Smart Collection in Bridge


Today’s Question: I use Adobe Bridge almost exclusively for organizing my photos and I have assigned star ratings on them all. When I go to make a smart collection looking for all my 5-star photos it only culls from the files that I’ve recently looked at and ignores the other thousands of photos I have. What, if any, is the solution?

Tim’s Quick Answer: When creating a smart collection in Adobe Bridge, you need to make sure you have chosen an appropriate top-level source to search for the images, and that you have turned on the “Include All Subfolders” checkbox. I also recommend turning on the “Include Non-Indexed Files” checkbox to help ensure no photos are left out of the search.

More Detail: Adobe Bridge includes the ability to create smart collections, which provide what are essentially saved search results that can be updated continuously. However, there are a few limitations to be aware of.

First, smart collections in Adobe Bridge can only reference a single storage location. Therefore, you won’t be able to have a single smart collection that includes photos from across multiple hard drives, for example.

You also need to make sure to define an appropriate top-level storage location when creating a smart collection in Adobe Bridge. For example, if you store all of your photos on an external hard drive you could set that hard drive as the source for the smart collection.

You can then establish the criteria for the smart collection, such as based on star ratings or other metadata values. To make sure you will actually include all of the photos from the source storage location in the smart collection, you also need to turn on two checkboxes in the dialog where you specify the settings for the smart collection.

First, you’ll want to turn on the “Include All Subfolders” checkbox, so that all folders included in the storage location you’ve specified as the source will be searched. Second, I recommend turning on the “Include Non-indexed Files” checkbox. This will cause the smart collection search to be a little slow, but will ensure that photos are not excluded from the smart collection simply because they haven’t yet been indexed by Adobe Bridge.