How can i in adobe lightroom add multiple keywords to a photo?

I have hundreds of photos without a keyword. So to view all i use the left menu "collections>without keywords". But when i try to click my already created keywords, the photo is directly moved out form "without keyword collection" and i cant apply the second keyword.

How do i add two keywords to a picture after i locate all photos without a keyword and not have them directly move out from my filter?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Another way to approach this: add a keyword "Unkeyworded" to everything that doesn't have a keyword. You can now select everything that has Unkeyworded. When you're done keywording, remove the "Unkeyworded" keyword. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 29, 2015 at 22:23

3 Answers 3


If you can reduce the set of keywords you want to apply to 9 or less, you can solve this problem with keyword sets. You can use the keyboard shortcuts Alt/Option-Num to apply these keywords; they're arranged on screen so this is easiest to do with the numeric keypad.

The trick is, Lightroom is usually slow enough that you can "chord" several keywords before the smart collection removes the photo from the collection. I can apply about four keywords at a time this way. Once you get used to the physical arrangement of your keyword sets, you can do this without looking, in the same way that a musician doesn't have to watch his fingers when playing chords.

When I need to apply more than four keywords to a photo in a single operation or the number of possible keywords can't be reduced to a keyword set, I use Itai's solution: Cmd/Ctrl-K, then type all the keywords into the box, and hit Enter.

The chording solution works best in conjunction with many carefully-scoped smart collections that point out photos that need a certain class of keyword, along with a matching keyword set or two.

For example, I have a smart collection that warns me that I haven't given a photo any kind of location keyword. It can do this because my keyword hierarchy lets me search just for just a few high-level keywords: indoor, nature, studio... My "living room" keyword is actually "architecture > dwelling > house > indoor > living room" for example. Then once I have a photo tagged as indoor, I have another smart collection that checks for furnishing tags: chairs, carpet, windows, etc., since photos taken indoors rarely include no furnishings. Some of these smart collections have an "edit time is in the last day" type of rule so the rare photo that depicts exactly one subject doesn't remain in this collection forever.

In this way, I build up the keywords on my photos in layers, each pass potentially triggering further refinement.

That is to say, I solve your problem by purposely not attempting to do a Big Bang keyword fix to every photo.


The keyword box and keyword field below it work differently. The latter makes it easy to do what you want by inserting comma-separated keywords. Once you press Enter, all the words apply and the image is moved out of the collection but the point is that you can now apply multiple keywords at once. If you really do not like commas, you must change it to another character in the Preferences menu.


If you use the default "without keywords" that installed with lightroom, it is a smart collection, meaning all the photos in the collection match a set of criteria and are included in the collection. As soon as you add the first keyword, the picture will disappear because it has a keyword and no longer matches the criteria for inclusion in the collection.

One remedy would be to create a new non smart collection. Go the tab at the top of the collections tab

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Click + to add a collection and create a "collection". Do not select the smart collection option. Go to the collection that contains all your pictures without keywords, select all the photos (or as many as you would like), and drag all the photos to the new folder. Now you should be able to add the keywords with the picture remaining until you are finished adding keywords. Then right click and "remove from collection" if you desire.,

  • \$\begingroup\$ You could use the Quick Collection feature instead of creating a collecton manually. It's most likely a one-shot use for this Collection of pictures without tags, in this case Quick Collection makes more sense. \$\endgroup\$
    – gotson
    Mar 21, 2014 at 0:42

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