Persistent Keywords in Adobe Bridge

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Today’s Question: In the process of transitioning from an old computer to a new one, my keyword list in Adobe Bridge has been lost. When I select photos the keywords show up on the list temporarily, so I have to right-click and choose “Make Persistent” so the keyword will stay on the list. Is there a more efficient way to get all of my keywords onto the list?

Tim’s Quick Answer: There isn’t an option to select multiple keywords in Adobe Bridge and add them to the keyword list all at once using the Make Persistent command. However, you could export your keyword list from Bridge on the old computer, and then import it to the new computer.

More Detail: By default Adobe Bridge will show you which keywords are in the metadata of a selected image, and allows you to type new keywords that you want to add to the selected photo. However, some photographers prefer to use a keyword list to help ensure they are being consistent in their approach to keywording.

In Bridge you can maintain a list of keywords that will always be available. This enables you, for example, to add a keyword from the list to a selected image by simply turning on the checkbox for the applicable keyword. The keyword list is found on the Keywords panel in Bridge, which can be displayed by choosing Window > Keywords Panel from the menu.

If you haven’t added a keyword to the keyword list on the Keywords panel, then you can’t use the keyword list to easily (and consistently) add keywords to your photos. However, you can easily add existing keywords from the metadata for your photos to the keyword list. After selecting a photo, any keywords in the metadata for the photo that are not already on the keywords list will appear in italics on the Keywords panel. If you want a keyword to remain on the Keywords panel permanently, you can right-click on the keyword and choose “Make Persistent” from the popup menu that appears.

Of course, this could be a rather time-consuming and tedious process, since you can’t select multiple keywords to make persistent all at once. Instead, I recommend exporting your existing keyword list from Adobe Bridge on the old computer, and then import that list into Bridge on the new computer.

To export the keywords list, go to the Keywords panel in Bridge on the computer that already has your full keyword list. Click the panel popup menu button (it has an icon showing three horizontal lines) at the top-right of the Keywords panel, and choose “Export”. Save the list and copy the resulting file to your new computer. Then, in Bridge on the new computer go to the same popup menu and choose “Import”. Select the exported keyword list file, and you will have your full keyword list to Bridge on the new computer.