Lightroom Tip: Quick and Easy Before/After View

Hey everyone. Happy Friday! I’ve got a really quick and simple Lightroom tip today. It’s one of those keyboard shortcuts that’s become second nature for me, but I run in to folks all the time that didn’t know about it. See, Lightroom has official Before/After buttons at the bottom left of your photo (while in the Develop module). Here’s a screen capture to show you where they are.

(click to see image larger)
beforeafter

While they’re good at showing you your before/after next to each other, that’s typically not the view I prefer. I prefer to see it large on screen. Well, there’s a quick keyboard shortcut that’ll do just that. Just hit the backslash key (\). Press it once and you’ll see the Before image (with no Lightroom changes – except cropping). Then press it again and you’ll see your current After image. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend!

Author: Matt Kloskowski

Matt is the full-time Director of Education for Kelby Media Group and a Tampa-based photographer. He's the Editor-in-Chief of Lightroom Magazine, the lead instructor on the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom LIVE Seminar Tour and author of several best-selling Photoshop books. Matt also hosts the world's top Lightroom blog, LightroomKillerTips.com, where he's built up a massive library of Lightroom videos, presets and tips. In addition to teaching Photoshop, Lightroom and photography seminars around the world, he's an instructor at Photoshop World and one of the full-time staff writers for Photoshop User Magazine.

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20 Comments

  1. Lightroom continues to have the annoying problem that some keyboard shortcuts (like “\”, or even [ and ] for Brush Size) don´t work on some foreign language keyboards. There is a clunky workaround tweaking a “Resources” file, but it is, indeed, clunky, and a bad solution, which doesn´t work for everything. I wished Lightroom provided a Keyboard Shortcut Mapper, just like Photoshop does.

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    • +1

      But I didn’t tweak the resources file – I got the working keyboard shortcut for this simple but very helpful function from it (=> “SHIFT-V”).

      There literally was NO other way to get this shortcut as it is

      – not present in the dropdown menu that includes the other Before/After view options. I mean, neither the function nor the shortcut is available on the menu…

      – not present in the keyboard shortcuts screen for the development mode you can get in the help dropdown menu.

      – and, obviously, it still isn’t available in the lower command area where the other before-after options are (even though there is still much room left) so that I could at least click on it with the friggin mouse or my Wacom pen!
      Additionally, Adobe still hasn’t fully localized their web help information and shows the non-working shortcuts for the US version as this excerpt proves:
      “Wenn Sie die Vorher- und Nachher-Ansicht in der Lupenansicht einzeln umschalten möchten, drücken Sie die Taste mit dem umgekehrten Schrägstrich (\)”

      And for this “great” localization performance we Germans still have to pay much more than the regular US price + taxes. Thanks Adobe!

      But wait, there’s more:

      Earlier Adobe used the shortcut “SHIFT-S” in the German version – but since LR4 this is the shortcut for the Softproof mode so they dropped it.
      This change means that I couldn’t find the answer simply by googling it as I was either getting results for the US shortcut or the older German one.
      Let’s see if they change it again in the future…

      And, yes, we have to cope with the SHIFT key for this potentially often used shortcut as the regular V key is used for the black&white conversion shortcut – which you usually use only once per image…
      Dammit: The CONTROL-SHIFT-V keyboard shortcut is also used so be careful!

      Well, thanks again Adobe – for this job well done!

      Post a Reply
      • Yeah, seems Adobe products cost more whens they travel to Europe, but then German autos have the same effect when they cross the Atlantic the opposite way. (;>)

        Post a Reply
        • Most of German cars work fine, though… ;-)

          However, in Europe Germans pay the premium for German cars, too.
          That’s why many Germans have begun re-importing them from Danmark or Portugal, for example.

          Drugs (as in “medicine”) are another example where Germans pay the most in Europe, even if they are from German pharma corporations.

          In other words: We Germans are fair game to exploit and everybody does it.

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  2. I like it! This will definitely become a habit. Thanks for posting, Matt.

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  3. hallo,
    this is a usual shortcut used by mat, scott kelby and martin evening but never worked in my case with belgian keyboard
    in my case I use shift S and it works fine

    it always look a miracle when a shortcut is published :-)
    can’t we imagine one day the creators of LR publish them on the help page ???

    kind regards
    marc

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  4. And for those of us who are even lazier, simply hold the \ key and then let go to toggle edited/original state….

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  5. Great. Thanks. Now only if the backslash key would give you the two shots successively in full screen like you get with the f key in Lightroom 5. Maybe they are holding back that common sense function to get me to pay for the next upgrade.

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  6. Why don’t you create your own discovered list of LR shortcuts and post on a free website hosted page with a link here.

    That seems like a simple solution to all the complaining about the lack of shortcut information. Just saying…

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  7. I wish I could find a solution to my non-functioning backslash (\) shortcut to toggle between before and after edits. Hasn’t worked for me since upgrading to LR5. Only solution I’ve found online is specific to Dutch keyboards – no English solution. :(

    Post a Reply
    • Janna: a kludge that works – even if it is a pain in the neck- is to create a file called “TranslatedStrings.txt” (without quotes). Place it inside a new folder called “en” (without quotes) under the “…\Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.2\Resources” folder. The “TranslatedStrings.txt” should contain just one line. In my case I chose this:

      “$$$/AgDevelop/Menu/View/BeforeAfter/Before/Key=<"

      This turns the "<" key into the Before/After equivalent of the \ key on non-English keyboards where the \ key cannot be used as a keyboard shortcut.

      Good luck, but I repeat that this workaround is a kludge until Adobe provides a keyboard mapper for Lightroom.

      Post a Reply
    • Hold shift while pressing the backslash key. It worked for me.

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  8. Did not work for me, but the i changed the language to another language, and then back to english (en). Voila!
    Greetings from Denmark, Scandinavia

    Jesper

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  9. My UK version of Lightroom 5, just downloaded from Adobe Creative Cloud does not have the Before / After buttons below the
    image when in develop mode. Have I set something up wrong ?

    Thanks if anybody can help

    Post a Reply
    • In Develop Mode, click on the little down arrow to the far right of the bar right under the picture. Make sure the top “View Modes” choice is checked.

      Post a Reply
  10. hallo,
    it is specific to keyboards and language,… on my belgian keyboard i press “shift S” in develop module. if you have an official version you can ask to the support whick key is used for your kb.
    I have never understood why shortcuts… are so hidden and why we need “lr killer tips” to know they exist

    in the same idea [ and ] don’t work on my photoshop to change brush size and i need to use ! … but i think it is in preferences in photoshop why it is hidden in lr.

    best regards
    marc

    Post a Reply
    • @labro
      Thanks a lot, Shift-S works well on my french KB !
      And yes, I agree, why are the shortcuts so hidden ?!
      Gilles VDS

      Post a Reply
  11. Hi everybody!

    Not being able to see before/after with the \-key in Fullscreen mode (F)
    has been very frustrating but today I actually found a way that works! :-)

    If I instead of F press Ctrl-Shift-F (as in menu Window – Screen mode – Full Screen and Hide Panels) the \-key (and the alternate <-key set via Translatedstrings for my Swedish keyboard) actually work. However the F key now switches between Fill and Fit views in fullscreen.
    To get out of fullscreen I can use either Ctrl-Shift-F again or Shift-F to cycle through
    the various semi-fullscreen modes.

    Post a Reply

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