We've seen that one thing that can make files or folders go missing from inside Lightroom. Is if you move those files or folders outside of Lightroom in your operating system. The same is true if you rename files or folders in your operating system. Let's see if we can simulate that problem. And see how to fix that from inside of Lightroom. So here, I have this vertical photo of bottles. Let's say that out of my operating system, I changed the name of this file from the one that you see here to something like bottles.
By the way, if you don't see the file names on these thumbnails, just press the J key to cycle through the thumbnail styles until you see a file name here. Now I'm going to go out to my operating system, and I'll locate that photo of bottles, which is this one here, in the 02_11 folder. I'm going to select it and I'm just going to type a different name for it. I'll type bottles, and Enter or Return on my keyboard, and that's renamed the photo in the operating system. Let's go back to Lightroom. Here in Lightroom you can see that there is now an exclamation mark on the photo and if I hover over that, Lightroom is telling me that the photo is missing.
That's because it doesn't know about it's new name. If I click on the photo over here, under the Histogram again. I see that the photo is missing, and I can't work on this photo on my operating system unless or until I repoint Lightroom to the photo with it's new name. So I'm going to do that by clicking on the exclamation mark on the photo and here Lightroom is telling me that it can't locate the photo for me. I have to do it myself. Now, this can be a problem if I'd renamed this photo a while ago and I really didn't remember the new name.
So you want to be careful when you're renaming photos to do that inside Lightroom as I'll show you in a moment. However, I do happen to know the new name of this photo I'm going to click Locate, and here it is on my hard drive, so I'll select it with its new name. I'll leave this checkbox checked and I'll click Select. Now Lightroom tells me, well, gee, the photo you selected has a new name, a different name than the one you were trying to locate. Are you sure that this is correct? Yes I am, so I'll click Confirm. And now the exclamation mark is gone from the photo and if I click off it and back on, you can see over here that Lightroom recognizes it as an original photo. It doesn't see it as a missing photo.
So in order to avoid that problem, what's a better way to rename photos? Well, I suggest that if you're just renaming one photo, you select the photo here in your Lightroom Library, and then go to the Metadata panel. Go to the File Name field in your Metadata panel, and just type over the existing file name. So I'm going to type bike for example, and press Enter or Return. And you can see that the name of the file has changed here inside Lightroom to bike. And it has also changed out in my operating system. Here in my finder you can see, my bike photo, with it's new name.
So that's a better way to do things if you're just renaming one file. What if you're renaming, a whole lot of files at once. To do that, say I want to rename these three files I'll select them all and then I will go up to the Library menu and I'll chose Rename Photos. Here in the Rename window I will go to the file naming menu and here I have a choice of a number of different preset file saving conventions. I can choose from any one of these. Perhaps I'll go with custom name sequence. Here I can type into the custom text field, any name that I want to appear in all three photos. So I'll type, bruges_bikes, because these photos were taken in Bruges Belgium and they're all of bikes.
Here, I can see what my new filenames are going to look like. This is just an example of one of the files. Each will have a different sequence number. And I can choose the starting sequence number over here. So I want the first of these to start with the number one. And I'll click OK. And you can see that's renamed all three of these photos bruges_bikes-1, bruges_bikes-2, and bruges_bikes-3. Now there's a lot that you can do to customize those file naming conventions. But I suggest that you start with some of the presets and then go in and explore further inside of the renaming dialogue box if you want custom names.
But when you are renaming files like this, or if you want to rename a folder. I strongly urge you to do it from inside of Lightroom so that you don't get files missing inside your Lightroom Library.
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