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A Simple Move For Lightroom Classic Users That Makes a Big Difference

PROGRAMMING NOTE: There’s no episode of The Grid this week as the Outdoor Photography Conference kicks off tomorrow. It’s not too late to join us and get in on two incredible days of education and fun. There is a first-timer orientation today followed by a pre-conference session with the one and only Rick Sammon on “What makes a great Outdoor Photo.” Hope you can join us — we’ve got an incredible team of instructors (seen above), and I’ve got some really cool post-processing techniques to share. Here’s the link for tickets, along with the full conference schedule.

This is one of those little things you might not think about, but it can change the way you work when you’re editing in the Develop Module. In Lightroom Classic we have a stack of left side panels and right side panels. The left side panels are used the least because the thing you do there the most is to choose which image(s) you want to work on. Once you’ve picked your image (or collection of images, or Folder, etc.), you don’t need to keep that panel open at all — it’s just making your image smaller.

Above: Once you’ve chosen the image you want to work on, the Left Side Panels are just taking up space.

That’s why when I take an image over to the Develop Module, usually the first thing I do is to CLOSE to left side panels by pressing F7 on my keyboard. We need the right side panels open because that’s where we do all our editing, but those left side panels are, most of the time, just taking up space and making our image smaller on screen.

Above: Hit F7 to close that left side panel and your image is now much larger on screen, as seen here.

Note: If your image doesn’t jump up to fit most of the Preview area like this, make sure you have “Fit” selected at the top of the Navigator panel at the top of the left side panels.

Lightroom “cloud’s” interface is designed to work like already this because when you open the right side panels to start editing, it automatically closes the left side panels. Would love to see that feature added to Classic (hint, hint, Lightroom Classic team).

Hope you found that helpful. Looking forward to hanging out with everybody this week at the conference. Here’s wishing you a safe, happy, healthy, and fun week!




  1. Hal Kahn 19 May, 2021 at 09:45 Reply

    Hitting F7 on my Apple keyboard did nothing. Is there another way to make the left panel disappear?

  2. NotoriousRLS 17 May, 2021 at 11:55 Reply

    F5, F6, F7, F8 all useful screen space gains depending on what you’re doing at the moment- although I rarely use F8 as I’m in Develop mode almost all the time.

  3. labro 17 May, 2021 at 10:15 Reply

    I use left panel a lot because i have tons of presets there (kelby, mattk, ramelli, seim, visual flow, pretty presets, …). the left panel is well organized. a solo mode (closes a category when open another one) would be very nice. also upper tabs because i scroll a lot between last presets and history,… while tabs like old camera raw was genius.
    What I hate in lightroom is the right panel for local tools presets because i have also a ton of brus.. presets and this is a mess without categories, with a tiny arrow key at bottom of display. also solo mode is a must.

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