Narrower Keyword Search

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Today’s Question: When I use the button to the right of a keyword to view photos that have that keyword assigned to them, Lightroom shows me every photo with that keyword in my entire catalog. Is there a way to have the keyword filter option apply only to the current folder?

Tim’s Quick Answer: To filter images based on a keyword only within the current folder, you’ll want to use the options found on the Library Filter bar rather than the shortcut buttons available on the Keyword List.

More Detail: In the Metadata section of the right panel in in the Library module in Lightroom you’ll find that a variety of the metadata fields have a button to the right of the field. The button for these fields has an arrow pointing to the right, and clicking the button serves as a shortcut to filter your photos based on the applicable metadata criteria.

So, for example, if you click the button to the right of the Lens field, Lightroom will filter all of the photos in your entire catalog to show you only the images that were captured with the same lens as the photo you were browsing when you clicked the filter button.

These buttons provide a quick shortcut to filter photos that match the same metadata value as the current photo. But these shortcut buttons can also lead to an overwhelming list of photos, since they filter based on all photos in your entire catalog, rather than based on the folder you’re currently browsing.

If you want to apply this type of filter more narrowly, you can use the Library Filter bar instead of the shortcuts in the Metadata section of the right panel.

Start by navigating to the folder location you want to search within. Then go to the Library Filter bar above the Grid view display. If the Library Filter bar isn’t currently shown, you can go to the menu bar and choose View > Show Filter bar to bring up the controls. Then choose “Metadata” from the Library Filter bar so you can filter based on metadata values for your photos.

The Metadata option for the Library Filter bar includes several columns you can use to apply various filters to your photos, so you only see images that match the criteria you specify. For example, you can click the heading above one of the columns and choose “Keyword”, so that you can see a list of all keywords for all photos you are currently browsing. Click on a keyword, and the photos will be filtered to display only those with that keyword applied to them.

You can similarly use other column options for the Metadata tab of the Library Filter bar to filter your photos by a wide variety of metadata values. And these filters apply based on the photos you’re currently browsing, providing a way to define a very narrow set of search criteria for your images.