Mysterious Interface Change


Today’s Question: Somehow I find myself in Lightroom Classic without access to my left or right panels, bottom panel thumbnails, and top panel options. What I now get is an option at the top left of Grid/Loupe/Compare/Survey and nothing else. Can you help me?

Tim’s Quick Answer: This is an indication that you’ve enabled a second Lightroom Classic window intended for a second monitor display. You will need to turn off the secondary display to enable you to see the primary window for Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: Lightroom Classic includes a very helpful feature to open a second window, which is aimed at using that window on a second monitor display. This allows you to leverage two different views of your photos, such as to have a grid view display on a secondary display while applying adjustments in the Develop module to individual images on the primary display.

Of course, if you accidentally enable this feature especially on a computer with only a single display it can be very confusing, causing you to only see the limited interface of the second window without being able to see the primary window.

You can hide the secondary window from the menu by choosing Window > Secondary Display > Show. Note that rather than hiding the secondary window you can also switch it to a floating window by choosing Window > Secondary Display > Full Screen. Both of these menu options are toggles, meaning you select the command to turn the feature on and select it again to turn it off.

The display of the secondary window can also be controlled with a pair of buttons found at the top-left of the bottom panel in the primary Lightroom Classic window. The two buttons each show an icon representing a window, with “1” for the primary display and “2” for the secondary display. You can click the “2” button to show or hide the secondary window. Just keep in mind that if the secondary window completely obstructs the primary window, you’ll need to hide (or float and move) that secondary window to get back to the full set of controls in the primary window.