Lightroom Tips

Tip – Lightroom PSDs and Drive Space

I’m going back nearly a year and pulling an oldie-but-goodie tip. The reason is because I’m not so good about following my own tips so I figured a few of you may have forgotten about this one too. It’s the tip about deleting your old PSD files. I sat down to clear some drive space today and used my own tip and I wound up getting rid of 1.2 Gig. Apparently I hadn’t done this in a while 🙂
Now, I’ll admit it’s gotten a lot better since Lightroom 2 came out. In Lightroom 1, it automatically created a PSD file as soon as you went into Lightroom, regardless of whether you saved it or not in Photoshop. In Lightroom 2, you’ve actually got to save the file. But I still end up saving a lot of PSD files that I don’t really need, hence the 1.2 gig of space taken up by them. So here’s the tip (updated for Lightroom 2):

1) Go to the Library module and click on All Photographs under the Catalog panel on the left hand side to view all of your photos.

2) Now hit the (backslash) key to show the Filter Bar.

3) Click on the Metadata Filter at the top.

4) If you don’t see File Type as an option to filter by at the top (and you probably won’t) hover over one of the options you do see (like “Camera” or “Date”), click on it and choose File Type near the top of the list.

5) Now click on the “Photoshop Document (PSD)” and you’ll filter Lightroom to only show the PSD files.

6) Select the PSDs that you don’t need anymore by Ctrl/Cmd – clicking on them.

7) Hit the Delete key to delete those photos. If Lightroom asks if you want to remove them from the library or delete from your hard drive go ahead and choose the Delete from Drive option.

As I mentioned, I got rid of about 1.2 gig by doing this. I realize a lot of my PSDs probably come from doing a lot of demos, but I’d still bet you’ll free up a decent amount of hard drive space from getting rid of PSDs that you don’t need anymore. In fact, I think it’d by cool to see how much space you save so leave a comment and let us know how much you free up.

Have a great weekend!



  1. Steve 5 April, 2009 at 17:12 Reply

    I know this is a stupid question, but is there a reason to save the psds at all? I suppose,(but dont know), that the edit instructions are still saved in LR. Do I lose anything by just deleting them all??

  2. Austin 18 February, 2009 at 13:03 Reply

    Hi guys- I know I’m late to respond to this one, but I was wondering if there are any tricks for deleting RAW files that I don’t need any more. I have several GBs of RAW+JPEG files where I would like to keep the JPEG but delete the RAW and I’m just too lazy to go through all my folders and root them out. Is there a quick way to knock this out in Lightroom?


  3. Sam 6 February, 2009 at 04:58 Reply

    sorry… forgot to add that you then need to right click (ctrl click on a mac) on a photo once you have selected the photos you wish to delete, then select SHOW IN FOLDER IN LIBRARY, then you can delete the photos. Cheers.

  4. Sam 6 February, 2009 at 04:53 Reply

    Another way of doing it if you need to do things like this is to use a SMART COLLECTION that only finds PSD’s (or whatever file type you need) then you can find the files you want to get rid of.

    Not sure if that was already mentioned above… I am running for a flight and just wanted to add my 2¢ worth. Thanks for all the tips Matt, all of them always make me think of new ways to improve my lightroom-ness.


  5. iaingunther 21 January, 2009 at 14:25 Reply

    Thanks Matt. I am waiting for Lightroom to arrive in the post so I havent used it yet but I have tried to follow everything that you and Scott have said and written. My question is.. in what format do I save what I want to keep? Is it DNG or do I make a PNG or JPG and save that? I have been saving all my DNG files on a backup disk and saving my layered PSDs as well (but what my D300 takes can easily turn into about 100mbs with a few layers added)

  6. deb 13 January, 2009 at 19:54 Reply

    Lightroom 2 didn’t automatically create the .psd/.tiff file. It only happened if I was in Photoshop and I clicked yes when asked if I wanted to save. Then when I updated to 2.2, it went back to automatically creating the file. I wish there was a way to go back so it wouldn’t create that file.

  7. Gary S 10 January, 2009 at 00:45 Reply

    Never mind I was clicking in wrong place. But clicking in the right place I only saw JPEG Raw and TIFF. All of which I made myself. Does this mean I’m not getting PSDs created automaticlly or is it creating a different fle for me?

  8. Gary S 10 January, 2009 at 00:37 Reply

    HELP!! I have LR1 and cannot find anything that is in this instruction. When I hit backslash nothing happens. So I clicked on Metadata at the top of the screen and nothing close to camera or date appear.( I also tried to free up space in preferences under file handling as seen in video on a pod cast but nothing is there as in the video.) So, how do you do this in LR1?

  9. Adrianne Brackner 4 January, 2009 at 11:42 Reply

    Hey Matt, I love your site, thank so much for all your help. I have a Lightroom issue can you help me? It crashes on me whenever I try to export a specific web gallery. It will go to about 38% and quit. It does not do this with other folders, just this particular one. Any ideas? I really need to publish these pics and can’t. I tried putting them into a collection and then doing it but that didn’t work either. I wonder if the pictures in this folder are corrupted somehow.

  10. Stephen Cupp 4 January, 2009 at 00:52 Reply

    Is there a way to turn it off so Lightroom doesn’t automatically add all those psd files to the library? I generally save the psd’s on my desktop so they are easy to find and get rid of one way or another.

  11. Kasandra 4 January, 2009 at 00:17 Reply

    Thanks for sharing this … it was much easier to find in v1 … in fact, I thought it wasn’t possible in v2.
    Thanks again 🙂

  12. Jeroen Akershoek 3 January, 2009 at 08:28 Reply

    Michael, thanks for your response. This doesn’t work though. I cannot choose ‘Edit original’ when I want to edit a NEF.

    What I can do is drag the NEF to my PSE icon, drop it there and it will open the Camera RAW dialog box. But then it doesn’t show the changes I have already made in LR, unless I export an xmp-file first. Also, if I do decide to keep the PSD and save it, it doesn’t show up in my catalog and isn’t stacked with the original.

    In that case I would continue with my normal routine and just delete the psd when I don’t need it. I just want to keep my harddrive as clean as possible 😉

    I hope there is another way, because I would really like it, if it were possible to open a NEF in PSE without instantly creating an PSD-file.

    Regards, Jeroen

  13. mjriley 3 January, 2009 at 07:35 Reply

    Jeroen When You edit the nef select the edit origional and in elements it should open the camera raw dialogue then click open image it will open in into a new unsaved psd.

    Michael R

  14. Jeroen Akershoek 3 January, 2009 at 03:32 Reply

    You’ve said that in LR2 you have to actually save the PSD first, before it is created and added to your catalog. Is this a feature you have to enable? Or is it dependent on the version of Photoshop?

    I use Photoshop Elements 4, it doesn’t work that way for me. Editing a NEF creates a PSD instantly and opens it in PSE. Anyone with a solution?

    Regards, Jeroen

  15. Matt Kloskowski 2 January, 2009 at 23:04 Reply

    Hi Del,
    It looks at all photos in your LR library. That’s why I wrote to click on All Photographs in step 1 above. From the photos I tested it on, stack or no stack it should till only show you the PSDs.

    Matt K

  16. Joe 2 January, 2009 at 22:07 Reply

    Sorry I don’t know where else to ask this, and I know it’s off the above topic. I would like to be able to burn a CD/DVD from Lightroom 2. However it say’s I can’t because it’s disabled. How do you enable it? Help, please.

  17. Del 2 January, 2009 at 20:22 Reply

    This has a little less usefulness, it seems to me, if you have a lot of stacks. Unless I am missing something, this appears to look at the file type of the top photo on each stack plus those unstacked. Or would the psd’s be among the unstacked photos?

  18. karen 2 January, 2009 at 18:56 Reply

    Very useful tip. I started by looking for the old Lightroom 1 .psd files and ended up finding all the Raw files I hadn’t converted to DNG. Question, when I change one of the columns in the metadata library filter to File Type, how can I save it so when I click on another folder it is still set on File Type?

  19. Doug 2 January, 2009 at 16:57 Reply

    I alway flag my deletions with the “reject” flag before deleting them. So when I accidentally remove them from the catalog instead of deleting them, I can re sync and delete them for real without having to review them all again…

  20. Chris 2 January, 2009 at 13:13 Reply

    Great tip, I didn’t have many deletables but it did drive me to start going through and deleting all the crap I was to lazy to go through over the past year.. Why I ever kept some of those photos I’ll never know, at least I can put off buying another hard drive for a little bit longer.

  21. Antonio Correia 2 January, 2009 at 12:13 Reply

    I think you can “Synchronize Folder” and begin all over again, then erasing the files from the disk.

    I also think that the default in “Remove from Library” is kind of security for the user…

    Healthy 2009 🙂

  22. Martin 2 January, 2009 at 12:09 Reply

    This tip also applies to TIFF files. If your external editing preferences are set to TIFF rather than PSD then all your edits in photoshop will be TIFFs rather than PSDs.

  23. Herwig Henseler 2 January, 2009 at 11:57 Reply

    Speaking of reclaiming disk space: If I accidently click on “remove from library” instead of “remove from disk” (the first one sadly being the default), the images are still there but not in the lightroom catalog, filling up disk space. Maybe I have clicked the wrong button in the past a few times … how would I find all images not in the catalog and have them removed from the disk?

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