Following up to my post last week on custom filename templates, I wanted to share a tip on how to customize the display of text in slide shows, web galleries, and books. The answer is the same for all.

The process is very straightforward, although not necessarily intuitive at first glance. The key to understanding the technique is that the unique text for each slide in a slide show or page is stored in the metadata of each photo.

This seems to most commonly come up with slide shows. I’ve heard from many people who go to the Slideshow module, start creating a layout, and then when they want to add text to the slide, they click the ABC button in the Toolbar, which by default, makes a Custom Text field appear next to the ABC button. It’s easy to understand how a person would start to enter text in that field and think they were on the right track when that text appears on the slide. After having that text positioned where they want it, they advance to the next slide and are confused to see that same bit of text they just entered showing on the next slide as well. What’s going on here?

When you click the ABC button, you’re on the right track, but if you want unique text to appear on each slide, what you need to do next is click the drop-down menu that appears next to Custom Text and explore the other options.



Here you’ll find a set of pre-installed text templates (Caption, Custom Text, Date, Equipment, Exposure, Filename, Sequence, and Title) that can be used to display different types of data on a slide show, a book project, a web gallery, or along the bottom of a Single Image/Contact Sheet print in each of the respective modules. Note: If you don’t see those pre-installed templates, go to Lightroom (PC: Edit) Preferences, click on the Presets tab, and click the Restore Text Templates button. The Custom Text template is applied by default, but you can change it by selecting a more suitable template for your needs. The template you choose displays data based on the tokens it contains and the photo being shown.

Text templates are similar to filename templates in that they are comprised of one or more tokens that can pull information embedded in a file’s metadata. For example, the Caption text template contains a single token for pulling the information contained in the Caption field of a photo’s IPTC metadata. So the simple answer for having unique text appear on each slide in a slide show (or under the photo in a web gallery) is to first enter the unique text into the photo’s Caption field via the Metadata panel in the Library module, and second, to add the Caption text template to the slide show or web gallery.

You also have the option to create a custom text template. At the bottom of the list of text templates is the word Edit. Choose Edit to open the Text Template Editor.



The Text Template Editor allows you to mix and match various text tokens in any combination to fit your needs. You can even type text directly into the template if you wish to hard code in a bit of text into a template. After creating a custom template, click the Preset drop-down menu at the top of the editor and choose Save Current Settings as a New Preset to preserve that template for re-use. Any custom text templates, as well as the Template Editor itself, will be accessible from the ABC button of the Slideshow module, the Image Info panel of most web galleries, the Photo Text in the Text panel of the Book module, and the Photo Info menu of the Page panel in a Single Image/Contact Sheet print layout. Have fun creating different templates.



  1. Victor 12 February, 2020 at 17:28 Reply

    I found the answer to my issue. You have to go to Book, Book Preferences, Fill Text Boxes With (and change it to whatever item you want). It looks like it defaulted to Filler Text.

  2. Victor 9 February, 2020 at 13:07 Reply

    In the Book module, I can see where you can use, for example, the Caption metadata to populate the caption text for an image. I can do this for a single image. What I can’t figure out is how to get this to work automatically when auto-populating a layout. First, there’s an efficiency issue. I would have to do this same mundane task for each image. Worse, if I regenerate the layout, all my captions are lost. Surely there’s a way to get it to read the captions from metadata when doing auto-layout.

    • Rob Sylvan 9 February, 2020 at 18:33 Reply

      While looking at all pages (after auto layout), go to Edit > Select All Text Cells, then choose what text template you want to use in the Text panel. Should auto-populate the photo text field with the caption for each photo (assuming you’ve applied captions in the metadata to all photos already).

  3. Don Dement 16 September, 2017 at 15:09 Reply

    I’ve been teaching Lightroom for 6 years and using it on tens of thousand photos, and never knew this existed. As you’ve shown it, it reveals the answer to the frustrations I had when starting my first slideshow. Everyone asks how to caption a slide, and I said “you can only caption them all the same” with an apology.

    Now, I’m going to pay more attention to entering a title in Metadata because I know it can have multiple uses. Nothing like telling people where/what you’re showing. Thanks much.

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