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Start Me Up: file browser essentials > Searching for Photos by Adding Keywords

Searching for Photos by Adding Keywords

Right next to the Metadata palette is the Keywords palette. Keywords are new in Photoshop CS, and they are more important than they appear because this is what enables you to search for photos by topic. Basically, you assign a descriptive keyword to a photo (for example, you could assign the word Sunsets to all your sunset photos), then when you need a sunset shot, you’re not opening hundreds of photos—you just do a quick search and all your sunset photos appear in seconds.

Step One.
Go to the bottom left side of the File Browser and click on the Keywords tab to make the Keywords palette visible (shown here). You’ll see a list of default keywords put there by Adobe that are segmented into folders. If you don’t like the default choices, you can either collapse them (by clicking on the little gray down-facing triangles) or delete them forever by first clicking on the folder you want to delete, then clicking once on the Trash icon at the bottom of the Keywords palette.

Step Two.
You’ll usually start by creating a category of photos (that’s what a keyword really is, a category name that you’ll use to search for your photos). To do that, click on the New Keyword icon at the bottom of the palette (it looks like the New Layer icon in the Layers palette). A new field appears at the top of the keyword list (above the Event folder). Type “Red Cars” and then press the Enter key. Once you press Enter, your new keyword appears alphabetically in the keyword list.


Make sure you don’t have any keywords highlighted when you create a new keyword, because it will add the new keyword to that folder.

Step Three.
Next, hold the Command key (PC: Control key) and click on all the photos that have red cars in them. Then, go over to the list of keywords and double-click on the keyword Red Cars. You’ll get one of those annoying “You have selected multiple files. Are you out of your mind?” type of warning dialogs. Just click Yes and that’s it—those photos with red cars in them are now searchable using the keyword Red Cars. Let’s test it (just in case I’m lying and made the whole keyword thing up as a cruel joke).


Step Four.
Click the Search icon at the top of the File Browser (as shown here) to bring up the Search dialog.

Step Five.
You can search by a host of methods (file name, size, etc.), but since you added a keyword—it’s simple. Choose Keywords from the Criteria pop-up list, then in the search field type in your keyword “Red Cars,” and then click the Search button. In seconds, only photos tagged with the keyword Red Cars will appear in the main thumbnail window.

Step Six.
If you create a keyword, and then want to delete it, just Control-click (PC: right-click) directly on the keyword in the list, and choose Delete from the pop-up menu (as shown).



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