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Hiding & Showing Lightroom Panels

A few days ago one of my students asked “Where can I find the Keywording Panel?” I answered. “It’s in the Library module’s right Sidebar.” She replied, “No it’s not…” Sure enough the Keywording panel had gone missing. What gives???

Viewing panels…

There are several methods that can hide and reveal panels. In this tutorial I’ll show all of them. You’ll also see how to permanently (ish) hide panels you don’t use. It’s also the answer to the issue above.

Hide / Reveal sidebars


Adobe calls the sidebars Panel Groups now. Panel Groups are also known as Sidebars. Throwing the style guide to the wind, I’ll use both terms because they mean the same thing. Tap the Tab key to hide only the two Panel Groups. Press Shift + Tab to hide the Panel Group Sidebars and the Filmstrip at the bottom of the Lightroom work space. This short cut gives the most room for viewing thumbnails in the Grid, Survey & Compare modes and less distractions in the Enlarge mode.


TIP: Hide the Toolbar by pressing “T.”  Tap “T” again to bring it back.

Sidebar management

There are two tools that control how Sidebar panels display. Both are contextual menus found by right clicking in the area to the right of each panels name. The asterisk tells which panel was right clicked. The first control turns individual panels off which keeps them from displaying by unchecking it. Right click in any remaining panel then recheck the disabled panel to reveal it again. This is what caused the mystery my student encountered. She had, accidentally I’m sure, intended to enter Solo mode but unchecked the Keywording panel instead. Poof. That panel disappeared.

There are keyboard short cuts for each panel on the right hand sidebar so they can be hidden or shown without using the mouse. Starting at the top, here is a list for the two primary modules in Lightroom–Library & Develop.

  • Cmd (WIN: Ctrl) + 0 Histogram panel (both modules)
  • Cmd (WIN: Ctrl) + 1 Quick Develop | Basic
  • Cmd (WIN: Ctrl) + 2  Keywording | Tone Curve
  • Cmd (WIN: Ctrl) + 3 Keywording List | HSL / Color / B & W
  • Cmd (WIN: Ctrl) + 4 Metadata | Split Toning
  • Cmd (WIN: Ctrl) + 5 Comments | Detail
  • Cmd (WIN: Ctrl) + 6 (no panel) | Lens Corrections
  • Cmd (WIN: Ctrl) + 7 (no panel) | Transform
  • Cmd (WIN: Ctrl) + 8 (no panel) | Effects
  • Cmd (WIN: Ctrl) + 9 (no panel) | Camera Calibration

The other is Solo mode. This option, when checked, opens the clicked panel and closes the previously open one. I love Solo mode especially when I am working on my laptop and its limited screen real estate.


The next set of controls is for the entire Panel Group Sidebar. Click the disclosure triangle (circled in red in the screenshot.) Three choices appear: Auto Show & Hide, Auto Hide and Manual.

  • Auto Show & Hide ~ move the cursor to the edge of the work space to reveal the hidden Sidebar.
  • Auto Hide ~ the Sidebar disappears after the cursor is moved off of it. The Panel Group must be revealed manually by clicking the disclosure triangle.
  • Manual ~ the Sidebar is always displayed.

The Sync with Opposite Panel option applies the chosen behavior to the opposite Sidebar.

Experiment with all three versions to see which one works best for you. My choice is Auto Show & Hide. When I am working, I want as much preview area as possible until the time I need one of the panels in a Sidebar.

The missing panel returns

The solution for my student was tapping the Command (WIN: Control) + 2 keys together. She was amazed. I got a very brief “You-are-a-genius” look. All was right with Lightroom for her once again. Knowing how to use these tools not only speeds up using Lightroom by making the work space more efficient, it also, occasionally can make you a hero for a quick moment.

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