“Plus” Icon for Collection

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Today’s Question: Can you tell me what the “plus” symbol next to Quick Collection in Lightroom means? I tried to click on the plus but nothing happens. Is there a purpose for this symbol?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The “plus” (+) symbol that appears to the right the Quick Collection in the Catalog section of the left panel in the Library module in Lightroom indicates that the Quick Collection is the current “target collection”. In other words, this is an indication that if you press the letter “B” on the keyboard, the currently selected image (or images) will be added to the Quick Collection.

More Detail: What might not be obvious though is that you can also change which collection is the current target collection. In other words, while the “B” key will cause an image to be added to the Quick Collection by default, you can also set a different collection as the target collection. That, in turn, will cause the letter “B” keyboard shortcut to add the currently selected photo to a collection other than the Quick Collection.

To change which collection will be the target collection for the “B” keyboard shortcut, you can right-click on a collection and choose “Set as Target Collection” from the popup menu that appears.

In this way, you can work with much greater flexibility when using collections. If you are working on a project that involves the images in a single collection, you can set that collection as the target collection to make it easier to add other images to the collection with the simple press of a key on the keyboard.

I do recommend, however, that you set the Quick Collection back to being the target collection when you’re finished working with a different target collection, just to maintain consistent behavior as far as the “B” key adding a photo to the Quick Collection by default.

You can learn more about my approach to using this ability to re-assign the target collection keyboard shortcut in the article “Multiple Quick Collections” in the January 2013 issue of Pixology magazine. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can subscribe today and gain access to this and all other back issues of the magazine. Learn more about Pixology at http://www.pixologymag.com.