Lightroom Tips

5 Random Little Things In Lightroom That Throw People Off

I’m on the plane to Indianapolis right now, heading to teach my Lightroom seminar tomorrow (well, today when you read this). As I’m reviewing my notes, I realized there’s a bunch of little random things that people will come up and ask about throughout the day. Things that throw people off, have them searching around needlessly for settings, or simply things/settings that were just accidentally clicked on. So I thought I’d recap the top 5 I hear about.

1) Info Display – By default, Lightroom wants to put your photo “info” over the photo. Personally I hate this. I don’t want text over my photos as I’m working on them. Beyond the point of capture, I rarely have a need to know what my aperture or ISO was. So, if you ever want to shut that info off, just press the I key (I for Info). If you want to turn it back on, press the I key again.

Lightroom Info

2) The Toolbar – There’s a little toolbar right below the photo. In each module it has different things listed in it. But they’re usually pretty important things. So you can imagine when somebody doesn’t see that toolbar, it can be a problem. Well, it’s on by default so if you don’t see it, it usually means you pressed the letter T by accident. Lightroom actually tells you when you press it, to press T again to show the toolbar, but it’s easy to miss. So, if you ever don’t see the toolbar right below the photo just press the letter T.

Lightroom toolbar

3) Lightroom doesn’t have an Image Size command – If you come from Photoshop, this can be confusing. Photoshop users are used to changing the size of their image BEFORE they ever save it. For example, in Photoshop you go to Image > Image Size and enter the physical size you want the photo to be (in pixels, inches, etc…). Then you go to File > Save and save it as a PSD or JPEG or whatever. But in Lightroom it’s different. In Lightroom, the only time you ever have to worry about image size is when you actually save the image as a JPEG (or other format), or print the photo. At that point under File > Export, or in the Print module you determine the actual size you want this image to be output. But at any time before that it simply doesn’t matter. There’s really no settings that care what size the image is, so there’s no choices to change the size of your image aside from output choices.

4) The Mysterious Missing Filter Bar – There’s a Filter Bar at the bottom of the screen (right above the filmstrip). It’s really useful for filtering your view in Library mode just to see your Picks, or 5-star photos. Again, this is one of those tricky little things, but sometimes this accidentally gets hidden. How? By actually clicking the word “Filter”. So if you want to get it back, just click the word Filter again and you’ll see it.

Lightroom Filter Bar

5) H is for Hide – This is HUGE one. If you’re working with any of the tools in the Develop module (the Adjustment Brush, Radial Filter, Graduated Filter, or Spot Healing), then each tool has a “pin” which indicates that you’ve placed an adjustment on the photo. Well, if you accidentally (or on purpose at some point), hit the letter H it hides those pins. And if they’re hidden, you have no way of knowing that they’re there or what they’re doing. I’ve actually had people email me that they’re about to reinstall Lightroom if they can’t find an answer. Anyway, just press the letter H if you think something is off. Also, if you go to the top menu to Tools > Tools Overlay, you’ll see there’s some options there as well as the keyboard shortcuts that go along with them.

I’m sure there’s many more little things. Maybe things that confused you at some point. So if you have any please post ‘em here in the comments and I’ll do a follow up post.

By the way, I’m teaching in Indianapolis today so it’s probably too late for you to attend. However, I’m heading to Columbus to teach the same seminar on Wednesday. I’d love to see you, so if you can make it out grab a ticket over at



  1. Alzzary 6 May, 2018 at 14:34 Reply

    I had to click the FUCKING word “Filter” ! DAMN THIS IS VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY LOGICAL !!!! *IRONY*

    Thank you so much for this ! I have been an existential crisis because of this shitting UI issue…

  2. Bill Mitchell 1 April, 2018 at 12:16 Reply

    Thanks, Matt. Very helpful. I suspect I’ve stumbled onto another one but don’t know how to avoid it. In rating images five stars in DEVELOP mode, they disappear from the grid. I suspect that’s because I’ve set a smart collection for anything with five stars. But I don’t know how to turn it off or where to find these five star images! Ideas? Many thanks.

    • Rob Sylvan 1 April, 2018 at 14:20 Reply

      You can’t turn off a smart collection. If you are in a smart collection based on rating, and don’t want photos to disappear from it at that moment, then do not change the ratings assigned to the photos while viewing that collection.

      Switch to viewing the photos in a regular collection or their respective folders, then change the rating. The photo will still be removed from the smart collection based on rating (or added to it depending on the rule and the rating you assign), but they won’t vanish on you while you are trying to edit them in Develop.

  3. Alexander Z 17 June, 2015 at 12:28 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    Awesome tips! I want (NEED) to add , edit my metadata files but the metadata tab is missing in the top bar how do I find or restore that?
    thank you!

  4. jay 2 May, 2014 at 11:23 Reply

    Small point but since the SHIFT key modifies keyboard input meaningfully, it’s important to point out that it’s not “I” that turns the info on and off – it’s “i”. So, not a capital I, but a lower case i.

    Actually same for “T” and toolbar. It’s a lowercase t.

    Same for Hide – it’s a lower case H.

    I know its a small point but the way shift modifies other commands – for example using “6” to set the label to red: If you hold shift (or have on caps lock) then pressing 6 will move to the next photo, too.

    • Matt K 5 May, 2014 at 17:48 Reply

      Hi Jay. Thanks. I pretty much go with industry standards for styling keyboard shortcuts. The standard is you write the key as it looks on the keyboard. So unless you have a whacked out keyboard, the T key looks like a capital T, not lowercase t. If the keyboard shortcut involves the Shift key, then it’d be written “Shift T”, not “T” and hope the person realizes that they’re supposed to hold the Shift key to get to a capital T.

  5. Frank Herzog 19 April, 2014 at 14:56 Reply

    Oh, one other thing…is it possible to make “capture time” the default sort in Lightroom? I am involved in photo contests where the date my photo was created determines its eligability. Plus, when you’re dealing with a fairly small number of photographs (500-750) it makes them easier to organize.


  6. Frank Herzog 19 April, 2014 at 14:53 Reply

    Once again I’ve learned to be open minded about the things I do with digital photography. The idea that other people have great ideas and are willing to share them is reinforced nearly every day. I can’t think of another profession where this willingness to share is so profound.

    If you are a photographer be proud of that.

    If you’re a beginning photographer make that one of your goals.

  7. Rick Bulak 6 April, 2014 at 10:00 Reply

    First, I attended your workshop in LA last month and found it to be a very wise investment of my time and dollars.

    Second, In regards to your third axiom above: I have been cropping my images to a specific image size to ensure LR does not clip off something I want to keep when saving to JPEG. I only do this for photos I plan on printing (14 x 14, 4 x 6, 8 x 10, etc…). Is this unnecessary??

    • Matt K 6 April, 2014 at 12:53 Reply

      Hey Rich. Nope, that sounds like the right thing to do if you want to be specific about how your images are cropped. Thanks for coming out to LA. Glad you enjoyed it.

  8. Joe Hudspeth 3 April, 2014 at 12:21 Reply

    Thanks for those 5 Matt. Really useful! One other I would like to find out about. In the Print module when you put text on a photo (like the fine art mat preset), how do you automatically get that text centered. I know how to center the text in Photoshop CC, but not in LR5. Any help therre would be appreciated.

  9. Les Howard 3 April, 2014 at 09:18 Reply

    “Help – the side panels are very hard to read” or “the side panels disappearred”. You probably accidently pressed the L key. Try pressing it again … and again … and again …

    • Chuck Coffman 3 April, 2014 at 12:17 Reply

      Very useful tips. I have a book of them from your class I attended. I wish there was some way I could remember. I guess I’ll just have to wait for the brain implant. Thanks!

  10. Diane Morris 1 April, 2014 at 17:27 Reply

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the helpful tips. I have a mystery that i hope you can solve…….somehow, as i have been learning lightroom, the word “library” disappeared from my list of modules in the top right corner. i can get to the library by pressing “g”, but i would love to have my library tab restored.

    please help! thanks, diane m

    • Mike McCarthy 4 April, 2014 at 04:23 Reply

      This is another annoying, yet simple fix.

      Right click on the Module Picker and you will see a list of modules. Chances are Library somehow got unchecked, so just check it again in the displayed list and you should be golden! 🙂

      • Diane Morris 5 April, 2014 at 17:28 Reply

        Thanks so much! that worked like a charm! didn’t know you could right click on the module picker!

  11. Jim 31 March, 2014 at 22:06 Reply

    Matt, I have looked all over and I cannot find the answer to this perplexing issue. How do I duplicate the radial filter in an image with the exact same adjustments? Example would be creating multiple beams of light with the same adjustments. Look forward to your reply.

  12. labro 31 March, 2014 at 14:31 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    First, to answer to Mike, in belgium filter top bar is “$”.
    i become crazy with all different shortcuts in english tutos and in my french version
    preview in develop is “shift-s”, never understood why for each vesrion there is no summary of shortcuts in lr help

    thanks for the tuto, recently i missed the “t” bar and didn’t know how to recover it. Fortunately forum on lr are helpful

    i also wondered why my images were not sorted by their d300 number at import and again forum explain in the T bar we can sort by filename

    best regards

  13. Lynn Rogers 31 March, 2014 at 10:46 Reply

    Thank you for solving the mysteries! All those things have driven me crazy at one time or another. The one that’s ALWAYS missing in all my versions if Lightroom is the top Filter Bar – the one just above the photos in the Library Module which includes Text, Attributes, Metadata, and None. The only way I know to display it (temporarily) is Command F on a Mac. Is there a way to keep it always visible?

    • Kent 1 April, 2014 at 16:02 Reply

      It’s only visible in the Library Module when in Grid View. That drove me nuts until I figured it out too!

  14. John LeJeune 31 March, 2014 at 08:14 Reply

    Mask Overly in Develop module is one I use frequently. Typing the letter “O” (as in Oh!) to turn it on and off and also Shift + O to change the overlay colors.

    Thanks for the tips Matt!

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