Arranging your files in Lightroom

When you import files into Lightroom they will be sorted in the Library module by capture time. Sometimes having them arranged by capture time might not fit your needs or if you are going to be arranging images for a slideshow they will go off the order here so you might need to rearrange them. There are a few easy ways to rearrange your files in Lightroom that we will cover today.

First you can change the sort view while in the Library module by heading over to the View –> Sort menu. From here you can select from many different types of sorts including: Added order, edit time, edit count, rating, pick, label text, label color, file name, file extension, file type and aspect ratio. This might take care of your needs but many times you will need a custom sort order for your images.

how to rearrange files in lightroom

In the main panel of the Library module you can simple drag and drop your images to change the order. This is quick and easy and you can use the shift or command key to select multiple files and move them all at once. The only issue with this that you will run into is Adobe only lets you move files that are contained in 1 folder not a file that has subfolders. In the example below you can see that I am trying to move around a few files that are in my desktop folder but this contains 2 subfolders of files so it won’t allow me to move them.

rearrange order in lightroom

So what can you do in this case? Narrowing down your selection to just one of the subfolders will work but that usually isn’t practical, if you were doing a best of slideshow and wanted to include multiple subfolders you don’t want to start moving things around or eliminating folders. Thankfully there is a easy way to work around this.

Collections to the rescue
First select all of the images from the main folder (Mac shortcut is Command – A, PC is Control – A). The on the left side in the Collections section click on the + button and choose Create Collection. Don’t pick smart collection you aren’t able to move things around in a smart collection only a normal collection. Name your collection and make sure you have the box checked for Include Selected Photos.

rearrange order in lightroom with collections

Now you have a new view with the entire group of images as a collection. From here you can drag and drop away to create your own custom arrangement of images! I hope this was useful and always welcome any comments below. Leave me a note here or on Facebook or Twitter and lets chat. Also to make sure you don’t miss a beat make sure to sign up for our email newsletters to get our articles delivered right to your inbox.


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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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