Incorrect Sort Order

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Today’s Question: When importing my memory cards into Lightroom, the photos are not in the correct order. Please help, I’m very frustrated.

Tim’s Quick Answer: When you initially import photos into Lightroom, the photos will generally be sorted based on the order they were actually added to the catalog. This can sometimes be significantly different from the order in which you captured the photos. However, you can change the sort order to “Capture Time” to resolve this issue.

More Detail: When you import photos to Lightroom (or otherwise download photos) from a memory card, they will not always be copied in the order the photos were captured. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including the way information is written to flash storage devices (such as the memory cards we use in our digital cameras).

You can correct the sort order to something more meaningful (such as based on the capture time) using the Sort popup on the toolbar below the Grid view display. If you’re not already in the Grid view you can press the letter “G” on the keyboard to switch to this display option. Then click the Sort popup and choose the preferred option. I generally prefer the “Capture Time” sort order, so my photos are displayed in the same order I captured them.

Note that the “Added Order” sort setting is a unique “feature” related to the import process. If you are importing to an existing folder, there is an option to keep your view on that folder, which in turn means you’ll retain the established sort order. To do so, turn off the “Select the ‘Current/Previous Import’ collection during import” checkbox on the General tab of the Preferences dialog in Lightroom.