Adobe Lightroom Library Module

Adobe Lightroom Library Module is the starting point of the photo editing workflow. It’s the place you will spend quite a lot of time after your images have been imported into Lightroom. Let’s take a closer look at what the Lightroom Library module is and what you can use it for.

As said it’s the first place you find yourself in after the image import process is complete, or any time you actually launch Lightroom. If you need instructions on how to import your photos into Lightroom, please take a look at one of our previous articles describing this process.

Adobe Lightroom Library Module

View images

One of the main Lightroom Library module functions, as the name suggests, is view your images. Lightroom offers a few different modes to do so. You can switch between them by clicking their respective buttons in the toolbar – bottom left corner of the Library main window.

Lightroom Library view modes

Available Library view modes are:

Grid (keyboard shortcut G) – displays all images as thumbnails. In this mode you can view the entire catalog at once. Thumbnails size can be adjusted by dragging the Thumbnails slider on the right side of the Library toolbar.

Lightroom Library thumbnails silder

Loupe (keyboard shortcut E) – displays a single photo. In this mode you can zoom in up to 11:1 to examine smallest details of any part of your image. You can also quickly jump into the Loupe view mode if you double-click an image when in the Grid or Survey mode.

Compare (keyboard shortcut C) – displays images side by side, so you can evaluate them and choose the best one.

Survey (keyboard shortcut N) – displays two or more images side by side so you can evaluate and compare them. Active photo has a white frame around it. Clicking on any other image makes it active.

You may filter the displayed images by using the Library Filter bar that is located right above the collection thumbnails (shortcut “\” will hide or unhide the bar).

Lightroom Library Module Filters

You can set additional filtering criteria by clicking the Filters Off button located on the right hand side of the Library Filter bar.

Lightroom Library Module Filters 2

Navigator panel that is available in all modules shows a small preview of the selected image. It also allows you to choose from several zooming options. You can use those to take a closer look at some details of your image when editing.

Lightroom Library Navigator

Other browsing panels located on the left hand side of the Lightroom Library Module are: Catalog, Folders, Collections and Publish Services. These panels allow you to browse photos by criteria that their names respectively suggest.

A small “+” icon on the right hand side of each panel reveals additional options that you can use to make changes in these panels. To expand each panel you have to click a little triangle icon on the left hand side of the panel name.

Lightroom Library Navigation Sections

Catalog shows information about the current catalog you are working with.

Lightroom Library Catalog Panel

Folders panel shows you actual folders on your computer where the current catalog files are located.

Lightroom Library Folders Panel

Collections are a simple way to group certain photos without moving them from their actual folders. You can create Smart Collections and use certain criteria to group photos in them.

Lightroom Library Collections Panel

Publish Services panel allows you to connect online publishing services to share your images from within Lightroom.

Lightroom Library Publish Services Panel

Import and Export buttons located below these sections will do exactly what their names suggest – import images into or export them out of the current Lightroom catalog.

Select images

By using Folders and Collections panels of Lightroom you can display a specific set of images in the Library Module main window. When you click an image it becomes active. You can also use the Filmstrip located on the bottom of the screen to select photos.

Lightroom Library Filmstrip

This method comes very handy if you are working in Loupe, Compare or Survey view modes – when not all images are displayed in the main Library window. Square icons [1] and [2] above the Filmstrip allow you to display images on two monitors. Clicking the [2] brings up a second Library window that you can drag and place on your other monitor.


The tool bar found right above the Filmstrip provides tools for sorting, flagging, rating and color labeling the images in the displayed collection.

Lightroom Library Filmstrip Toolbar

Small spray can icon called Painter lets you to apply metadata to multiple images just by “spraying” it over. All you have to do is click the spray can. Then you either type desired keywords or select another settings type by clicking the Keywords button (selected by default). And spray it over the images you want to apply it to. You can even spray a whole setting preset using the Lightroom Library Painter tool.

Lightroom Library Painter Tool

On the right hand side of the Lightroom Library Module you have Histogram, Quick Develop, Keywording, Keyword List, Metadata and Comments panels.

Lightroom Library Quick Develop Panel

Quick Develop panel can be used to apply presets or some quick tone adjustments to images without going to Develop module (which we will cover in one of our upcoming articles). Keywording, Keyword List, Metadata and Comments panels are used to batch-apply keywords, comments and other metadata.

On the bottom of the right hand side panel are two buttons Sync Metadata and Sync Settings. They allow synchronization of metadata and settings between selected images. You can select one image that has the desired metadata or/and settings already set, add more images to this selection by using CTRL+click or SHIFT+click and once the selection is complete click the respective button. A dialog window will pop-up and guide you through the process.

This was the Lightroom Library Module at a glance. In one of our upcoming articles we will review other Adobe Lightroom modules and then will publish some workflow examples for each of those. Stay tuned!

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