Converting Keywords into Hierarchies


Today’s Question: How do you add a hierarchy to keywords you already have as standalone keywords in Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can create a keyword hierarchy from existing standalone keywords in Lightroom Classic by dragging the “child” keyword onto the “parent” keyword for the intended hierarchy on the Keyword List section of the right panel in the Library module.

More Detail: While hierarchical keywords can add a degree of complexity to keywording in Lightroom Classic, they can also help streamline aspects of your workflow. Hierarchies of keywords enable you to define a relationship among keywords such as to define Europe as a parent keyword of Italy and Rome as a child keyword of Italy. This will create a keyword hierarchy of “Europe > Italy > Rome”, and when you add Rome as a keyword, Europe and Italy become related “containing” keywords.

You can define a hierarchical structure for new keywords by adding the top-level keyword, and then right-clicking on that keyword and choosing the option to “Create Keyword Tag Inside” that keyword. This can be repeated for as many levels of the hierarchy as you need.

If you have existing standalone keywords you’d prefer to have in a hierarchy, you can drag and drop those keywords on the Keyword List. So, for example, you could drag the “Rome” keyword onto the “Italy” keyword, and then drag the “Italy” keyword onto the “Europe” keyword.

If you want to remove a keyword from a hierarchy, you can drag the keyword from the hierarchy to any line between other standalone keywords. Just before releasing the mouse button, make sure that you see a blue line between the other keywords, indicating you’ll be dropping the keyword at a top-level position, so it is no longer part of a hierarchy.

I demonstrated the creation of hierarchical keywords in Lightroom Classic in my recent webinar presentation on keeping track of where you captured your photos, which you can view on my YouTube channel here: