Lightroom Video: The Previous Button and What It Does

I get a lot of questions on what the Previous button does in the Develop module. You’ll find it on the bottom right of the screen, just below all of your Develop panels. It’s a button that I use every day, all day and I think once you see the power of that simple button you’ll find it’s one of the best kept secrets inside of Lightroom.


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,, 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.

Share This Post On
468 ad


  1. I LOVE the preview button, but I somehow can’t find it? How do I get it to show up again? I see synchronize, but not preview…

    Post a Reply
    • Debbie…you are probably in the Library module. You need to be in Develop in order to see it.

      Post a Reply
  2. I would not call the previous button even remotely hidden or a best kept secret! I personally kind of hate it because it includes crop, spot removal etc… There should be a little arrow next to the previous button that activates the same menu that you get when you copy settings and can exclude certain ones. Now that would be the best kept secret! Too much is carried over with the previous button and in my opinion and this is why I just do a copy and paste.

    Post a Reply
  3. Hey Matt,

    One thing I’m still not satisfy with in Lightroom is sharpening for web, the top reason I use photoshop is to resize and sharpen the photo then export for web as .png file but I don’t know how to export to web from Lightroom in .png file and sharp. What do you recommend to do about web sharpening and .png files export? and the automatic sharpening selector in export menu in Lightroom is disappointing.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi – there is no PNG export option for the web. But I export to JPEG all the time (for the web) at Standard setting on Output Sharpening and the photos are plenty sharp. In fact, I get more comments and questions on how I get my photos so sharp and that’s all I really do to them.

      Post a Reply
      • Thanks so much for replying. Like to follow your blog and website.

        I discovered it was the website itself compressing the photos. Yes now I do the same you do in Lightroom and it works great! Thanks!

        Post a Reply
  4. I’ve never used the previous button before. I will start using it now that I know what it does.

    Post a Reply
  5. Keyboard shortcut Command-alt(opt)-V
    I use a ShuttlePro v2 with Lightroom I have it programed in the lower Button. It’s Great! The dial is set for Exposure

    Post a Reply
  6. Matt, I never really noticed that button before! I think it’s great! I’ve always set up a preset to do the same thing … now I’ll be using the “Previous Key”! Thanks,


    Post a Reply
  7. I also use the previous button but when I don’t want to copy all the settings (ie. crop and adj. brush) I use “copy/paste settings” function as this allows you to choose what to copy by checking the appropriate boxes.

    I also took a similar approach to RPG keys but I use a Logitech G13 record my own Hotkeys into it.

    Post a Reply
  8. Hey Matt-

    I use the Previous button all the time. However, I use it in a slightly different way.

    In the Develop module, it can take a couple of seconds for the preview to load (it doesn’t sound like much, but for 1000 images from a wedding it can add up), so I prefer to work in the Library Module Loupe view whenever possible because there is no delay there.

    The trick is that I am working with RPG keys. You can have a key programmed to use the Previous button while working in Loupe view! This is a huge time saver for me.

    Post a Reply
  9. Cool tip and somewhat funny – I used to use this pretty regularly and then it faded out. Actually forgot about it over time but will need to remember to bring it back into the toolbox. Great timing as I’m facing a mountain of developing following a 10-day trip to Costa Rica.

    Post a Reply
  10. Wow, I teach Lightroom at several Seattle colleges and I NEVER even noticed that button. Thank you!

    Post a Reply
  11. I use it all the time too but it has one major aggravation – along with all the other settings it also applies the previous crop. That’s a feature I’d like to at least be able to turn on or off. I may want all my other editing features applied, but not necessarily the crop – which I then have to undo and recrop.

    Post a Reply
  12. Just another difference between Lightroom and Camera Raw (no PREVIOUS).

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>