Undo a Move?

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Today’s Question: I’m seeking clarification [regarding the answer about the warning when moving photos within Lightroom that appeared in the July 24th edition of the Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter]. Should I assume that the Lightroom warning about moving photos not being undoable means that you can’t move the files back to their original location if you change your mind?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can still move photos back to the original location if you decide you should not have moved those photos in the first place. The warning in Lightroom simply means you can’t “automatically” return photos to the original location using the Undo command.

More Detail: The warning message Lightroom presents when you attempt to move photos within Lightroom makes it sound like once you move photos you will never be able to put those photos anywhere else, and you’ll also lose any other work you’ve performed on the images in Lightroom. In other words, it is a very intimidating message!

What Lightroom is trying to convey with this message is that when you move photos from one folder to another in Lightroom, that is a task that Lightroom can’t keep track of in terms of the history of what has been done with an image. Therefore, you can’t simply choose the Undo command if you later decide you didn’t really want to move the photos in the first place.

However, you can most certainly move photos again if you change your mind. In other words, Lightroom can’t move photos back to their original location through the Undo command, but you can certainly move photos from one folder to another and back again. So, if you move photos to a different folder and then discover this was a mistake, you can select those photos in their new location and drag them to their original location (or any other location you’d like).

The key is to make sure you are always moving photos within Lightroom, not outside of Lightroom. If you move (or rename) photos or folders outside of Lightroom, then Lightroom won’t be able to keep track of those changes, and you will be unable to continue properly managing those photos within Lightroom.