Let's say I've made 4 edits in LR4, in descending recentness:

  1. Contrast
  2. Punch
  3. Auto Tone
  4. Crop

Now, I want to undo the Auto Tone, but leave everything else. Is such a thing possible, or do I have to undo down to the Auto Tone, undo it, and then manually redo all of the other edits?

  • I was just wondering yesterday.
    – rfusca
    Apr 29 '12 at 15:34
  • 2
    This would be non-linear editing. Lightroom is a non-destructive editing tool, but it is still a linear editing tool. Non-linear editing is a much more difficult thing to achieve, and often needs a lot more underlying system power to drive it. As we all know, Adobe is barely capable of making Lightroom as it is perform barely good enough, let along fast enough to really support true non-linear editing.
    – jrista
    Apr 29 '12 at 16:13
  • 1
    @jrista I think that comment is a little unfair. I use LR and although it can be a bit slow loading a 22mp RAW file I put that down more to the age and speed of my laptop than anything else! Otherwise it's a wonderful piece of software (IMHO) and I couldn't do without it. You are however correct re: the linear editing. If you want to undo individual "layers" of edit, then look at Photoshop rather than LR...
    – Mike
    Aug 16 '12 at 11:21
  • it is slooooowwww. all adobe products are. even acrobat reader. Nov 3 '13 at 13:54
  • And I assume this limitation exists in Lightroom 5? Jun 7 '14 at 4:55

The only real way to do this is by selecting the history step that you want to fall back to, in this case the Clarity step:

enter image description here

Then creating a virtual copy of where you were on that Clarity step:

enter image description here

And finally switching the original master image back to the most recent step in the history:

enter image description here

It might not be the most elegant solution, in particular if you are really interested in keeping the exact history noted in the new virtual copy, you would actually have to step back to the Import step, create the virtual copy, then just recreate the exact same history steps 1 by 1. The workaround that I have above with screenshots usually works just fine for what I need though, as I can recreate the image if necessary using sync.

  • 2
    Good idea - and you can use the "Sync" feature to copy across the remaining edits from the original photo. Apr 29 '12 at 23:05

Unfortunately, what you want to do is not possible in Lightroom. Using the History panel it's possible to view the list of things that were changed, but it's not possible to pick and choose to selectively remove these items. You can "Undo" up to a given point, but it will remove all changes made after that point.


I don't know why Adobe haven't provided users with the ability to remove multiple steps from a history list, considering even though, as suggested earlier, the edit process is linear. It's quite simple...

If you have a 20 step history and wanted to remove each other step for an example, if you were able to Ctrl or Command click each step you want to remove then press ctrl or Command Z to remove them all at once.

Internally all LR has do is this... 1. Allow you to command/ctrl click (or shift click a range) 2. When ctrl/command Z is pressed store the unselected history steps in a buffer 3. Make a virtual copy (virtual copy is already an availabe function) from the step immediately before the earliest selected step to be removed. 4. Reapply the buffered steps to the virtual copy 5. Remove the original image (could be confirmed, you might want both). Of course the original on disk would be kept.

This would take milliseconds an not a time consuming process at all.


I found one very inelegant workaround that depends on the photo and doesn't work for every situation.

First, use the "Copy..." option in the left sidebar to bring up the "Copy Settings" dialog box and uncheck whichever type of setting you want to take out. Confirm the selection, then select your import/original image in the History, and click "Paste."

That should apply all the settings except for the ones unchecked in the copy dialog box.


This doesn't allow you to select a specific step if a certain setting was applied multiple times and gets rid of the entire type of setting.

The paste step shows up as a single aggregated step in the History, instead of all the steps you had copied.

  • its faster jst to double click all tehj tone sliders that auto tone adjusts Nov 3 '13 at 14:15

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