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Seeing Before/After Versions While You Edit

Sometimes, seeing the before/after views can be a big help when you’re making your edits in Photoshop Lightroom, and seeing them side-by-side as you edit can even be more helpful. Photoshop Lightroom gives you a number of different options of how to do this, depending on your personal preferences and the physical orientation of the photo you’re editing. Here’s how to make the most of the before/after views:

  • Step One. When you’re working on a photo in the Develop module and want to quickly see what the original, unedited version of your photo looked like (the “before” photo), just press the Backslash key (\) to toggle between the before and after views (the word “Before” appears in the bottom-right corner of the Preview area—it’s circled here in red. Also, since this photo is in the landscape orientation, I hid the left side panels so the preview would be larger). If you’d like to see both the before and after versions onscreen at the same time, then you’ll love the next step.
  • Step Two. To see your photo in a split-screen view (where the left half is the Before view and right half shows the After view, as shown here), just click the Before/After view button at the bottom-left corner of the Preview area (shown circled here). Each time you click this button, it toggles you through one of the four different before/after views (going from horizontal side-by-side to split screen, and then vertical side-by-side to split screen). Of course, there are keyboard shortcuts for these views as well: pressing Shift-Y will toggle you between the horizontal side-by-side before/after view and the horizontal split-screen before/after view seen here.
  • Step Three. You can also choose different views by clicking on the little down-facing arrow to the right of the Before/After view button, and a pop-up menu will appear (shown here), with a list of Before/After view choices. Here I chose Before/After Top/Bottom. To get the biggest preview possible, I also pressed Shift-Tab to hide the right side panels and the filmstrip as well. By the way, when you’re in one of these Before/After views, zooming in and moving around one photo affects both photos at the same time. So if you zoom in on the After photo and start scrolling around, the Before photo zooms and moves right along with it (as shown here, where I zoomed in on the After photo, then moved around the image by clicking-and-dragging. As you can see, the two zoom views and the zoom locations are identical).
  • Step Four. There are two other buttons that appear to the right of the Before/After view button, but these only appear once you’re in a Before/After view. These two buttons (shown circled here) let you either copy the Before image’s settings to the After image (the left button) or copy the After image’s settings to the Before image (the right button). I have to be honest with you—I haven’t come up with a scenario yet that I’ve wanted or needed to use these two buttons, but if they’re in Photoshop Lightroom, somebody must have wanted them, and if that somebody was you, well there they are. Lastly, to return to the regular view (where you’re back to seeing only the photo you’re currently editing), just press the letter D on your keyboard.
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