Identifying Virtual Copies


Today’s Question: Your answer about working on an image from a collection versus a folder [in Lightroom Classic] was very helpful, including the details about working on a virtual copy rather than the original source image. But how would I know if I am working on a virtual copy rather than the original?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can identify a virtual copy in Lightroom Classic based on the Copy Name indication after the filename on the filmstrip, or by the turned page corner icon that appears on the thumbnail as long as you have the display of badges enabled.

More Detail: One of the more obvious indications that an image in Lightroom Classic is a virtual copy is the turned page corner icon that appears as a badge on the thumbnail of a virtual copy in the grid view or on the filmstrip. This icon appears at the bottom-left corner of the thumbnail as long as the feature is enabled.

To ensure the badge for a virtual copy is displayed on the filmstrip go to the Interface tab of the Preferences dialog and make sure the “Show badges” checkbox is turned on in the Filmstrip section. To enable the badges for the grid view choose View > View Options from the menu while in the Library module and go to the Grid View tab. Make sure the “Thumbnail Badges” checkbox is turned on in the Cell Icons section.

In addition to the thumbnail badge for virtual copies, these images will have a Copy Name associated with them. The default Copy Name for the first virtual copy for an image will be “Copy 1”, and the number will increment for additional virtual copies based on the same source image. This Copy Name value will be displayed after the filename for the selected virtual copy above the thumbnail filmstrip on the bottom panel, appearing after the source image filename and a slash.

Note that you can change the value for the Copy Name field, which in turn will update the text associated with the filename for virtual copies. This enables you to assign a more meaningful name to virtual copies, so that you can remind yourself of the purpose of the virtual copy, for example.

The Copy Name field can be found toward the top of the Metadata section of the left panel in the Library module, but only with some of the metadata field options you can select from the popup to the left of the Metadata heading. For example, if you choose “EXIF and IPTC” from that popup the Copy Name field will be displayed. Note that if you clear out all the text from the Copy Name field the word “Copy” will still display after the filename on the bottom panel, so you can still identify the image as a virtual copy.