FeaturedLibraryLightroom Tips

How to Find Which Images Don’t Have Smart Previews (or vice versa)

Hi everybody, and a very happy Friday to you!

If you want to quickly find out which images in your library don’t have Smart Previews (or, if you want to remove Smart Previews from your images to save space), here’s what ya do:


STEP ONE: Go to the Catalog Panel (in the left side panels), and click on “All Photographs.” Then, in the Library module make the Library Filter Bar up top visible by pressing the back slash key on your keyboard (this shortcut toggles the bar on/off). Now, click on the Metadata tab; then click and hold on the column header at the top of  the first column on the left (it says “date” by default) and from the pop-up men that appears choose Smart Preview Status, as shown here.


STEP TWO: This  displays the number of images that do and don’t have Smart Previews. Click on “No Smart Preview” to display all those images without smart previews (if you want to add Smart Previews) or click on “Has Smart Preview” if you want to remove them all.


STEP THREE: Now go under the Library menu; under Previews; and choose Build Smart Previews (as shown here), and it will build smart previews for all your images that didn’t already have them.

Hope you find that helpful.

Hope you all have a great weekend. I have something fun to announce on Monday, so I hope you’ll stop back by then. 🙂



P.S. I posted the images and story from my recent photo trip to Iceland – here’s the link if you’ve got a sec.



  1. Teresa Myers 13 February, 2022 at 11:07 Reply

    You Rock Scott! Thanks for your help with preview images not showing and how to fix. I look forward to reading your book to learn more tips and techniques. Thanks again!!Teresa

  2. Akhil 31 March, 2017 at 08:46 Reply

    Great Post Scott!

    A related question – do you know if there’s a similar trick to check for 1:1 previews as well? I have 1:1 previews for some photos in my library, but not able to figure out which. I’d like to keep them for all, but don’t want to regenerate previews for photos which already have them (Lightroom seems to re-check or rebuild 1:1 previews even for the existing ones)

  3. Steve Green 8 February, 2017 at 17:47 Reply

    Thanks so much for making the switch from Aperture so much easier. I bought and read (even the chapter intros!) from cover to cover for both LR and PS but don’t seem to need much PS. I finally after many years have all of my photos under one roof (SSD).

    • notlyle 16 September, 2016 at 17:49 Reply

      Under Catalog on the left, choose the “All photos”, Choose Module -> Library – look at the bar above the pictures and choose Metadata, Keyword: choose “none”. Make sure the rest of your library filter is showing all photos. Float mouse over the header names of columns and change one to Keyword if it’s not there. Just did it, should get your there or close with your setup.

      • notlyle 17 September, 2016 at 11:19 Reply

        Create a smart collection called “No Keywords” which looks at pulldown item “Keywords” and then the one to the right of it “are empty”. If you then click on that smart collection your filmstrip will show them.

    • Scott Kelby 17 September, 2016 at 12:08 Reply

      Both of Not Lyle’s methods will work (he knows his stuff), but you can also just follow the tutorial above, but instead of choosing Smart Preview Status choose Keywords, and click on the results that says “None” and that’s all the images without keywords. Of course, you can add keywords to them from the Keyword panel. 🙂

      • notlyle 17 September, 2016 at 12:20 Reply

        Is there an easier path for “not in a regular collection (eg. not smart)” ? I don’t use collections all that much…

        I defined a smart collection “Not in a collection” that has a rule:

        “Collection” “Does not contain” “a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,1,j,k,l,m,n,o,p,q,r,s,t,u,v,w,x,y,z,0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9”

        (without the “” on the letter/character sets)

        It would be nice if they recognized regex patterns…

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