Assigning Keywords to All Selected Photos


Today’s Question: As a follow-up to your answer about assigning keywords to all photos in a collection in Lightroom Classic, what’s the easiest way to add a keyword to all photos in a collection all at once?

Tim’s Quick Answer: To assign keywords to multiple photos at once I recommend selecting all the applicable photos in the grid view, and then using the Keyword List to assign the keyword to the selected photos.

More Detail: There are several ways you can assign keywords (or apply other metadata updates) to multiple photos at once in Lightroom Classic. However, to help avoid confusion I recommend making sure you’re in the grid view display when you want to apply updates to multiple photos. That’s because in the loupe view display by default you’ll only be updating the image currently shown in the loupe view, even if you have multiple photos selected on the filmstrip.

So, the first step is to select multiple photos in the grid view. In this specific example you could select the desired collection from the Collections section of the left panel in the Library module. Then make sure the Library Filter bar at the top of the grid view is set to “None” so all images are displayed. Then choose Edit > Select All from the menu to select all the photos in the collection.

With the images selected in the grid view you can then apply the applicable updates to metadata. In the case of adding keywords, you could use the Keywording section and simply add additional keywords in the textbox that shows “Click here to add keywords” in faint text.

However, I generally recommend using the Keyword List to add keywords to help ensure you’re being more accurate with the addition of those keywords. This helps avoid a situation where you spell an intended keyword differently when you type it manually.

You can use the search field at the top of the Keyword List section on the right panel in the Library module or scroll to find the keyword you want to add. You can then turn on the checkbox to the left of the applicable keyword. Note that there are actually three states for this checkbox. If the keyword is not assigned to any of the selected images, when you hover your mouse over the keyword you’ll see an empty checkbox. If the keyword has already been assigned to all selected images, the checkbox will include a checkmark. If the keyword has been assigned to some of the selected images there will be a dash in the checkbox. In this case you can click the checkbox to assign the keyword to all selected photos, and click again if you want to remove the keyword from the selected photos.

If the keyword you want to add isn’t already on the Keyword List, you can add the keyword by clicking the plus button (+) to the left of the Keyword List heading. Enter the keyword in the Keyword Name field, and since you’ve already selected the photos you want to assign the keyword to you can turn on the “Add to selected photos” checkbox. Adjust the other settings as desired, and click the Create button to create the new keyword and have it assigned to the selected images.