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Lightroom FAQ: Where did that thing go?

A week doesn’t go by that I don’t hear from someone who is struggling to find something that has seemingly vanished from Lightroom. In the interest of helping you avoid this sensation of panic and frustration, I have compiled my list of the top ten things that seem to go missing (or appear out of nowhere) of their own accord, and, more importantly, how to put things back to normal.

10. Individual Panels

It is possible to hide many of the individual panels completely from view. I don’t mean collapsing the panels, but outright removal from the panel group. If you should find some day that a certain panel has vanished from the interface all you need to do is go to Window > Panels and select the wayward panel from the menu to bring it back. In addition, you can hide (or show) a panel by right-clicking a panel header and selecting the panel from the contextual menu that appears.

9. The Library Filter Bar

Normally positioned above the thumbnails in Grid view of the Library module, the Library Filter can be hidden or shown by pressing \ (backslash) key. Hiding the bar does not turn off the filter being applied.

8. The Toolbar in Any Module

This is an easy one to misplace and return. Just hit the T key to toggle it into and out of view. If your Toolbar is visible, but certain tools are not showing, click the drop-down menu at the far-right end of the Toolbar and select the tools from the menu.

7. The Crop Guide Overlay

When you are in the Crop Tool you should see a guide overlay appear on top of your photo to help create a stronger composition. The overlay can be hidden/revealed by pressing the H key. You can also cycle through the different guide overlays by pressing the O key. If your Toolbar is showing, you can also control the tool overlay from there.

6. Adjustment Brush Pins

While we are at it, the same goes for the Graduated Filter pins, the Spot Removal Tool circles, and the Red-Eye circles. If any of these tools are active, but something is missing, hit the H key to toggle visibility.

5. Highlight/Shadow Clipping Indicators

This is one that can accidentally appear and take you by surprise, so if you are seeing a red overlay on the brightest areas of the photo or a blue overlay on the darkest (or both) and you want it to go away, just press the J key, which will show/hide the clipping indicator.

4. Adjustment Brush Mask Overlay

Speaking of colorful overlays that won’t go away, if you are applying an adjustment via the Adjustment Brush and a colored overlay seems to have become a permanent part of the image, just press the O key to hide it again. While you are at it, you can cycle through the colors of the mask overlay by holding the Shift key while pressing O.

3. Custom Presets/Templates

If it seems as though all your custom presets/templates have vanished, the most likely cause is a box in the Lightroom preferences. Go to Preferences > Presets and uncheck Store presets with catalog and see if that doesn’t bring them right back.

2. Entire Batches of Photos You Know You Imported

In my experience, if you launch Lightroom and find that it doesn’t have the same photos in it as when you left it during your last session, the most likely suspect is that the wrong catalog was opened. If you know where your desired catalog is located (and you should) then use the File > Open menu to open it directly, otherwise, search your hard drive for all .lrcat files and open the one with the most recent date.

1. The Close, Minimize and Maximize Buttons on the Top of the Lightroom Interface

This is the all time number one thing that I’ve been asked about since Lightroom was first released. Lightroom has three different screen modes, and you can continuously cycle through these three modes simply by pressing Shift+F (or the F key on Lightroom 4 and below).

I think many people discover these hiding shortcuts by accident first, so don’t worry if it has happened to you, as you are in very good company. Once you know them, they are excellent tools to use in your workflow.

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