The Photographers Toolbox – Lightroom Keyboard Tips

Lightroom is all about good, organized workflow practices that are easy and efficient to use. Whether you’re a working photographer faced with the task of selecting and editing from thousands of photos before a deadline or an enthusiastic amateur wanting to maximize shooting time, Lightroom offers a few useful ways to speed things up. Of all the different methods available, arguably the most powerful is the use of these keyboard tips. These speed up your workflow and eliminate the need for repetitive mouse movements.

When you first start looking at keyboard shortcuts, it’s easy to be daunted by them. There are a lot to choose from and trying to memorize them all is probably a hopeless task. Fortunately you are likely to find that a lot of them are not ones that you will use often and so there’s no need to memorize them. For example, I rarely use the Web module and so don’t bother trying to memorize any of the keyboard shortcuts that belong to it.

To view a full list of keyboard shortcuts for each module, press Control+/ (Windows) or Command+/ (Mac) within each module.

Moving Between Modules

I will often hide all the menus (simply press the Tab key)to give myself more monitor space for the image thus meaning that the module navigator is not visible. When I want to jump between modules, eg from Develop back to Library or from Library to Print, I make use a keyboard shortcuts. These are ones that I’ve committed to memory as I find myself using them often.

Action Windows Mac
Go to Library Control – Alt – 1 Command – Option – 1
Go to Develop Control – Alt -2 or D Command – Option – 2 or D
Go to Slideshow Control – Alt – 3 Command – Option – 3
Go to Print Control – Alt – 4 Command – Option – 4
Go to Web Control – Alt – 5 Command – Option – 5
Go to Previous Control – Alt – Up Arrow Command – Option – Up Arrow

Library Shortcuts

Library shortcuts can be classified into a few different types. There are shortcuts for viewing, rating and flagging, working with photos, panels and collections. Some of these you’ll find yourself using over and over, whereas others you may never use. The image below shows the full list that can be accessed via the shortcut Ctrl+/ (Win) Cmd+/ (Mac) or under the Help menu. This screenshot is from the Windows version of Lightroom – substitute Command for Control and Option for Alt if you’re on a Mac.

The table below lists some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts. These are ones that I find myself using repeatedly and all were easily committed to memory.

Action Windows Mac
Flag as Pick / Reject / Unflag P / X / U P / X / U
Rating – 0 to 5 Stars 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Label – red, yellow, green, blue 6, 7, 8, 9 6, 7, 8, 9
Add to Quick Collection B B
Grid View G G
Loupe View E E
Survey View N N
Compare View C C

Develop Module

Like the Library module, the Develop module has a number of different classifications for keyboard shortcuts, covering the various tools, modes and edits. Once again you can see a screenshot listing the keyboard shortcuts as well as a table with the ones I’d recommend memorizing. You can also use the same rating / flagging / adding shortcuts as above.

Action Windows Mac
White Balance Tool W W
Crop Tool R R
Spot Removal Tool Q Q
Graduated Filter Tool M M
Adjustment Brush K K
Rotate Left / Right Control + [ (left)  or ] (right) Command + [ (left) or ] (right)
Virtual Copy Control + ‘ Command + ‘
Copy / Paste Develop Settings Control + Shift + C / V Command + Shift + C / V
Snapshot Control + N Command + N
Edit in Photoshop Control + E Command + E
Lights Out Mode L L
View Before / After Y

Slideshow Module

The Slideshow module has fewer keyboard shortcuts that relate directly to it. While I’d recommend memorizing as many of the frequently used Library and Develop shortcuts as you can, the remaining modules seem to get a lot less use and so should only be focused on if you regularly work in one of them. Below is the screenshot from the Slideshow module showing the shortcuts.

LIghtroom Slideshow keyboard tips

Action Windows Mac
Play Slideshow Enter Return
Preview Slideshow Alt + Enter Option + Return
Pause Slideshow Space Space
Export as PDF Control + J Command + J
Export as JPEG Control + Shift + J Command + Shift + J

Print Module

The Print module sees a bit of use for layouts and adding borders and frames. Among the keyboard shortcuts specifically for this module are ones for print, page setup, showing guides, margins and page bleeds.

LIghtroom Print keyboard tips

Action Windows Mac
Print  / Print One Copy Control + P / Control + Alt + P Command + P / Command + Option + P
Page Setup Control + Shift + P Command + Shift + P
Show Guides Control + Shift + H Command + Shift + H
Show Rulers Control + R Command + R
Show Margins and Gutters Control + Shift + M Command + Shift + M
Show Page Bleed Control + Shift + J Command + Shift + J
Show Image Cells Control + Shift + K Command + Shift + K
Create New Print Template Control + N Command + N

Web Module

The fifth and final module is for creating web galleries. These can be great for quick client previews and quick galleries created on the fly. Like the other modules, a lot of the keyboard shortcuts are the same. Below I’ve listed some of the more useful ones specific to the Web module.

LIghtroom Web keyboard tips

Action Windows Mac
Export Web Gallery Control + J Command  + J
Reload Web Gallery Control + R Command + R
Preview in Browser Control + Alt + P Command + Option + P
Create Web Gallery Template Control + N Command + N

Keyboard shortcuts offer a powerful, time-saving and efficient method of working in Lightroom. Commit your most commonly used ones to memory and you can dramatically cut down on the time spent repeating the same tasks and increase the time spent out shooting new work.

Craig Ferguson

Craig Ferguson is an editorial and commercial photographer originally from Australia but now in Asia. He specializes in people, travel and food and is currently based in Taipei, Taiwan. He has produced work for the likes of Wall St Journal, National Geographic, NBA, Lonely Planet, and more.