Lightroom Library Module: What Do All Those Icons on My Photos Mean?

A reader asked me if there’s somewhere to find out what all the little symbols mean on the images you see in  the Library Module’s Grid View, so I thought I’d turn it into a brief tutorial. You may have noticed there are little icons all around your image cell and thumbnail. And if you don’t see them, you’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. Just hit the J key one, two, three times and you can cycle through the three views.  You can see a simple cell with no info, a compact cell with some info or an extended cell with extra information. The image below shows you the three views.

You can choose what you see in the thumbnail cell views
Hit the ‘J’ key one, two or three times to go through the three thumbnail cell views. You can choose to display no image information, some information in Compact Cell or more information in Expanded Cell.

Note that the cell area is the gray part in the screenshot above. The cell contains the thumbnail and information about the thumbnail.

Here’s What All The Little Icons and Info Mean:

Lightroom LIbrary Module Grid View - what all those icons and badges mean

Starting at the top at twelve o’clock and going clock-wise:

Top Label – I have it set to File Base Name/Copy Name in  the example above. You can change what you see here using the View Options dialog box.

Cell Border – Clicking here will select the image and deselect any previous image selected.

Metadata and Lightroom Mobile Status. You may see a warning here if there’s a metadata conflict or your image is missing. The squiggly line indicates the image is synced with Lightroom Mobile. If you have Lightroom 5 or 6 and not CC, you will not see the mobile status.

Quick Collection – Indicates this image is in a Quick Collection.

Badges – These show you more info about your image. This image has (left to right) keywords, a map location, it’s part of a collection, it has been cropped and Develop Settings have been applied to it. If you hover your mouse over one of the badges, you will see a small pop-up that tells you what it means.

Bottom Label – You can choose what you want to show here in the View Options dialog. I’m showing star ratings and color label.

Thumbnail – This is the thumbnail of the image. If you want to move or drag an image, you drag by the thumbnail, not the cell border.

Rotation – Use this to rotate your image. You will only see the icon when you hover over a thumbnail.

Virtual Copy – The turned corner indicates this another version of an image. You can apply different settings to a virtual copy without it affecting your original.

Stack – This shows the image is part of a stack and how many images are in the stack.

Flag – The flag status indicator. The white flag means it’s a “pick.” A black flag would indicate a reject. An unpicked image will have a light outline of a flag that’s visible when you hover over the thumbnail.

Customize What You See on Image Thumbnail Cells

You can choose what you see on your thumbnail cells. Go to the View Menu > View Options. In this dialog box you can specify what info you want to see displayed. Here is how I have mine set on the Compact Cell View, but you may have your own preference.

Library Grid View thumbnail cell options


Here’s a video tutorial I created that explains in more detail about what you can choose to display in Grid View and it also covers Loupe View. As you will see, Lightroom gives you a lot of flexibility to customize what you see in Grid View.

I hope this helps you set up the Library views to best fit your needs.

What other Lightroom tutorials would you like to see? Tell me in the comments.

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