Rename for Sort Order in Lightroom Classic


Today’s Question: Would you mind sharing how you can use Lightroom Classic to rename photos for a custom sort order similar to how you explained the process in Adobe Bridge?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can add a sequence number to the beginning of filenames for photos in Lightroom Classic by creating and using a template for renaming.

More Detail: Today’s question is a follow-up to my answer on Friday, where I explained how you can rename photos to add a sequence number to the beginning of the filenames so the photos will sort in your preferred order when you sort by filename.

In Lightroom Classic the process begins by navigating to the location where the photos are stored and dragging the photos into the desired order either in the grid view or on the filmstrip on the bottom panel. Then select all the photos and choose Library > Rename Photos from the menu.

From the File Naming popup at the top of the Rename Photos dialog choose “Filename”. This will set the renaming structure to the existing filename, which won’t change the filename at all. To modify this preset to add a sequence number click the File Naming popup again and choose “Edit”.

In the Filename Template Editor dialog click the mouse to the left of the Filename token in the large textbox to place the insertion point before that token. You can also use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move the insertion point within the textbox. In the Sequence and Date section below click the upper of the two popups and choose one of the “Sequence #” options based on the number of digits you need for the sequence number. This enables you to have leading zeros so the filenames will sort properly, so you’ll need one digit for up to nine photos, two digits for up to 99 photos, and three digits for up to 999 photos, for example. If you select an option other than the default from the popup, the token for the sequence number will be placed automatically in the large textbox above. If you keep the default selection you can click the Insert button to the right of the popup to add the token.

You can then type additional text you want to include in the filename, such as by typing a dash or space in between the “Sequence #” and “Filename” tokens.

If you want to save this template for future use, click the Preset popup at the top of the dialog and choose “Save Current Settings as New Preset”. Enter a meaningful name for the template and click the Create button. You can then click the Done button to close the Filename Template Editor dialog.

In the Rename Photos dialog, the File Naming popup will either show the name of the template you saved if you saved it, or “Custom Settings” if you didn’t save a template after modifying the renaming structure. You can then enter a value (such as “1”) in the Start Number field to define the starting number for the sequence number. Then click the OK button to rename the selected photos. At that point you can set the sort order to “File Name” using the popup on the toolbar below the grid view display to sort the photos based on the custom order you defined.