Note: You cannot sort by User Order or drag photos to rearrange them in a smart collection.

Share smart collection settings

You can share smart collections by exporting smart collection settings and then importing those settings into a different catalog. Lightroom applies a .lrsmcol filename extension to smart collection settings files.

Exporting a smart collection exports the rules for the smart collection. It does not export the photos that are in the smart collection.

When you import smart collection rules, Lightroom creates the smart collection to the Collections panel and adds any photos in the catalog that meet the smart collection criteria.

  • To export a smart collection, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) it in the Collections panel and choose Export Smart Collection Settings. Specify the name and location of the exported smart collection settings file and then click Save.
  • To import a smart collection, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) it in the Collections panel and choose Import Smart Collection Settings. Navigate to and select a smart collection .lrsmcol settings file and click Import.