I've got a lot of keywords in my Lightroom setup that have been mistakenly flagged as 'not for export.' I'm having trouble finding a way of batch editing these (to change the flag manually in LR on each keyword will take me a very long time.)

I tried exporting to a text file and removing a couple of sets of square brackets, and then re-importing - but it doesn't set the export flag. Any ideas very gratefully received.

2 Answers 2


I had the opposite problem (many keywords marked for export that shouldn't have been) and came to the conclusion that the only supported way to fix this was with the SDK. See http://www.lightroomforums.net/showthread.php?12537-managing-quot-export-quot-setting-of-many-keywords.

Taking someone's advice on that forum, I used the SDK to write a small plugin to do this.
For my case, if a particular top-level keyword is not exported, then all of its children (and their children, etc.) should not be exported. However, if the top-level keyword is exported, its children shouldn't necessarily be, but I wanted to know where that wasn't the case. I wrote about this in more detail here. You can also find the code at the above forum link. If you're willing to hack around with Lua, it shouldn't be hard to modify my code to do what you want, but it has no UI except a menu item that runs it, so you really would have to dive into the code to do anything at all different from what I did.

  • That looks very handy, I will give it a go. If I get anywhere with it I'll post my work. Thanks a lot - I've looked everywhere for this and your answer helps a lot.
    – vlad259
    Jul 4, 2011 at 9:21

It sounds to me like you have flipped the switch on your export dialog. The switch is a checkbox by the name of "Write Keywords as Lightroom Hierarchy" and it is located towards the bottom of the dialog.

You shouldn't need to do any manual editing of these keywords, just switch the checkbox and you should be set. If you need more detail around how this all works with screenshots and examples, I have found this site to be helpful: lightroomsecrets.com.

  • Good call but I have some keywords that must not be exported - I should have made that clear. So as far as I can tell I really have no option but to find some way of bulk editing the export flags on my keyword set.
    – vlad259
    Jun 3, 2011 at 9:33
  • To give the reason why this doesn't work - if you hit that checkbox it will export everything regardless of the flag settings.
    – vlad259
    Jun 4, 2011 at 18:39

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