More Color Labels


Today’s Question: In an earlier post you mentioned that it was possible to have more than five color labels. However, there was no detail for specific application, notably Adobe Lightroom Classic and Adobe Photoshop. Is it possible to add additional color labels to these applications?

Tim’s Quick Answer: It is possible to use more than five color labels in both Lightroom Classic and Adobe Bridge, though in my view it is a little easier to implement in Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: While color labels are represented by a color (red, yellow, green, blue, purple) in software such as Lightroom Classic and Adobe Bridge, in actual fact the metadata value for those labels is simply a word.

In Lightroom Classic the name of the color is used for the color labels. In Adobe Bridge workflow concepts are used instead, such as “Select” for a red color label. But when you assign a color label you’re really just adding a word to the Label field in metadata.

With Lightroom Classic you can define more than one set of color labels and switch among them as you see fit. Start by choosing Metadata > Color Label Set > Edit from the menu while in the Library module. The default values will show the name of each color for the color labels, but you can change these words to anything you’d like, such as to convey workflow status. When you create your own definitions, you can then click the Presest popup, choose “Save Current Settings as New Preset”, and enter a meaningful name for the preset you are creating.

You can then switch between your different color label definitions by going to the menu and choosing Metadata > Color Label Set, and then the name of the color label set you want to use. Note that images with a color label assigned from a different color label set will appear with a white color label, while color labels that match the current color label set will show the applicable label color.

In Adobe Bridge you can change the label definitions on the “Labels and Ratings” tab of the Preferences dialog. There isn’t an option to save the settings, so you would need to manually update them each time you want to use different words for color labels.

The primary reason to create more than one set of definitions for color labels would be to add utility and flexibility to your workflow. For example, you could define one set of color labels for use when reviewing photos to find favorites, and another set to use when preparing photos to be printed.

The topic of color labels is covered in more detail in the January 2022 issue of Pixology magazine. Pixology is included in the GreyLearning Ultimate Bundle (, but you can also sign up for a standalone subscription if you prefer. Details can be found on the GreyLearning website here: