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Adobe Bridge Tip 3 - Keywords

April 25, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Using Keywords in Bridge

The use of keywords is essential for the efficient searching of images. Keywords are also important in the function of Smart Collections within Bridge and are also used by other applications and websites.

What are Keywords

Keywords are fundamentally a series of words that are created by the owner of an image that get embedded into the metadata and then used by software or websites etc. to reference and display images when searched for under using search criteria. More importantly, images can be searched for and easily located on your own computer saving the need to title every image individually.

It is best to start using Keywords from the very first image you store on your computer however, most of us, including me didn't think of this and have thousands of images that don't have Keywords added to them. Fortunately, you can batch add and remove keywords and you can also copy and paste them if necessary.

How to Create Keywords and Sub-Keywords

Open Bridge and click the 'Essentials' workspace, if you're not sure how to open the Essentials Workspace see my post HERE on workspaces within Bridge. Once the Essentials Workspace is set, navigate to a folder of images so that they are visible in the 'Content Pane', the more images the better. 

In the bottom right hand pane, there should be two tabs, 'Metadata' & 'Keywords', select the Keywords tab. If the Keywords tab is not visible then right click to the right of the Metadata tab and select Keywords from the list. If the bottom right pane is not visible then right click on the word 'Essentials' at the top of the screen and select 'Reset' from the list.

Once Keywords are displayed in the bottom right pane you will notice that there are several default keywords and sub-keywords listed.

Default Keywords

You can either delete them all and start again or keep these and add more to them. The words 'Events', 'People' and 'Places' are known as Keywords and 'Birthday', Graduation and Paris etc. are Sub-Keywords.

NOTE* If Keywords appear in italic text then they have been added by an image that already has Keywords embedded in it.

To create a new Keyword, right click anywhere in the Keywords Pane and select 'New Keyword'. To create a new Sub-Keyword, right click on an existing Keyword and select 'New Sub-Keyword' from the list. You cannot create a Sub-Keyword without first creating a Keyword but, you can have several Sub Keywords under a keyword.

Now create a keyword called 'Test' and create a Sub-Keyword called 'Test Images'.

How to Add Keywords to an Image

In the Content Pane select one or more images so they are highlighted and then go to the Keywords Pane. Put a tick in the box of the sub-keyword and the keyword should also be ticked. Note at the top of the Keywords Pane under the section 'Assigned Keywords', both the Keyword and the Sub-Keyword should have appeared there. The Keywords are now embedded into the image metadata and you can test this my looking at the properties of an image and looking into the keywords section.











Adding a Lot of Keywords to an Image

If for some reason a file has been missed and needs to have a lot of Keywords added, you have two choices. You can highlight the file, open the Keywords Pane and tick all of the boxes. The alternative is that if you have a similar file that has all of the Keywords that this file requires, you can right click on that file within the Content Pane and select 'File Info...' from the list. In the window that opens, find the Keywords section, highlight all of the Keywords and then use 'Ctrl + C' to copy them to the clipboard. You then open the 'File Info...' of the image that requires the Keywords and use 'Ctrl + V' to paste them into the same section.

Building a Keyword Hierarchy and Backing it Up

Over a period of time, you will build up a large number of Keywords and Sub-Keywords and there is a possibility that you will delete them by accident or an Adobe update resets them back to default. If this happens, you will not only have to remember the structure that you had built but you will also have to type them all out again. The keywords that had been added to images will still be in the images but they won't correlate to your Keyword structure any longer. Therefore the best method of recovering from this is to backup your keywords regularly, this allows you to re-import them if they get deleted.

To do this, open the Keywords Pane and click on the symbol in the top right of the window.


In the menu that appears, select 'Export...' and a new window will appear asking you to save a text file. Save the file somewhere on your computer that gets backed up such as an image folder etc. You can view the text file at anytime using Notepad and you can also add Keywords and Sub-Keywords into the text file and then import them back into Bridge using the same menu and the 'Import...' command..


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Welcome to my photography blog, here you will find hints, tips and advice as well current topics and other posts. Please feel free to browse through the posts and comment as you see fit but, please keep comments civil and constructive - Thank You
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