It’s normal to spend a lot of time in Lightroom’s Grid view, so it pays to learn a few ways to make your time there more efficient. Here are ten ways to get you working at the top of your game.

Getting there

Press G from anywhere in Lightroom to jump to Grid view (unless you’re in a text field somewhere). Ok, that’s an easy one, but it had to be said.

Zoom zoom

While in Grid view, you can quickly zoom in to 1:1 on a selected photo by pressing and holding the Z key. Keeping the Z key pressed allows you to click and drag around the zoomed photo as needed. Release the Z key to return to Grid view.

A single press (and release) of the Z key will jump you to 1:1 and keep you there, but just press Z again to jump back to Grid.

One pill makes you larger

You can increase the size of thumbnails with the + key and decrease with the – key. Way easier than finding that slider on the Toolbar.

You’ve gotta have style

Grid view styles that is! Press the J key to cycle through the Grid cell styles. Press Cmd+J (PC: Ctrl+J) to open the dialog box to configure the cell style options.

Order up

If you want to arrange thumbnails manually into a new sort order you will need to work within either a collection or a folder (with no subfolders). Group photos located across multiple folders into a collection. From there, be sure to grab the center of the photo (not the border) and drag/drop the thumbnails to rearrange. Use the View > Sort menu to choose from any other sort order.

One at a time

If you do not wish to see the contents of subfolders showing inside parent folders go to the Library menu and uncheck Show photos in Subfolders. Likewise, if you can no longer see the contents of subfolders when selecting a parent folder, and you want it back, head up and re-check that menu option again (on by default).

Automatic advancement

To make the application of flags, ratings and color labels go faster you can enable Auto Advance under the Photo menu. When enabled, Lightroom will automatically advance focus to the next thumbnail after a rating, flag or color label is applied.

To pause that behavior for a moment so that you can add more than one attribute to a photo (like a rating and a flag) without it advancing on you, just hold the Shift key while applying the first attribute, which pauses auto advance, then release Shift to apply the second attribute and auto advance on your way. Similarly, Caps Lock disables Auto Advance while the option is checked in the menu, OR enables Auto Advance while the option is unchecked in the menu.

You’re all thumbs

To devote maximum screen real estate to seeing only thumbnails … press Shift+F until you reach Full Screen mode, then press Tab+Shift to hide all panels, then press T to hide the Toolbar, and then press the \ (backslash) key to hide the Library Filter bar. Now recall the tip from earlier to size the thumbnails to your liking.

Press those same keystrokes again to return panels and toolbars to their original visibility.

Stack time

When working within a folder or a regular collection, you can group multiple photos into stacks to decrease clutter. Select the photos you want to stack and go to Photo > Stacking > Group into Stack CMD+G (PC: Ctrl+G). If the menu option is grayed out you aren’t working within a folder or regular collection.

One last thing

Remember, when in Grid view everything you do is applied to all selected photos (for better or worse), so use it to your advantage and don’t forget you can always undo with Cmd+Z (PC: Ctrl+Z).



  1. snahL 13 July, 2022 at 09:26 Reply

    …missing the 11th. Killertip;

    How to force updating the current Metadata of selected images when in Grid View.
    I don’t mean “Read Metadata from Files” and likewise not “Write Metadata to Files”.

    there 3 dots when data is not complete
    there is an Up-Arrow that data in the file is different from the catalog (=changed on Disk)
    there is a Down-Arrow that data in the catalog is different from the file (=changed in Lightroom)

    In my environment LR updates images currently visible in Grid View, the rest of files only get updated when they come into view. That is very cumbersome when the selection contains several hundred images.

    What’s the solution?

    • Rob Sylvan 14 July, 2022 at 08:32 Reply

      Do you apply metadata changes (flags, keywords, etc.,) in some app other than Lightroom Classic? Do you edit photos in Adobe Camera Raw directly instead of Lightroom Classic? Do you have Lightroom Classic set to automatically write changes to XMP or do it manually? If the answer to all those questions is “no” then one solution is to just ignore it. In that situation only the information stored in the catalog matters and you did not make any intentional changes to the photo’s metadata, so who cares what Lightroom Classic thinks about whether the metadata in the photo is different from the catalog? Alternatively, if the answer to all questions is still no, and you do want the metadata stored with the photo to be the same as in the catalog, then select all photos and press CMD/Ctrl+S to have Lightroom Classic write to each photo’s metadata, overwriting what is currently there with what is in the catalog, and make them the same in both places.

      If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then the solution is more nuanced because you may be doing something outside of Lightroom Classic that you want to preserve.

  2. Jim Sewell 23 March, 2019 at 09:21 Reply

    Thanks, Rob, for the tips! The last one is the best. If I had a $20 for every time I’ve cropped ALL my photos by accident I’d not have to work again. Ctrl/Cmd-Z is a lifesaver!

  3. Eric Vaandering 14 March, 2019 at 15:04 Reply

    The first tip (holding Z) does not work for me.

    The Caps-lock to turn off auto-advance has solved my biggest annoyance with Lightroom and that’s the combination of compare tool, auto-advance, and filtering out rejects I use. I would always have to suffer a couple of seconds of schizophrenia while rejecting photos. No longer!

  4. marc labro 13 March, 2019 at 23:20 Reply

    Thank you Rob for this useful summary

    I’d like to have a grid showing effects of a category of presets like topaz plugins or ON1 photo raw so a better way to compare presets.
    A slider allows to change the size of grid thumbnails (ie:4-6 presets per screen).
    This is useful for presets but also for LUT.
    So difficult to chose a lut just by rolling over the mouse

    capturemonkey did something like that creating as many virtual copies than presets but no idea if they delete thumbnails when we have selected one

    best regards

  5. Johan Schmidt 13 March, 2019 at 08:19 Reply

    “Similarly, Caps Lock disables Auto Advance while the option is checked in the menu, OR enables Auto Advance while the option is unchecked in the menu.” – thanks never could understand why the Auto Advance didn’t always seem to work!

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