Back to Basics: Grid View Options

Every so often it is good to review the basics. Sometimes we discover new things. Other times we are reminded of things we learned early on. So let's take a look at the view options available in the Library grid.

The grid is the foundation of the Library module's functionality. Here is where you can quickly scan, rate, flag, group, remove, and otherwise deal with and organize your images. Each image occupies a cell on the grid. In its most basic mode your images can be the only thing in the cell.

Lightroom has a myriad of options for displaying information in each cell. This can tell you quite a bit about the image without having to consult any of the panels or modules. Let's take a look at what we can do with view options!

To bring up the view options dialog you can use the keyboard shortcut Command J (Control J on a PC) or go to the View menu and choose View Options…

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This will bring up the View Options dialog

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This is a multi-purpose dialog. It controls the view options for both the Grid View and the Loupe View. We'll talk about the Loupe View another time. Our first choice is whether to show the cell extras or not. If we decide to then we have a choice in the dropdown between expanded or compact cells. Examples of these three cell types are below.

After the cell types there are four sections: Options, Cell Icons, Compact Cell Extras, and Expanded Cell Extras.

There are three check boxes in the Options section. Clickable items are things like the star ratings and rotation controls. When checked these will appear and disappear on mouseovers. This can reduce clutter. If the small color frame isn't enough you can tint the cell frame with the applied color tag. The last choice will let you show tool tips when you hover over the image. These tool tips have a good deal of info about the image and can be useful. Experiment with them and see what works for you.

Next we have the Cell Icons section. Flags are the Pick flags. Thumbnails badges are the small icons in the lower right that tell you if keywords have been applied, adjustments made, cropping, etc. Unsaved Metadata is the indicator that appears when you have changed something and have not yet saved the changes to the file (such as adding a keyword). Lastly, the Quick Collection marker is the small circle that appears in the upper right of the image when an image has been added to a quick collection.

Before we look at the last two sections let's review the three cell views. The first is a plain view and it;s what you get when you uncheck the Show Grid Extras option.

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It is reminiscent of slides (you remember slides don't you?). Next is the Compact Cell.

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More information but still a fairly compact view. And finally, the Expanded Cell.

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This adds an information header at the top and a controls footer at the bottom. Back to the options...

There are four options for the compact cell. Index Number is the large number in the upper left. Rotation shows the rotation controls. The top and bottom labels can be shown or hidden and you can choose what information each contains via the dropdown.

The expanded cell section has two main areas controlling the header and the footer. The header has four variable information areas you can control via the drop downs. The same list of choices are available as for the compact cell. For the footer you can choose to show or hide the color label and rotation controls.

That's a brief explanation of this large dialog box. Definitely spend a little time with this to see what you like and don't like in your cells. But you don't have to visit the dialog in order to change some of the options. As is the case in many parts of the Lightroom interface we have some shortcuts here as well.

You can change any (or all) of the four information sections in the header of the expanded cell simply by clicking on it! When you do you will get a contextual menu with all of the choices from the dropdown in the dialog box.

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So just click and change. Doing a different kind of review? Click and change again.

One more keyboard shortcut before we go. You can rotate through the three cell views (plain, compact, and expanded) by simply pressing the J key! Easy!

That's it for our brief tour of grid view options. Now get out there and play with them!

Note: David Marx over at The Lightroom Lab has some excellent videos on this topic. Stop on by and take a look!