Photo Sort Popup Missing


Today’s Question: I noticed that the sort options that used to be in the toolbar just above the filmstrip [in Lightroom Classic] have vanished. I can still sort the photos by going to menu option View > Sort. Is there a way to get those options back where they used to be, on the toolbar above the filmstrip?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can bring back the Sort popup by choosing Sorting from the popup at the far right of the toolbar below the image preview area.

More Detail: By default, the Sort popup is shown on the toolbar below the image preview area in Lightroom Classic when you are in the grid view display. The Sort popup is not included with the loupe view display by default.

However, you can also customize the toolbar to add or remove various controls. That includes the ability to remove the Sort popup from the toolbar for the grid view (even if only accidentally) or to add the popup to the toolbar for the loupe view.

To change the configuration for the toolbar click the popup at the far right of the toolbar, which has a downward pointing triangle on it. On the popup that appears you’ll see a checkmark to the left of items that are currently enabled, and no checkmark for items that are hidden. Select an item from the popup to toggle its status between enabled and hidden.

Keep in mind that there are separate configurations for the loupe view and the grid view, so you can customize each individually. That includes, for example, adding the Sort popup to the loupe view if you’d like.

Reconnecting with Virtual Copies


Today’s Question: I have imported an image into Lightroom Classic, then worked on it and created several virtual copies. One day Lightroom Classic shows an exclamation mark in the upper right corner of each. If I want to click on the exclamation point and find the original image that these came from, do I have to figure out which of the images in the library is the first one, or can I use any of the virtual copies to reconnect?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can reconnect the original or a virtual copy with the source file, and all the related images will be reconnected properly. Note, however, that you can also determine which images is the virtual copy based on the turned page icon at the bottom-left corner of the thumbnail, or by a text such as “Copy 1” being shown in the Copy Name field in metadata.

More Detail: When you create virtual copies based on an original image in Lightroom Classic, those virtual copies point to the source image file just like the original within your catalog. In effect, the original and the virtual copies are interchangeable, and simply represent different versions of adjustments and metadata based on the same source image.

If you have an original and virtual copies that are missing, reconnecting any of those image references to the source image file will reconnect all. So, for example, if you reconnected one of the virtual copies the original and all virtual copies would all get reconnected as part of that process.

In other words, you don’t need to worry about whether you choose to reconnect an original or a virtual copy, as they are all related to each other.

Having said that, it is also relatively easy to identify which images are the virtual copies versus the original. As long as you haven’t disabled badges for the thumbnails in Lightroom Classic you’ll see a turned page icon at the bottom-left corner of the thumbnails for virtual copies. You’ll also see text in the Copy Name field in metadata for virtual copies, which by default would be the word “Copy” followed by a number indicating the number of virtual copies you’ve created for that source image.

You can also filter images based on being original images versus virtual copies using the Kind option on the Attribute tab of the Library Filter bar. But again, even if you can’t identify which image is the original versus a virtual copy, you don’t need to make that determination in order to reconnect the images to the original file.

Combining Images with Text


Today’s Question: I would like to create a document combining imagery originating in Lightroom Classic with text. Say, a descriptive paragraph accompanying an image. Any suggestions?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I think one of the most convenient options for this type of project would be to use the Book module in Lightroom Classic. You could then produce a printed book, or simply output to a PDF for the equivalent (mostly) of an eBook.

More Detail: The Book module in Lightroom Classic provides a relatively easy way to combine photos and text with a template-based approach. There are a wide variety of templates to choose from, including page layouts that include only text or only photos, or a combination of the two.

I recommend starting off creating the text in a word processing application, in part so you can take advantage of spell check and other helpful features as you finalize your text. This text can obviously be created based on having already selected the images you’ll include in the project.

You can then create a book layout in the Book module, placing photos and copying and pasting text for each page you create. Note, by the way, that for brief captions for photos you could also make use of the Title or Caption fields, which can be automatically added to photos in some of the templates.

When you’re finished creating the layout you could certainly create a printed book from the Blurb printing service (, which is the primary purpose of the Book module in Lightroom Classic. However, there is also an option to produce a PDF document based on your book layout.

The only caveat to keep in mind when creating a PDF is that the front and back covers of the book will be rendered as a separate PDF from the interior of the book. In other words, if your intent is to generate your own PDF to use as a form of eBook, you will probably want to skip the front and back covers altogether when creating the book layout.

Default Catalog Upgrade


Today’s Question: If I set my default catalog to the version 12 catalog in Preferences, what happens when there’s a future update and my catalog is upgraded to version 13? Do I need to remember to go change the default catalog again?

Tim’s Quick Answer: If the catalog is updated due to an upgrade for Lightroom Classic the default catalog in Preferences will update based on that upgrade.

More Detail: As noted in a previous Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, I recommend setting your primary catalog in Lightroom Classic as the default, to help ensure you don’t accidentally work in the wrong catalog. This option is found on the General tab of the Preferences dialog in Lightroom Classic.

If you later upgrade to a new version of Lightroom Classic that requires a catalog upgrade, the setting will update automatically to reflect the updated catalog.

For example, let’s assume you had set the default catalog in Preferences to your primary catalog for Lightroom Classic version 11. If you upgrade to Lightroom Classic version 12 the catalog would be updated to the version 12 catalog format. The Default Catalog setting in Preferences would update automatically as part of this process so that the version 12 catalog is selected rather than the version 11 catalog.

Develop Settings in XMP Sidecar File


Today’s Question: I have Lightroom Classic setup so that it stores all the Develop information in the “sidecar” (XMP) files. That being the case, in the event the catalog was damaged or lost, would these XMP files provide the necessary information to recreate the edited images? I realize that other Lightroom-specific information such as collections wouldn’t be available, but all the Develop adjustments would be there, correct?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Correct, if you enable the option to save metadata to the source image files in Lightroom Classic, that will include the adjustments from the Develop module. If you later imported the images into a new catalog, the previously applied adjustments would automatically be reflected in that catalog.

More Detail: If you turn on the “Automatically write changes into XMP” checkbox on the Metadata tab of the Catalog Settings dialog in Lightroom Classic, metadata updates that are part of an established metadata standard such as star ratings and keywords will be saved to the original image file, which in the context of a proprietary raw capture means the information is saved in an XMP “sidecar” file. That metadata will include the settings for the adjustments you applied in the Develop module.

If you also want Develop settings to be saved to other supported image formats, you can turn on the checkbox labeled “Include Develop settings in metadata inside JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and PSD files”.

With these options enabled, Develop settings will be included in the metadata saved out to the image files, in addition to being saved within the Lightroom Classic catalog. In the future, if for any reason you need to create a new catalog in Lightroom Classic you could simply import all of your existing images and the Develop settings along with standard metadata fields will be included automatically for the images in that new catalog.

Confusion Opening Catalog


Today’s Question: I have a problem with my catalog [in Lightroom Classic]. When I open Lightroom Classic it comes up with a previous version of the catalog. I can open Lightroom Classic correctly by using a backup [of the catalog]. After closing down and reopening it the same past version opens again. How do I establish the backup as current or the version I want to use?

Tim’s Quick Answer: This indicates you have the wrong catalog set as the default catalog, so you just need to correct that setting in the Preferences dialog.

More Detail: By default, when you launch Lightroom Classic it will open with the most recently used catalog. While this makes sense, it can actually be problematic if you had opened a different catalog for some reason and don’t realize that this other catalog would be opened by default the next time you launched Lightroom Classic. In this type of situation you might start working in the wrong catalog without realizing that it isn’t your primary catalog.

Because of this risk of confusion, I highly recommend setting your primary catalog as the default catalog in the Preferences dialog in Lightroom Classic. First, you’ll want to launch the correct catalog. I don’t recommend opening a backup copy of the catalog unless the primary catalog has been lost or corrupted. If you recently updated to Lightroom Classic 12, for example, you may have an older version 11 catalog in the same folder as the newer version 12 catalog, and you would want to open the latest version of your primary catalog.

You can then open the Preferences dialog by choosing Edit > Preferences from the menu on Windows, or Lightroom Classic > Settings (or Preferences) on Macintosh. Within the Preferences dialog start by going to the General tab. In the Default Catalog section click the popup and choose your primary catalog from the popup. You can then close the Preferences dialog.

From that point forward, when you simply launch Lightroom Classic it will always open with the catalog you’ve established in the Preferences dialog.

Double Synchronization Confusion


Today’s Question: I’m having a problem with synchronized photographs. I have Lightroom Classic on both an iMac and a MacBook Air. When I enabled synchronization on the MacBook Air it seemed to take over and I lost the ability to switch on and off synchronization for collections on the iMac. I now have 3169 photos in All Synced Photographs on the iMac and 892 in All Synced Photographs on the MacBook Air. I turned off the synchronization checkboxes for all collections, so there should be nothing syncing. Why are there photos in the All Synced Photographs collection when nothing is synced?

Tim’s Quick Answer: There are two issues here. First, you can only have synchronization enabled for a single Lightroom Classic catalog at any time. Second, once photos are synchronized to the Creative Cloud, they are not removed unless you specifically remove them.

More Detail: With Lightroom Classic you can only have synchronization enabled for a single catalog. If you enable synchronization for a second catalog, synchronization will be disabled for the first catalog. So, you’ll need to choose which catalog you want to enable synchronization for, such as your primary catalog rather than a traveling catalog, and ensure you have synchronization enabled for the correct catalog.

The second issue is that once you synchronize photos, they are never removed from cloud-based storage unless you specifically remove them. Simply disabling synchronization for a collection, for example, will not cause the photos in that collection to stop being stored in the Creative Cloud.

Therefore, if you no longer want certain photos stored in the Creative Cloud, you’ll need to remove them. In Lightroom Classic that means removing the photos from the All Synced Photographs collection in the Catalog section of the left panel in the Library module. Within that collection you can simply select the photos you don’t want stored in the cloud, then right-click and choose “Remove from All Synced Photographs” from the popup menu.

Keep in mind that photos can also be synchronized to the Creative Cloud via the Lightroom mobile app on a mobile device, for example. So be sure to only remove photos from the All Synced Photographs collection that you know are already represented in your normal workflow.

Note that if you have synchronized photos from Lightroom Classic to the cloud, you can review or update those synchronized photos using the Lightroom ecosystem. That includes being able to use the Lightroom application on another computer, the Lightroom app on a mobile device, or Lightroom in a web browser (

When to Use Smart Objects


Today’s Question: I am curious if you have any preferences for opening up into Photoshop from Lightroom Classic as “edit in” versus “edit as smart object”, especially now with all the filters available, including neural filters, blur, etc.

Tim’s Quick Answer: For a “normal” image-optimization workflow that might include additional image layers, I prefer not to open the image as a smart object. For more creative workflow involving filters, you may want to make use of the smart object option.

More Detail: When you send an image from Lightroom Classic to Photoshop, you have the option to open the image as a smart object. To use this option instead of choosing “Edit in Adobe Photoshop from the Photo > Edit In > Edit In menu you would choose “Open as Smart Object in Photoshop” from that menu.

When you open an image as a smart object in Photoshop the original image is embedded into the derivative file that is created. This provides some great workflow flexibility, but it can also lead to some problems.

In the context of a raw capture opened as a smart object in Photoshop, because the raw capture is embedded rather than having been opened as a normal pixel layer, you can double-click on the smart object layer to bring up the Camera Raw interface. This enables you to refine the adjustment settings you had applied in the Develop module in Lightroom Classic.

While this capability can be helpful, it can also be problematic with a layer-based workflow. For example, let’s assume you processed the image in color in Lightroom Classic and opened it as a smart object in Photoshop. You add a new image layer to perform some image cleanup work to remove some blemishes. Then you double-click on the smart object layer and in Camera Raw convert the image to black and white. The image cleanup work will still be in color, which would be a problem.

This is just one illustrative example of the type of problems you can get into when you combine a smart object with image layers in Photoshop.

Of course, there are situations where using a smart object can be tremendously helpful. For example, if you’re using creative filters there’s a good chance you might want to later review or revise the settings you used for the filter. Using a smart object provides that flexibility, because just as you can open Camera Raw to edit the adjustment settings for a smart object, so too can you apply filters to a smart object and then return to the filter settings to revise them.

The key is to make sure image layers won’t interfere with the use of a smart object. Therefore, I recommend only using smart objects when you won’t need to use additional image layers, and when the use of a smart object will provide advantages in your workflow. This can often mean, for example, having one layered copy of the image for the normal optimization workflow, and then creating an additional derivative based on that layered original that employs a smart object for creative effects.

Additional File Formats for Photoshop and Lightroom Classic


Today’s Question: As a follow-up to your answer about not using Save As in Photoshop after sending a photo from Lightroom Classic, what if you want to save the image in a file format other than TIFF or PSD, such as a JPEG?

Tim’s Quick Answer: If you wanted to send a photo from Lightroom Classic to Photoshop and then create a JPEG copy, I recommend using the Export feature in Lightroom Classic. You can even add that JPEG back to the Lightroom Classic catalog as part of that feature if you’d like.

More Detail: Today’s question is a follow-up from yesterday on the subject of sending a photo from Lightroom Classic to Photoshop for editing. When sending a raw capture to Photoshop in this way, the only options are to generate a TIFF file or a Photoshop PSD file, based on the setting you’ve established on the External Editing tab of the Preferences dialog in Lightroom Classic.

As noted in yesterday’s answer, with this workflow you should always use the File > Save command, not Save As, before closing the file, in order to ensure the image is correctly added to your Lightroom Classic catalog. This prevents you from reliably creating a JPEG copy of the image as part of this workflow as far as having that JPEG included in the catalog automatically.

Instead, I recommend creating a JPEG copy using the Export command. You can select the image you want to export (such as the TIFF or PSD from Photoshop in this example) and then click the Export button at the bottom of the left panel in the Library module.

In the Export dialog you can specify that you want the new image to be added to the Lightroom Classic catalog by turning on the “Add to This Catalog” checkbox in the Export Location section of the dialog. You can also choose “Same folder as original photo” from the Export To popup if you want the JPEG copy to be saved in the same folder as the source image you’re exporting a copy of.

You can then otherwise configure the desired settings for the export within the Export dialog and click the Export button to complete the operation. As long as you had the “Add to This Catalog” checkbox turned on, the photo will be added to the Lightroom Classic catalog referenced in the folder location you specified in the Export Location section of the Export dialog.

Photos from Photoshop are Missing


Today’s Question: I have a new problem where Photoshop is not saving photos to Lightroom Classic. I’m saving as TIFF, and the saved Photoshop images are appearing on the external hard drive but not in Lightroom Classic.

Tim’s Quick Answer: This appears to be the common situation where the “Save As” command is being used in Photoshop for photos sent from Lightroom Classic. When you’re finished working with an image in Photoshop with this workflow, simply choose File > Save (not Save As) from the menu followed by File > Close.

More Detail: In my experience if you use the “Save As” command to save a copy of an image in Photoshop that was sent directly from Lightroom Classic, most of the time that copy will not appear in your Lightroom Classic catalog.

In effect, when you use the Photo > Edit In command from Lightroom Classic to send a photo to Photoshop, Lightroom Classic has already told Photoshop where to save the file, what filename to use, and what file format (TIFF or PSD) to save the image in. If you interfere by using the “Save As” command, the image you save will generally not make it to the Lightroom Classic catalog.

If you were using the Save As command because you wanted to change certain settings, such as to save as a TIFF rather than a PSD file, those settings can be changed in the Preferences dialog. On the External Editing tab of the Preferences dialog adjust the settings in the “Edit in Adobe Photoshop” dialog. Those options include the file format to be used (TIFF or PSD), the color space, bit depth, and resolution. If you’ve selected TIFF as the file format you will also have an option for selecting a compression setting.

Just be sure that when you’re finished working with the image in Photoshop that you only use the Save command, not the Save As command. Any other changes beyond that, such as renaming the image or moving it to a different folder, should be done within Lightroom Classic, not while you’re working in Photoshop.