Filter for Absent Keyword

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Today’s Question: I use a keyword to identify photos I have shared online, for example. When looking for new images to share, I want to see only those I haven’t shared before. I know in Lightroom I can search for images that contain a given keyword. But is there a way to filter out the photos that already contain the keyword that indicates a photo has already been shared?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can indeed filter out images that contain a specific keyword by using the “Doesn’t Contain” option when using a text search based on the Keywords field.

More Detail: Most of the methods for filtering images in Lightroom based on keywords involve viewing images that actually contain a specific keyword (or keywords). For example, you can use the Metadata section of the Library Filter bar to select keywords for the images you want to view.

It is also possible, however, to filter based on the absence of a keyword. This can be done using the Text section of the Library Filter bar, or by creating a Smart Collection that includes similar criteria.

You’ll first want to make sure the Library Filter bar is visible. You can enable it by choosing View > Show Filter Bar from the menu, or by pressing the backslash (\) key on the keyboard. Then choose the Text option on the Library Filter bar to display the text search controls. Set the first popup to “Keywords”, and the second popup to “Doesn’t Contain”. Then type the keyword you want to use for your filter in the textbox to the right of the popups. This will filter the current images (based on the folder or collection you are browsing) so that only images without the keyword you entered will be displayed.

If you then enable the “lock” option at the top-right of the Library Filter bar, you can switch among other folders or collections to view images based on your filter. You could also add other criteria, such as star ratings on the Attributes section of the Library Filter bar, so that you filter your images more effectively. In this way, using the example from the question, you could search for some of your best images from various folders, while only viewing images that do not yet have the keyword that is used to identify images that have been shared.

And, of course, this same concept could be used in a wide variety of other situations, where you want to view images that match certain criteria, but that do not contain one or more keywords you specify.