Exporting Keyword Tags and Synonyms with Lightroom 2.0

Lightroom 2.0Adobe’s Lightroom software has completely changed the way I process and maintain my photographic library.  Since being introduced to Lightroom 1.4, I have only used Photoshop two or three times to make a few minor touches I just couldn’t do with Lightroom.  And now, since installing Lightroom 2.0, I have yet to use Photoshop for any of my processing.  The team that has worked on Lightroom has done an amazing job and I can only hope the developers and everyone behind it get’s a chance to read my gratitude.  I can’t complain about the current software, but at the sametime, I’m really looking forward to 3.0.

Now, I’m one that tries to learn everything on my own without reading the manual.  I have yet to take a single web development lesson (my current profession) or photography class (my passion).  I find ways, whether it is the hard way or not, to learn what I want and need to learn.  Sometimes this process pays off, other times, it does not.  But, as a hands on learner, in the end, I really grasp an understanding of what I have set out to learn and retain the knowledge much better than I would if I had sat through a lecture on it.

The Issue

In any case, when I upgraded from Lightroom 1.4 to 2.0, I did not read the manual, buy a book, or read very many tutorials online.  I installed the software and went to work.  I quickly realized that any tags that I had previously created in the 1.4 version were not exporting on pictures I was tagging in 2.0.  I thought it was very strange.

I soon realized there was a drop down menu next to “Keyword tags” and within there an option for “Will Export.”

Sure enough, only the newly created tags were showing up in the “Will Export” option.  With the flurry of other distractions around me and the load of pictures I am backed up on (I have pictures from over a year ago that I still have yet to process), I dismissed this anomaly temporarily and promised I would return to it.

A week or so ago, Thomas Hawk wrote about having issues with his tags exporting and reminded me I still have yet to figure this issue out.  Well, as you probably guessed, I figured it out and I am sharing my knowledge with hope it will land in the hands of someone else having the same issue.

The Fix

Lightroom 2.0 has a feature (whether it is new or not, I’m not sure, but I didn’t notice it in 1.4) that allows you to create tags that are not exported with your images.  This allows you to create tags that help you remember certain things about the pictures that you may not want your online audience knowing about or that just don’t make sense for the online tagging system.  For instance, after learning about this feature, I created a tag “Flickred” which is just a simple tag for me to know which images I have uploaded to Flickr.  No reason for this tag to be exported, but it is handy for me to know which of my pictures have actually been uploaded without actually visiting my photo stream.

[UPDATE] It has come to my attention that this is a known issue and there is a KB article available from Adobe.  Thanks to Mark Anderson for pointing this out.

The How To

Apparently when I upgraded to 2.0, all of my previously created tags were not enabled to be exported.  I have not found a solution yet to change this setting to multiple tags at once, so I am going about it as I use these older tags going forward.

To access this feature, all you need to do is right click on the tag in the keyword list.

When you do so, one of the options is “Edit Keyword Tag…”

In the box that displays (as seen above), you will see the keyword tag, which you can edit, a space for synonyms, which is another awesome and powerful feature I will touch on bit further down, and lastly a few check box options: Include on Export, Export Containing Keywords, Export Synonyms.  Sure enough, as soon as you check the “Include on Export” check box and click the “Edit” button, the selected keyword now shows up in the keyword tags that will export.

You’ll notice, if you added any synonyms and also check the “Export Synonyms” options, those synonym keywords will show up as well.

Bonus – Synonyms

Besides synonyms being a funny word to say and spell, they can be very powerful if used properly in Lightroom.  Let’s look at a simple example.

I do a lot of black and white images of which I tag each of them with the following tags:  Black and White, Black & White, B&W, BW.  In Lightroom 1.4, I had four separate tags of which I would have to remember to use every time I processed an image in black and white.  Well, with Lightroom 2.0, all I have is one tag, Black and White, and have three associated synonyms.

When I use the keyword “Black and White” now, assuming I have the “Export Synonyms” option checked, all four keywords will export with the image.

If any of the following apply to you, please don’t be shy and leave a comment:

Till next time…

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Categorized: Tips & Tricks