Rating and Labeling Files for Easier Identification

If you shoot a large number of exposures, you will find the means of rating and filtering files indispensable. The method is akin to Chinagraphing contacts in the bad old, good old days of film. You can assign from 0-5 stars. To rate, use the following methods:

■ Select files and then click one of the dots just below the thumbnail (Figure 4-7). If you do not see any dots, increase the thumbnail size by using the slider in the status bar. The rating ramps from left to right.

Figure 4-7: Clicking the dots below the thumbnails is just one way of Rating files.

After selecting files, choose a rating from the Label menu. To increase rating, press Ctrl+Period (Windows), S+Period (Mac OS). To decrease rating, press Ctrl+Comma (Windows), S+Comma (Mac OS). To apply ratings in slide show mode, press Period to increase or Comma to decrease.

NOTE The rating information is stored in XMP metadata. If the file format does not support XMP metadata, the rating information gets stored in the central cache and does not travel with the file.

After you have rated files, you can view them according to rank by selecting View ^ Sort ^ By Rating. You can also filter files according to a rating. To filter, click the Filtering icon in the toolbar and select a rating: one star, two stars, three stars, and so forth.

If rating doesn't appeal to you or you want to rank files by applying custom text, you can use color labels. To apply a label, select a file or files, right-click (Windows), Ctrl-click (Mac OS), and choose a color from the Label submenu. To peel the label off, as it were, choose No Label from the same submenu.

If you find it hard to remember the labeling by colors alone, you can add custom text to the labels. To do so, open Preferences and then select Labels from the items on offer. The labels will appear in the pane on the right. Type your preferred label in the text field (Figure 4-8) and click the OK button to apply changes.

Figure 4-8: Applying custom labels in the Preferences dialog box.

Just as you can filter rated files, so can you filter labeled files. To filter, click the Filtering icon in the toolbar and select a rating or label.

Having rated and/or labeled the files, you can then filter them and view only the ones that you wish to see. Having the ability to view by rating or labeling makes sorting files easy. For example, you can mark the unusable ones, create a subfolder for them, make sure that the Folders panel is in view, select them all, and then drag them into that folder or delete them if you are absolutely sure that they are beyond redemption.

To view labeled files only, choose an item from the Label menu or click the Unfiltered icon in the toolbar and choose from the pop-up menu. The files in the contents panel will reflect your choice and the icon name will change to Filtered. To return to unfiltered view, choose Show All Items from the same menu or press Ctrl+Alt+A (Windows), ^+Opt+A (Mac OS). You can also use keyboard shortcuts to filter files. You will find them listed next to the menu items.

TIP When you select files, you can use the usual keyboard shortcuts to select all, Ctrl+A (Windows), &+A (Mac OS). However, if you want to deselect, don't use the same combo you use in Photoshop to deselect selections; you will end up duplicating all the selected files. Instead, use Ctrl+Shift+A (Windows), &+Shift+A (Mac OS). You can use the usual Shift-click method to select multiple files or noncontiguous selections with Ctrl (Windows), & (Mac OS).

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