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#31 Using Folders

Folders can be used in order to manage, locate, and organize images. In fact, Lightroom Folders are a default feature of the program. When you import images into Lightroom you can choose either to leave images in their current location or to move them. Either way, Lightroom takes notes of where the images are and remembers the hard drive and folder location for them.

Navigate to the Library module and open or expand the Folders panel. Here you will find the titles of the hard drives from which you have imported images into Lightroom. In the screen grab below you will notice that I have images on two hard drives, "el jefe," the internal drive on my laptop, and "sashimi," an external drive (Figure 31a). The status light to the left of the hard drive name will change based on the drive's connectivity. If the drive is disconnected, the light will go off. If the light turns yellow, it serves as a warning that you are low on disk space. If the light turns red, then the drive is almost out of disk space. If the drive is connected, the light will be green.

Figure 31a

Figure 31a Most photographers eventually need to store images on multiple drives. The Lightroom interface not only reveals which drive the images are stored on, it can reveal valuable information about the drive or about the images themselves.

To open the hard drive folder, click anywhere in the rectangular space where the name of the hard drive is displayed. In the screen grab above I have opened the folder for the drive "sashimi." Beneath the name of the hard drive you can see which images have been imported into Lightroom. The sashimi display shows that I have imported one image from this drive, and that it is in the folder 2008-03-15.

As you begin to work with folders you will discover a number of ways to modify them and their contents. For starters, you can double-click the folder name to rename the folder. You can drag images into new folders by simply clicking and dragging, but note that when you do that the move dialog will ask you to confirm the relocation of an image. To confirm the change, press the move button. To add or delete folders click the minus and plus icons in the top right corner of the Folders panel (Figure 31b). When you click the plus icon it opens a dialog where you can name the folder, place it inside of another folder, and select images to include in that folder.

Figure 31b

Figure 31b Click the plus icon to choose between Add Subfolder or Add New Root Folder. A subfolder is automatically added inside of the currently selected folder. A new root folder is a separate root-level folder. In addition, you can click the plus icon to change how the folder appears in the Folders panel. By default only the folder name is displayed, but you can choose to display only the path from the volume or both the folder name and the volume path.

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