Lightroom Presets

Presets – Keyword Sets

Happy Wednesday everyone. I just got back from teaching at the Adobe/CDW event in Philadelphia and it went over great. It was nice to meet some of the blog readers there and many thanks to everyone who came up and said hi. Now on to the presets…

A new style of presetThis week marks a brand new style of preset – keyword sets. If you’ve never seen or heard of them before you’ll find these guys in the Library Module on the right hand side in the Keywording panel. Essentially keyword sets are lists of common keywords for common types of photography. If you expand the keyword set you’ll see there are some defaults that ship with Lightroom: Outdoor Photography, Portrait Photography, and Landscape Photography. Well I’ve started to create my own and thought I’d share them with you since I’ve really been trying to be good about keywording my photos often. And since these keyword sets are straight from my library you can guess the first batch of them are going to be ones that I use a lot lately. I’ve created one called “Children” and another called “Baseball”. This mainly comes from the fact that I love to take photos of my kids, other peoples kids, and also my kids playing sports 🙂 I realize that not all of you can use these but if they get you thinking about keywording more (and using keyword sets more) then I think that’s a good thing. Plus, I’ll start to add more as the weeks go on.

Installing the Keyword Sets
Installing keyword sets is a little different from installing regular presets in Lightroom. Mainly because there is no official “import” option for them. So here’s what you do.
1) First download and unzip the file that has the two keyword sets in it and place them on your desktop.
2) Navigate to the folder where keyword sets are stored.
Mac: (your computer name)/ Library / App Support / Adobe / Lightroom / Keyword Sets
PC: C > Docs/Settings > (your name) > Application Data (may be hidden) > Adobe > Lightroom > Keyword Sets
3) Drag the two keyword set template files into the “Keyword Sets” folder.
4) Restart Lightroom.

Using the Keyword SetsUsing the keyword sets is simple. Just select the set from the list. Then click on any keyword in the set to apply it to your selected photos. It makes the process of keywording a lot simpler, as you don’t have to type the keywords in anymore.

Well folks, that’s all she wrote. And by she, I mean me. Actually I have no idea what I mean so I’m going to stop now. It’s late 🙂 I hope you enjoy and make sure you let me know what you think of this new kind of preset. Also, share any thoughts you have for some other ideas for keyword sets. Until next time!

Click here to download Matt’s Children and Baseball Keyword Sets



  1. David Marx 25 November, 2009 at 13:38 Reply

    Dear Matt K and NAPP,

    Thanks for all the great instruction and for sharing your sets. I recently recorded a video tutorial on the beauty of keyword sets and wrote a post about how I use them that might help your readers.

    Here’s the video:
    Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Keyword Sets from David Marx on Vimeo.

    You can read the article about how I use sets here.

    Keyword Sets Make Repetitive Keywording push button easy

    Hope this helps and thanks again for sharing all these great tips.

    David Marx

  2. john 3 July, 2009 at 15:36 Reply

    I am curious how to get my keywords into the IPTC data in Lightroom. Is this automatic when inserting keywords in Library Mode at the RH side in “Keywords” or is there something more to do?

  3. David Saxe 24 January, 2009 at 13:23 Reply

    Editing keyword sets is impossible. I click on the “edit set” button and the keyword set shows up. I change one of the keywords and click “change” and it looks fine until I click on the keyword set again and it reverts to the old setting. Is this what Adobe planned?

    The only way to do it is to give it a different name. This is a bit to much if you only want to change one of the keywords.


  4. TapioH 10 January, 2009 at 13:16 Reply

    To John:

    LR keywords can be burned to the file with “Metadata – Save Metadata to file” -command. After that Bridge (and all others who are able to read EXIF metadata) can see the keywords from photos.

  5. John 3 November, 2008 at 11:49 Reply


    I had a Lightroom Keyword question and thought this would be the best place to post it….

    If I’m using LR to keyword photos, I have noticed that you can’t see those Keywords in Bridge. However, if you keyword photos in Bridge, they are visible in LR. I presume this is due to the non-destructive editing feature in LR? Is there a way to have your LR keywords be visible in Bridge without exporting the photos to a new folder?


  6. Andrew Sims 23 July, 2008 at 09:54 Reply

    How do I just sort my photos in the library to view alphabetically by keywords, then rename name so they match that order? Is this really easy like it is in iview? I can’t seem for the life of me figure out how to do this in Lightroom, I’ve been doing it for years in iview in 2 seconds flat, but now that MicroBad bought iview I want out.. please help so I can make the switch without pulling my hair out someone…

  7. Karl Olav Jaegtnes, Norway 11 July, 2008 at 15:51 Reply

    I would like to see a tutorial on how to use keywords to find pictures. One keyword is easy, but how to use combinations when searching is not explained. I am not talking about parent and child keywords. I have keyworded family members in one string, activities in another and location in a third. How do I find pictures based on such combination of keywords.

  8. Brad 2 July, 2008 at 17:19 Reply

    To Michelle:

    For Macs you can find it under your user folder:

    >Hard Disk
    > Users (e.g. Michelle)
    > Library
    > Application Support
    > Adobe
    > Lightroom
    > Keyword Sets

  9. Michelle 25 June, 2008 at 23:14 Reply

    I have a Mac, and don’t have a Keyword Sets folder in the location specified. I created one and dropped the template files into it, and when I start Lightroom, they don’t show up in the list. Anyone have any ideas?

  10. George Winston 16 June, 2008 at 15:11 Reply

    Hi .. great stuff here.. thx for the keywords. Alessandro, you might be intersted in reading some reviews for keywording with DAM appls at a site I came across last week.. some really nice reviews there: check it out – it helped me!

    Keyword presets are really great.. keep em coming.. I like the idea of allowing for more than 9… seems silly when for most photos I enter over 15 different keywords.. 9 just doesn’t cut it.

  11. Cameron Booth 4 June, 2008 at 23:59 Reply


    I think you’re going about things the wrong way. Nested keywords – especially geographical ones – should go from most general to most specific. In your case, I would set it up as follows:

    USA (synonyms: United States, United States of America)
    (nest one level down:) Mid West States
    (nest under Mid West States:) Illinois
    (nest under Illinois): Chicago (synonyms: Lake City, Windy City)

    Then to apply ALL these keywords, you just have to type “Chicago”, as all the parent keywords are assumed. Easy!

  12. Jurgen 4 June, 2008 at 20:12 Reply

    Thanks for your great posts.

    Is there a way to apply a set of keywords all at once. For example;

    Chicago ( Main Keyword, Nested Keywords follow)
    Mid West States
    Lake City
    Windy city

    I’d like to apply this set of keywords all at once.

  13. Frank Pali 4 June, 2008 at 18:36 Reply

    Hey, I just download the keyword preset as per your instructions. When I open LR I do not find the list in my keywords. What am I doing wrong???


  14. frank "cooksfriend" severa 4 June, 2008 at 17:38 Reply

    Matt, one of your best tips to date.
    Did not check baseball to close, hope you have one for “HOMERUN” for the kids.


  15. Dilip Barman 4 June, 2008 at 16:18 Reply

    Thanks. I have developed a taxonomy over time, and have been wondering how best to manage it. I periodically export my keywords to back them up, but would enjoy seeing some tips as to how to merge, edit, and modify one’s taxonomy.

  16. Jamie Lawrence 4 June, 2008 at 14:13 Reply

    Sorry to leave this off-topic comment but I couldn’t find any other way to contact Matt. I thought this Lightroom tip might be useful to others:

    How to delete (from disk) rejected photos in a collection:

    If you do Crtl-Backspace inside the “Previous Import”, it will give you the option to delete the rejected photos from disk. If you do the same thing inside a collection, you don’t get this option :-(. The trick is to select all the rejected photos in the collection (e.g. by filtering to view just the rejects and selecting all). Now go back to “All Photographs”. The selected rejects from the collection will still be selected. Press “Delete”, and selected “Delete from Disk”. Perhaps I’m the only one that’s need to do this before.

  17. Jose-Miguel 4 June, 2008 at 13:08 Reply

    Many thanks for this start.
    I’ve been creating Keywords Sets for my own use. Weddings, colors, seasons, sports, landscape, people, portraits, …
    Some of these sets are redundant due to the limit of 9 keywords per set, but these setsd have been a great improvement on my tag process.

    I really hope Adobe will bring more attention to the tag area.

  18. Alessandro Rosa 4 June, 2008 at 10:28 Reply

    Hey Buddy!

    Thanks for starting to tackle this issue. I have been pulling my hair out lately trying to sort out the whole keyword, IPTC metadata thing and there is very little information about it. Well I take part of that back, there is very little information in a useful and easily usable format that is available.

    For something as important as being able to find your photos, there is very little guidance written in clear, easy to follow instruction on how to set up useful controlled vocabulary. Not even The DAM Book goes deep enough on this topic. One place that had some useful article on keywording was at and Katrin’s article in this month’s Photoshop User was a start.

    I have been suggesting on Scott Kelby’s blog that Adobe add dropdowns in the Metadata panels for all IPTC fields with the IPTC Codes. I don’t think that this would be too hard to do and it would go a long way to helping photographers populate their images with industry recognized standards for descriptive metadata. The have worked with IPTC in the past, so it would seem that their collaboration on this could happen again.

    Hope you guys are doing okay!

  19. Chris McNeil 4 June, 2008 at 10:23 Reply

    I was just thinking about asking you to post your keyword sets after reading the keywording article in the latest Photoshop User Magazine. I guess I could always create my own or buy one from somewhere but I bet you (or your fellow co-workers) has tons of great sets already made that you’ve come up with over time.

    Thanks for posting these, even if they don’t apply to my photo’s they at least give me an idea of what keywords to actually use.

  20. MarkH 4 June, 2008 at 05:57 Reply

    It’d be nice if you could press e.g. Ctrl+Shift+K and a dialog box would pop up where you have more space for entering keywords and a caption than in the right panel.

  21. John Quixley 4 June, 2008 at 05:45 Reply

    Thanks Matt for all the tips & presets you provide.
    These keyword presets are great and I have been a regular user of these for some time. Like Gavin I would love to be able to store more than 9 though. I have a set for “Time of Day” which can really help in sorting night shots from sunrises if the keywords are applied. I have it up on my personal webpage at
    then go to “Downloads”.

    John Quixley

  22. John Quixley 4 June, 2008 at 05:43 Reply

    Thanks Matt for all the tips & presets you provide.
    These keyword presets are great and I have been a regular user of these for some time. Like Gavin I would love to be able to store more than 9 though. I have a set for “Time of Day” which can really help in sorting night shots from sunrises if the keywords are applied. I have it up on my personal webpage at
    then go to “Downloads”.

    John Quixley

  23. Seim Effects 4 June, 2008 at 02:33 Reply

    Super cool, thanks man. Here I am a preset junkie and I didn’t even know you could make keyword presets. I’ll be playing with them more

    One question. Is there a way to make the keywording panel show more than 9 keywords? Maybe I’m just missing it. Adobe knows many of us are using large displays, and have the room.

    On a side note. One little thing I always use to find my LR library folder quick is to go to the Develop module. r click a preset. and then show in finder (or my computer) then I don;t have to remember where in the system it was stored.

    Gavin Seim

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