I'm using LR to organize photos for a book (that will be designed in InDesign). I have collections with subfolders. I'm using stars to pick the most likely images that will work for the book. It's driving me nuts that one cannot change the order of photos within the collection. I've read about grabbing them from the middle to move them around but I get the error "Custom order is not supported in collection sets." I need to arrange them in an order to imagine how it will work in the book, before putting them on pages in ID. Any suggestions? If impossible in LR is there another program I could use? And please let me know how LR orders photos in a collection - it seems to change all the time.
Regular collections do let you do manual sorting in Lightroom.
Smart collections do not allow for manual sorting due to their membership being dynamic. You would need to drag and drop the dynamic result of the smart collection into a regular collection where you could do the manual sorting.
A "book" is just a special type of collection that does allow for manual sorting, say at one photo per page. Since you would need to drag and drop your smart collection into the "book" just like you would need to do for into a regular collection set, a "book" would probably not be the easier work around.
Collection Sets are different than Collections. You can sort manually in Collections. You cannot sort manually in Collection Sets or Smart Collections. You need to be aware of the differences.
A Collection Set is highlighted in this screen capture. It has a different icon than a Collection, which are the ones not highlighted.
designed in InDesign
I do not use. Others may suggest that you will need to Export the photos you want for the InDesign book. (I may be wrong!)
However there is a workaround to keep some semblance of sort order from multiple Standard Collections-
You have created several Standard Collections of photos, that you might use for 'Chapters' in a book-
Collection-1 = Chapter-1,
Collection-2 = Chapter-2,
1) Sort each separate 'Chapter' Collection with your Custom Sort- Photo-1, Photo-2, Photo-3, etc.
2) Create a NEW empty (no photos) Standard Collection "Combined".
3) ***Immediately set the Sort Order for this new "Combined" Collection to "Custom Sort"
4) View the Collection-1/Chapter-1 photos.
5) Select all photos [Ctrl+A] and drag onto the 'Combined' Collection
6) Repeat Step#4 and Step#5 for each Collection/Chapter of photos
The result in the "Combined" Collection will then stay (unless you do more manual sorting of it) as-
Chapter-1/Photos 1,2,3,4, Chapter-2/Photos 1,2,3,4, Chapter-3/Photos 1,2,3,4, etc.
Now you can Export this "Combined" Collection- Using a FIlename Preset that places a Sequence number before each exported photo- 001-Photo of Mary, 002-Photo of Fred, 003-Photo of Bill, etc.
All photos will now sort in Sequence-Order/Chapter-order for your ID Book.
Looks complicated, but easy when understood 🙂
Yes this is correct, you cannot change order in a smart colection. Another solution is instead of using smart collections use quick collection, which is easy. As you scroll thru your images, you will see a clear dot in upper right corner og thumbnail click the clear dot in upper left corner and it will add this image to your quick collecion. You can change order in quick collections and you can easily drag all of the images in quick collections to a named collecion. And in named collections you can still change order. Than rename your images with a sequence and they will stay in that order under finder of file explorer. Does this make sense? I can shoot some screen shoots if you have trouble figuring it out.
Thanks to all for the explanations and suggestions. I see now that the easiest thing for me is to make a folder of my selected photos and then I can move them around. But to further my understanding of lightroom, I still don't get what a collection set is. I didn't think I created one. see the image below - I created a collection HWY 67 and inside it subcategories. apparently HWY 67 is a collection set because that's the one that won't allow me to organize by drag and drop. how should this have been done to avoid this problem? I can organize the order in the subfolders.
Yes "HWY 67" is a Collection SET. Note the icon is a small 'Shoebox' that contains the Standard Collections.
But, as you have discovered, you can see all photos in the Collections combined in the SET, you cannot sort them when viewing the SET.
Nothing in Collections is 'Physical'. Collections are all 'Virtual'- just like Playlists in iTunes.
Folders (in the Folder panel) are 'physical' and you can move these, but it makes a mess of your hard-drive folder structure- NOT RECOMMENDED! Don't do it.
There appears to be a sub-collection in your 'BOOK+' collection, and that would be your Saved Book Collection - ie. the design of the book you are creating. (It will have a icon that looks like a book!) You can sort a Book Collection!.
Only special Collections- Books, Slideshows, Saved Prints - can be in a sub-collection of a standard collection.
You have a collection called "MUSIC"- I am not sure what you might have in here as Lightroom-Classic cannot reference music tracks in the Library. Maybe you have imported record label images to LrC ?
Joey Kaboey wrote:
I still don't get what a collection set is. I didn't think I created one. see the image below - I created a collection HWY 67 and inside it subcategories. apparently HWY 67 is a collection set because that's the one that won't allow me to organize by drag and drop. how should this have been done to avoid this problem?
A collection set is just a group of collections (a collection set doesn’t directly contain images). You can recognize the collection sets in your screen shots because 1) they contain collections and 2) they have a file drawer/box icon, not the rectangular collection icon. When you select a collection set, you see the total of all images in all of the collections inside the collection set. But that’s just to let you know what’s in the contained collections; it won’t let you apply a manual drag-and-drop sort at that level. You can manually sort when viewing a collection, but not a collection set.
The short version is that if you want to manually sort, put the images in a folder or a collection and select that. Don’t select a collection set, a smart collection, or a folder containing other folders because those don’t support manual sort.
It might help to provide the list below of what all the terms exactly mean in Lightroom Classic, because it’s really important that we all use the terms precisely, and not confuse what they mean and what they can do:
Folder: Links directly to a real folder on your computer desktop. Any change to organization affects both Lightroom Classic and the linked real folder on the computer.
Collection: A virtual list (like a playlist) of files. Any changes to organization don’t affect real files on the desktop. The advantages of collections over folders are that you can include one file in many collections, or files from many folders in one collection; and because collections are just lists they use almost no storage space.
Lightroom Classic lets you manually sort both of the above.
If you want to organize folders in a hierarchy, you just put folders inside other folders like on the desktop. But the confusing thing is that you can’t put a collection into another collection — if you want to organize collections in a hierarchy you must create a collection set, a container for multiple collections. If you are viewing a folder containing other folders, or a collection set, Lightroom Classic does not let you manually sort at that level. For both folders and collections, if you want to manually sort, you must be viewing a single folder or collection only.
Smart collection: A saved search, basically, because the list is created when you set up criteria like “find and list all images with the keyword ‘Patti Smith’ between 1975 and 1980.” These don’t support manual sort because the saved search list can change at any time as files match or stop matching the criteria.
Also, you can ignore any discussion of the Book module in Lightroom Classic if, as you said in your first post, you’re going to make the book in InDesign and are using Lightroom Classic only to organize the photos for that InDesign book.
Joey Kaboey wrote:
I didn't think I created one.
Just for reference, all collection commands are in two places; on the Library menu, on the Collections panel menu, or when you right-click in the Collections panel. It’s possible you created a collection set when it would have been better to create a collection. which is why it’s important to keep the terminology straight.
A "Collection Set" is a collection of "Collections". Just like folders have hierarchy with parent folder and children folders underneath, the Collection can be put into a hierarchy as well with a "Collection Set" as the parent.