Unwanted Date Folders

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Today’s Question: On my laptop (but not my desktop) running the latest version of Lightroom Classic, when I create a new folder and import photos to it Lightroom automatically adds date subfolders and distributes the files into those folders. How do I cancel this unwanted behavior?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can disable the creation of these date-based folders by changing the “Organize” option to the “Into one folder” option rather than the “By date” option.

More Detail: When you import photos into Lightroom Classic, you will generally be copying photos from a media card to a particular folder. As part of that process, you have the option for Lightroom to create sub-folders based on the date of capture for each of your photos. In other words, there will be a folder for each date for which photos were captured, and photos will be placed into the applicable folder based on the date of capture.

I do not recommend using a folder structure that involves a separate folder for each data, since doing so can lead to a rather complex folder structure. In addition, you can always filter your photos based on the date of capture within Lightroom, so in my mind there’s really no benefit to having a complex date-based folder structure.

Instead, I recommend downloading all photos into a single folder. To use the option for a single folder rather than a date-based folder structure, simply select the “Into one folder” option (rather than the “By date” option) from the Organize popup found in the Destination section of the right panel in the Import dialog.