Creating and managing folders

The folders that contain your photos are displayed in the Folders panel of the Library module. The folders in the Folders panel reflect the folder structure on the volume itself and appear in alphanumeric order. Click the disclosure triangle to the right of a volume name to see the folders on that volume. Click the triangle to the left of a folder to see any subfolders it contains.

Folders panel displaying folders and many photos they contain

You can add and move folders in the Folders panel, rename folders, and delete them. Changes you make to folders in Lightroom are applied to the folders themselves on the volume.

Add new or existing folders

Whenever you import photos, the folders in which they are located are added automatically to the Folders panel. You can add folders and import the photos they contain using the Folders panel.

  1. In the Folders panel of the Library module, click the Plus icon (+) and choose Add Folder.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • (Windows) In the Browse For Folders dialog box, navigate to the location you want, select the folders you want, and then click OK. Or, navigate to the location you want and click Make New Folder. Type a name to replace the New Folder name.

    • (Mac OS) In the Choose Or Create New Folder dialog box, navigate to the location you want, select the folder you want, and then click Choose. Or, navigate to the location you want and click New Folder. Type a name for the folder and then click Create. Then click Choose.

  3. If necessary, specify options in the Import Photos dialog box, and click Import.
If you have multiple copies of a folder and you want to change the location that Lightroom points to, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the folder and choose Update Folder Location.

Create subfolders

  1. In the Folders panel of the Library module, select the folder in which you want to create the new folder. Then, click the Plus icon (+) at the top of the Folders panel and choose Add Subfolder.
  2. In the Create Folder dialog box, type the Folder name.
  3. If photos are selected, determine whether you want to copy the selected photos to the new folder, and then click Create.

In the Folders panel, the new folder appears in the hierarchy you specified. The new folder also appears in Windows Explorer or Mac OS Finder.

You can tell if a folder contains subfolders by looking at the disclosure triangle to the left of the folder icon. If the triangle is solid, the folder contains subfolders. If the triangle is faint and dotted, the folder doesn’t contain subfolders.

Display root folder names

 In the Folders panel of the Library module, click the Plus icon (+) at the top of the panel and choose one of the following Root Folder Display options:
Folder Name Only
Displays only the name of top-level folders in the Folders panel. For example, 2011.

Path From Volume
Displays the full path and the name of top-level folders in the Folders panel. For example, Users/[username]/Pictures/2011.

Folder And Path
Displays the name of top-level folders followed by the folder’s path in the Folders panel. For example, 2011 - Users/[username]/Pictures/2011.

You may need to drag the right edge of the panel to expand it to see the full path and name.

Add a parent folder

 To add a new parent folder to the Folders panel hierarchy, select a top-level folder, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS), and choose Add Parent Folder.

Move folders

You can move folders into other folders in Lightroom. You cannot copy folders in Lightroom.

 In the Folders panel of the Library module, select one or more folders and drag into another folder.

View the contents of a folder

Lightroom displays the number of photos in a folder to the right of the folder name. If you later add photos to a folder in the Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac OS), you’ll need to import the new photos into Lightroom or synchronize the folder to update the number displayed in the Folders panel.

 In the Library module, do any of the following:
  • Select one or more items in the Folders panel.

  • Select a photo, and in the Metadata panel, click the right-pointing arrow next to the Folder field to display that photo’s folder.

By default, selecting a folder shows all photos in that folder and all subfolders in the Grid view and the Filmstrip. To show only the photos in the selected folder, choose Library > Include Photos From Subfolders to deselect it.

Locate missing folders

If a folder is moved in the operating system instead of in Lightroom, the link between the catalog and the folder breaks, and a question-mark icon  appears on the folder in the Folders panel.

  1. To restore the link, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) on the folder and choose Find Missing Folder from the context menu.
  2. Navigate to the file path of the moved folder and click Choose.

Rename folders

  1. In the Folders panel of the Library module, select a folder.
  2. Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) and choose Rename from the menu.
  3. Overwrite the folder name.

Delete folders

  1. In the Folders panel of the Library module, select one or more folders and click the Minus icon (-). Or, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) and choose Remove.
  2. Click Continue in the dialog box.

    The folder and its photos are removed from the catalog and the Folders panel. The original folder and photos are not deleted from the hard drive.