Today’s Question: What is “docking” for folders in Lightroom Classic, and is it only available in the Import dialog?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Docking a folder in Lightroom Classic will cause other folders at the same level to be hidden, making it easier to navigate among a complex folder structure. This feature is only available in the Import dialog within Lightroom Classic.
More Detail: The Import dialog in Lightroom Classic includes an option to “dock” a folder within the Source section of the left panel as well as the Destination section on the right panel. When a folder is docked, all other folders at the same level to be hidden from view. This feature is not available outside the Import dialog.
To dock a folder within the Source or Destination section you can double-click on the folder or right-click on the folder and choose “Dock Folder” from the popup menu. For example, let’s assume you had top-level folders for “Photos”, “Scans”, and “Smartphone”. If you double-click on the “Scans” folder the “Photos” and “Smartphone” folders would be temporarily hidden.
You can undock a folder by double-clicking on the folder again, or by right-clicking and choosing “Dock Folder” again to turn the feature off.
The idea is that you may find it easier to navigate among a complex folder structure using this docking feature. By docking a parent folder, for example, you’ll only see that folder and the subfolders within it, making it a little easier to select only the folder you want to work with.
I don’t personally find this feature very helpful, in large part because most of the time when I’m importing photos into my Lightroom Classic catalog I am doing so from a media card taken out of my camera. In other words, I am not working with a complex folder structure most of the time when importing photos into my catalog. Even if I am importing existing photos from a hard drive rather than a memory card, I don’t generally find docking folders to be especially helpful, since I tend to use a relatively streamlined folder structure to begin with.