Keyword Conundrum


Today’s Question: Every keyword I create in Lightroom Classic goes into a hierarchical structure with an existing keyword, even though I have not chosen the option to put the new keyword into a hierarchy. Do you know how I can get keywords to be added normally again?

Tim’s Quick Answer: This unwanted hierarchy for keywords would be caused by the “Put New Keywords Inside this Keyword” option being turned on for an existing keyword on the Keyword List. Turning that option off for the keyword will restore normal behavior for new keywords.

More Detail: Lightroom Classic enables you to create hierarchies of keywords, so that for example you could have a hierarchy along the lines of United States > California > San Francisco. To create a hierarchy when creating a new keyword you can use the option to put the new keyword inside an existing keyword, such as by right-clicking on the existing keyword and choosing “Create Keyword Tag inside ‘[existing keyword name]'” from the popup menu.

It is also possible to essentially “lock” a keyword as being the destination for a hierarchical relationship for new keywords. This can be convenient for adding multiple keywords into a single hierarchy. For example, if you wanted to create keywords for all fifty states in a hierarchy under “United States”, you could designate “United States” as the destination for the hierarchy and then simply add new keywords for each of the fifty states. All keywords for the fifty states would then be under “United States” in the hierarchy.

Of course, if this feature is enabled without you realizing it, each time you add a new keyword it can be a frustrating experience.

When a keyword is set as the destination for a hierarchy with new keywords, that keyword will have a small dot icon to the right of the keyword name on the Keyword List on the right panel in the Library module. Once you locate the keyword that has this status, you can right-click on that keyword and choose “Put New Keywords Inside this Keyword” from the popup menu to turn that feature off.

This setting on the popup menu is a toggle, so you can choose the same option if you want to turn on this feature for the convenience of data entry for multiple keywords in a hierarchy. And, of course, you can turn this feature off when it is no longer needed.