Unwieldy Date List


Today’s Question: I went to use the Library Filter to locate photos by date. In the Date column every single date was listed individually, which is different from what is shown in one of your videos on the subject, where you were able to select by year or month. How can I get the years and months back on the list?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can return to the option to select (and expand or collapse) based on months and years with the Library Filter by setting the Date column to the Hierarchical rather than Flat setting.

More Detail: The Library Filter in Lightroom Classic (View > Show Filter Bar) can be tremendously helpful in locating particular photos, especially when you want to be able to search across a large group of photos. You can even search among all images in your Lightroom Classic catalog using the Library Filter.

Among the various options found on the Metadata tab of the Library Filter bar is a Date option, which of course enables you to search for images based on the date of capture. Needless to say, if the list of dates in the Date column includes every single date for which at least one photo was captured, that list will be long and daunting.

Fortunately, it is easy to return to the hierarchical option, which enables you to collapse or expand (and filter) based on years, months, and days. In other words, you can see only years on the list, or expand some (or all) years to see the months, and then also expand the months to reveal days.

You can switch between the Hierarchical and Flat options on a popup menu found by clicking the small popup icon at the far right of the Date heading on the Metadata tab of the Library Filter bar. The button shows a set of uneven horizontal lines, and may not appear unless you hover your mouse over the Date column, depending on where that column is positioned.

When you click the popup button, you’ll see options for “Hierarchical” and “Flat”. In general I recommend selecting Hierarchical, since this provides a much more manageable list of dates to choose from when you are filtering your images to locate a particular photo.