Today’s Question: If you expand many subfolders contained within parent folders in the Folders list in Lightroom Classic, is there a trick to collapse them all at once?
Tim’s Quick Answer: If you hold the Alt (Windows) or Option (Macintosh) key while clicking on the arrow to expand or collapse a parent folder, all subfolders below that parent folder level will also be expanded or collapsed.
More Detail: In Lightroom Classic the Folders list on the left panel in the Library module reflects the folder structure on your hard drive for those folders that contain photos being managed by Lightroom Classic. Therefore, you can have folders with subfolders represented in Lightroom Classic, including multiple layers of subfolders depending on how you have defined your folder structure.
You can expand or collapse a folder to reveal or hide subfolders by clicking on the triangle icon to the left of a parent folder. However, you can expand or collapse all subfolders in a single step by holding the Alt/Option key while clicking on the triangle icon for the parent folder.
Let’s assume a date-based folder structure, where you have a folder for each calendar year. Within each year folder you have folders for each month, and within each month folder you have folders for each day.
By default, if you simply click to expand the year folder, you’ll only see the month folders within that year folder. You would need to click the triangle to the left of a month folder to see the day folders contained within that month folder.
However, you can hold the Alt/Option key will clicking the triangle for a parent folder to expand or collapse all subfolders at all levels below that parent folder. So, for example, if you have expanded some of the month folders within the year folder, you could Alt/Option click on the triangle to the left of the year folder to collapse all folders. If you then click on the triangle to expand, you’ll once again only see the month folders.
You can also expand all folders in this way. So, rather than simply clicking on the triangle for the year folder to expand that folder, you can Alt/Option click on the triangle and you will then see all of the month folders and all of the day folders are visible because all subfolders have been expanded.
So, using this Alt/Option keyboard shortcut can be helpful for quickly reducing clutter for the folder display, and also for quickly revealing all levels of folders in a particular location.