• Welcome to the Lightroom Queen Forums! We're a friendly bunch, so please feel free to register and join in the conversation. If you're not familiar with forums, you'll find step by step instructions on how to post your first thread under Help at the bottom of the page. You're also welcome to download our free Lightroom Quick Start eBooks and explore our other FAQ resources.
  • Stop struggling with Lightroom! There's no need to spend hours hunting for the answers to your Lightroom Classic questions. All the information you need is in Adobe Lightroom Classic - The Missing FAQ!

    To help you get started, there's a series of easy tutorials to guide you through a simple workflow. As you grow in confidence, the book switches to a conversational FAQ format, so you can quickly find answers to advanced questions. And better still, the eBooks are updated for every release, so it's always up to date.
  • It's Lightroom update time again! Color Grading and improved zoom across the whole Lightroom family, plus graphical watermarks for the cloud-based Lightroom apps, as well as the usual new cameras, lens profiles and bug fixes. See this blog post for Lightroom Classic and this blog post for the Lightroom Cloud Ecosystem changes.

Need advice on cleaning up my keyword list

dbvirago

Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Messages
25
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Version
9.4
Operating System
Windows 10
Probably know the answer but...

After 10+ years of using Lightroom and now with a library of over 50K images, I suddenly get the brilliant idea to clean up my keywords. I've looked at doing it in the past, but it was such a daunting task, I always put it off until 'later.'

So, a few days ago, I started working on the 7K plus flat keywords in my list, many of which are misspelled, and quite a few only reference a single image. I've begun creating a hierarchy and cleaning things up. After several hours, I'm up to 'administration.'

Is there any way to accomplish this, other than scrolling through, working on one keyword at a time? I'm willing to do it, if that's what it takes, but any shortcuts or advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
16,801
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
I've cleaned up my keyword list several times ;) To do this in an orderly fashion, I created a top live keyword ("ToBeWorked") and nested all of the other keywords inside that. If I want to maintain a hierarchy, I create a new hierarchy outside of the nested ("ToBeWorked"). Those keywords inside ("ToBeWorked") that are corrects and unto date, I can drag outside of ("ToBeWorked") to the correct hierarchal location. Images with misspelled keywords get assigned a correctly spelled keyword outside of ("ToBeWorked") and the old misspelled keyword removed from those images.
You are correct that the process can be tedious at times but this method can update blocks of images. Eventually, there are no images under the("ToBeWorked") keyword.

I run a blend of Lightroom Classic and Lightroom. Lightroom Classic was a hierarchal keyword list. Lightroom does not support hierarchies. Consequently my hierarchal keyword LrC is a mess. I've decided to abandon the hierarchy in LrC and my keywords need cleaned up yet again.
 

dbvirago

Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Messages
25
Lightroom Version
I've cleaned up my keyword list several times ;) To do this in an orderly fashion, I created a top live keyword ("ToBeWorked") and nested all of the other keywords inside that. If I want to maintain a hierarchy, I create a new hierarchy outside of the nested ("ToBeWorked"). Those keywords inside ("ToBeWorked") that are corrects and unto date, I can drag outside of ("ToBeWorked") to the correct hierarchal location. Images with misspelled keywords get assigned a correctly spelled keyword outside of ("ToBeWorked") and the old misspelled keyword removed from those images.
You are correct that the process can be tedious at times but this method can update blocks of images. Eventually, there are no images under the("ToBeWorked") keyword.

I run a blend of Lightroom Classic and Lightroom. Lightroom Classic was a hierarchal keyword list. Lightroom does not support hierarchies. Consequently my hierarchal keyword LrC is a mess. I've decided to abandon the hierarchy in LrC and my keywords need cleaned up yet again.
The ToBeWorked to level is a great idea. Thanks. This will allow me to create the live hierarchy below it without all the scrolling back and forth. I understand this is a one-way road, but after spending a lot of time looking at alternatives over the last few years, and especially over the last few weeks, I have decided to finally go all-in with LR Classic, and hope they don't abandon it.
 

dbvirago

Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Messages
25
Lightroom Version
OK :cool: How do I nest the 7k keywords inside the top-level keyword?
 
Joined
May 9, 2015
Messages
694
Location
Palo Alto, CA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
Similar to Cletus but slightly different. If you new target set up is a hierarchy then KW's you've processed will be under parents whereas keywords you haven't gotten to will be at the root level.

As an approach to bring some structure to a daunting task, I suggest starting with your highest levels of the hierarchy and start those keywords with a number (so they all sort to the top of the list and are in an order that you usually apply them. The highest level should be broad categories. For example

1-LOCATION
2-SUBJECT
3-IMAGE TYPE
etc.

Within each of these root level parents one would have a hierarchy. The hierarch under location is the easiest, you just have to decide where to start. I started mine with the continent (but one of my clients started with "Galaxy, then planet - I guess he had grand travel plan). then country, state or province, city, etc. You should also think about how deep to go. For example for some people country is good enough. However for others they need to be more granular and go down to city or feature. In my case (with exceptions) I go down to whatever I could reasonably expect to find on a Rand McNally Map. So I may go all the way down to a church name or a the name of a lake or bridge. The key to "LOCATION" keywords to assure that your KW only applies to one place in the universe. So, "Yosemite Falls" is good but "Waterfall" is bad.'

Example
1602260768777.png



Subjects are a bit tougher but a good place to start is what sort of subject is it. For example: Architecture, Art work, CityScape, Event, Fauna, Flora, Holiday, Infrastructure, Landscape, Man Made Objects, Natural Objects, People, Pets, Etc. This hierarchy is built as you go based on your what you find in your current flat structure.

Anyway, you get the idea.
 

dbvirago

Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Messages
25
Lightroom Version
Collapse all hierarchies to only top level and drag these top levels on to the “ToBeWorked” keyword


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Ahh, that's the issue. I have no hierarchy. Only 7k separate keywords in one long list.
 
Joined
May 9, 2015
Messages
694
Location
Palo Alto, CA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
Some other tips that some (but not all) find useful.

TIP 1:
Many times a KW (KeyWord) is not just a word but several words. For example "Texas Springs Campground". If you put "Texas Springs Campground" as the KW name, then want to search for for those images later using the text filter and specify "Keywords - Contains all - Texas springs campground" you will not only get images with the desired campground in in Death Valley, but you will also get any image taken in Texas that may have a keyword containing Campground and Springs. For example an image with keywords "Jones Campground". "Austin" (whose parent is "Texas"), and "Bubbling Springs Area".

One way to get around this is to use dashes instead of spaces in the keyword and then have the real name with spaces as the synonym. then uncheck the export keyword box but keep the export synonym checked like this
1602282052977.png

Now you can filter for "Texas-springs-campground" and get only images with that specific keyword but when the images are exported they will have "Texas Springs Campground" included. many time this is easier than other methods such as the keyword option in the metadata filter.

Tip 2:
In the KW list panel, there is no indication as to what KW's will export and which won't. For example let's say you have a KW structure like this "3-SUBJECT -> People -> Family -> Idiots -> Fred Dinkle". Well if you export such an image, you progably don't want "idiots" included with the exported image so you mark that KW as "do not export". But in the KW list there is no indication which KW's will or won't export short exporting the KW list or opening each one individually. So, on KW's that I have set for "Do not export" and append "[NO EXP]" to the KW name like this
3-Subject [NO EXP]
People
Family
Idiots [NO EXP]
Fred Dinkle

Tip 3

There are cases where you use a KW that could be misleading. Let's say you have keyword for "Paris Trip" which includes all photos from that trip. However some of the photos were not taken in Paris but rather, say American Cemetery in Normandy. Well those Cemetery photos would have a location of "Normandy" or "American Cemetery" but if you search for "Paris" they too would show up as they have the "Paris Trip" keyword. To get around this, when you create a keyword where not all the images that have that keyword pertain to the words in the keyword (Paris) in this case. you may want to corrupt the keyword. I just insert an "*" after the first letter of such words. So, instead of "Paris Trip", I'd have "P*aris Trip" Now filtering for "paris" would not return those Normandy images.
 

dbvirago

Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Messages
25
Lightroom Version
Great Tips. Thanks all. I'm all the way up to the AFs, so probably won't take me more than a year or two.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2007
Messages
5,553
Location
London
Lightroom Experience
Power User
I would recommend not putting unnecessary characters into your keywords. Sooner or later you'll be back asking how to clean up these fake keywords. To find "Texas springs campground", don't use the text filter in the Library Filter or at least use its Contains All option, and notice that you can filter on the keywords column to find photos with that keyword.

Don't feel you should create keyword hierarchies instead of keeping keywords in a long flat list. Instead of putting energy into building and polishing these hierarchies, put that time into adding keywords to photos.

I'd also suggest that you tackle this mountain a little at a time. And make a lot of use of the filter box at the top of the keyword panel. This is great for finding duplicates or shortening the list so you can drag and drop between hierarchies, if you choose to use them.
 

dbvirago

Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Messages
25
Lightroom Version
I would recommend not putting unnecessary characters into your keywords. Sooner or later you'll be back asking how to clean up these fake keywords. To find "Texas springs campground", don't use the text filter in the Library Filter or at least use its Contains All option, and notice that you can filter on the keywords column to find photos with that keyword.

Don't feel you should create keyword hierarchies instead of keeping keywords in a long flat list. Instead of putting energy into building and polishing these hierarchies, put that time into adding keywords to photos.

I'd also suggest that you tackle this mountain a little at a time. And make a lot of use of the filter box at the top of the keyword panel. This is great for finding duplicates or shortening the list so you can drag and drop between hierarchies, if you choose to use them.
Thanks, it is definitely a mountain. All of my current photos are keyworded, I'm just taking some down time to build for the future. I've messed around with hierarchical keywords in other software and can see their benefit in saving time in the future. Clicking on one keyword and getting the entire hierarchy plus all synonyms inserted is a time saver. I know, I'll still have to clean up, but it gets me started. Also, I shoot a lot of similar things, so I'm going to build 'sets' made up of synonym lists. I would use Lightroom sets, but the limit of 9 items doesn't work.

I like the idea of using the search to clean up the list. I've already eliminated any keywords with 0 entries. Now I'm quickly scrolling through those with only 1. Most of those can be eliminated also.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2007
Messages
5,553
Location
London
Lightroom Experience
Power User
The great thing about the little search box at the top of the Keyword List panel is how you can type in "abcd" and immediately see all the keywords using those letters, so you can easily identify duplicates. You can use more than one word too.

Also notice under the Metadata menu is a Purge Unused Keywords command. It would eliminate all keyword with 0 items, which can be good but which can also delete good keywords which haven't been used, yet.
 

Roelof Moorlag

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2013
Messages
1,352
Location
Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
Ahh, that's the issue. I have no hierarchy. Only 7k separate keywords in one long list.
Select the first Keyword at the rop row and scrol down to the last. Click SHIFT + that last Keyword. Now, all keywords are selected and can be dragged to the newly created TOPlevel Keyword.

The mentioned search box is very valuable for this cleaning up project!
 

dbvirago

Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Messages
25
Lightroom Version
Damn, I thought I tried that, but it's working, thanks.
Yes, using the search box, metadata panel and keyword list. Almost halfway through A. :)
 

Ad Astra

Active Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
175
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Have you considered exporting your Keyword list and editing the list in an external editor? Then reimporting the new list? Maybe quicker. I used MS Word search and replace which is a bit limiting when I did a big edit to create a new hierarchy. I found another editor that sounded better but don't remember of hand. I'll see if I can find it again.

Try it on a test catalogue to see if the concept works.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2007
Messages
5,553
Location
London
Lightroom Experience
Power User
That export/import method breaks the connection between photos and keywords, so definitely try it on a test catalogue!
 
Top