Consolidating a Subfolder

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Today’s Question: I find that I have created a sub-folder, I assume during import [into Lightroom], and I really did not want to. This is preventing me from changing the order of my photos. Can you tell me how to get rid of this sub-folder so I have a single folder?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Cleaning up a folder structure that includes unwanted subfolders is a two-step process. First you’ll want to move the photos from the subfolder into the parent folder, and then you’ll want to delete the (now empty) subfolder.

More Detail: Of course, before setting out on this task I recommend making sure you have a full backup of all of your photos, just in case anything goes wrong during the process of consolidating images from subfolders.

When you’re ready to perform this consolidation task, navigate to the subfolder within Lightroom. Note that it is critical to perform this work within Lightroom, not from your operating system or other software, to ensure your folder structure and file location information within Lightroom remains accurate.

Make sure there aren’t any filters, so you’re able to see all of the photos within the subfolder. Then choose Edit > Select All from the menu (or press Ctrl+A on Windows or Command+A on Macintosh) to select all of the photos in the subfolder. You can then position the mouse pointer over any one of the selected images, and drag-and-drop to the parent folder.

You will be asked for a confirmation that you want to move the photos on your hard drive, which you should of course confirm so that the move operation will proceed. Once the move operation has completed and the subfolder is empty, you can right-click on that subfolder and choose the Remove option. Once you confirm this step in the confirmation dialog, the empty subfolder will be removed.

You can, of course, repeat this basic process to consolidate images from multiple subfolders as needed to cleanup your overall folder structure. For readers who have subscribed to my GreyLearning video training library (http://www.greylearning.com), you can view a video lesson of the process of consolidating folders in Lesson 10 of the course “Lightroom 5: Resolving Organizational Challenges”.