Using Lightroom 2, I'm trying to filter by multiple keywords (aka tags) at once, using an AND semantic. i.e. I want to find all pictures that have all of the specified keywords.

The closest I can find is to go to the Library Filter panel in Metadata mode and select multiple keywords, but that has an OR semantic, which is not what I want (and seems generally pretty useless!).

My other attempt was to use the Library Filter panel in Text mode and just search for the tag names, but that ends up finding a lot of unwanted things as well.

This seems like a very basic need, so I suspect I'm missing something obvious here. :)


The only way I know how to explicitly do this is with Smart Collections. With Smart Collections, you have the ability to choose either AND or OR semantics when configuring your criteria. There is another good thread on this subject here:

Good Uses for Lightroom's Smart Collections

Outside of smart collections, you can use the "Text" search mode in the library module. If you select "Keywords", and type in (separated by spaces) the keyword terms you are interested in, you can kind of get the behavior you are looking for, but it is not always ideal. This is because LR does a basic string search, and ANY term that matches will be included, regardless of whether it is a whole keyword, or just part of a keyword.

  • Indeed, the fact that the Text mode does basic string search is the issue I was referring to (e.g. "John" finds both "John" and "John Lastname"). – David Ebbo Nov 29 '10 at 2:18
  • Thanks, smart collections do seem to work. The trick is to use the 'contains words' operator, as 'contains' has the same issue as above. It's a bit painful to create a smart collection for each search, but if no better solution comes up, I'll mark this as Answer! :) – David Ebbo Nov 29 '10 at 2:20
  • Aye, it is kind of a pain. I create and delete smart collections all the time to get around this limitation. I really wish Adobe had a better way for users to provide feedback and suggestions for future updates/versions of LR. It is a great tool, but it does have its very annoying quirks and limitations. – jrista Nov 29 '10 at 4:20
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    Actually, I found that this can in fact be done using "Text" search mode. The trick is to select both "Keywords" for the first drop down AND "Contains Words" for the second. Unlike "Contains All", it does what we expect. – David Ebbo Nov 30 '10 at 6:51
  • @David: Thanks!! Now I can stop using temporary smart collections for narrow keyword searches. :) – jrista Nov 30 '10 at 6:53

I have Lightroom 3, and here's how you do it there (perhaps someone with LR 2 could verify if this behavior is the same):

In the Library module, show the filter bar, choose Text.

There are two dropdowns and a text entry box. The first dropdown should read Keywords. Set the second dropdown to Contains All (as opposed to simply Contains), and then enter your set of keywords separated by spaces into the text box.

  • This unfortunately suffers from the issue mentioned in the other answer. e.g. suppose you have a "John" tag and a "John Spencer" tag (referring to unrelated people). If you search for "John" as you describe, you'll also get the "John Spencer" results, which in some cases makes the result set too polluted to be useful. – David Ebbo Nov 29 '10 at 7:31

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