Correcting Keyword Errors

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Today’s Question: Over the years I have entered keywords in Lightroom that were spelled wrong. For instance, I have both aloa and aloe. Is there a simple way to change the aloa to aloe?

Tim’s Quick Answer: In this particular situation you can’t simply edit the “wrong” keyword, because the keyword with the correct spelling already exists. Instead you need to filter the images to view those with the “wrong” keyword. Then add the keyword with the correct spelling, and delete the keyword with the spelling error from the Keyword List section on the right panel in the Library module.

More Detail: When you have a keyword that is spelled incorrectly, but you’ve never added the correct version of that keyword to any images, you can simply edit the incorrect keyword. To do so, right-click on that “wrong” keyword in the Keyword List section of the right panel in the Library module, and then choose “Edit Keyword Tag” from the popup menu. In the Edit Keyword Tag dialog enter the correct spelling and click Save to apply the change. The keyword will be updated for all images in your Lightroom catalog that had the keyword you’ve just edited.

In this case, however, Lightroom won’t let you edit the “aloa” keyword to “aloe” because you already have “aloe” as a keyword. Instead you’ll need to add the correct keyword to those images that have the “wrong” keyword, and then delete the keyword that has the spelling error altogether.

The first step is to add the correct version of the keyword to the images that have the incorrect spelling. To get started, go to the Keyword List section on the right panel in the Library module and click on the arrow icon that appears to the right of the incorrectly spelled keyword when you hover your mouse over that keyword. This will apply a filter so you are only looking at images with that keyword.

Next, select all of the current images (those with the misspelled keyword) by choosing Edit > Select All from the menu. Note that you can also select all of the current images by pressing Ctrl+A on Windows or Command+A on Macintosh. Then go to the Keywording section of the right panel, click in the field that shows “Click here to add keyword”, type the correct keyword, and press Enter/Return on the keyboard to apply the change.

Now that the images with the incorrectly spelled version of the keyword also have the correct version of the keyword, you can return to the Keyword List section of the right panel, right-click on the keyword with the spelling error, and choose Delete from the popup menu. Click “Delete” in the confirmation dialog that appears, and the keyword with the spelling error will be deleted from all images in your Lightroom catalog.