This third installment on metadata goes into greater depth on adding keywords to files. Part 1, covered adding metadata through the Metadata panel, as well as creating templates to add metadata in bulk. Part 2 explored creating a keywords list using the Keywords panel, and touched on applying them. Adding keywords is a chore—there’s no getting around that. The trick is to plan ahead as much as possible, and determine which of the methods available will produce the quickest results.
Adding keywords through the Keywords panel
The slowest, but simplest way to add keywords uses the Keywords panel. Select all the files that can be described with one keyword, then click on the box next to the name to apply it. When adding one keyword after another rapidly without waiting for the status wheel at the bottom to disappear, Bridge can balk and pop up a notice that a file doesn’t accept metadata, but applying the words again much more slowly should fix the problem. However, occasionally Bridge will quit adding the first keyword to your batch of files and add only the second to some. You might not notice unless you review each file carefully, so don’t rush.
The bottom of the keywords panel holds commands (left to right) to search for matches in the list (the arrows take you to the next instance), adding subcategories and categories, and deleting keywords.
One keyboard shortcut adds more than one keyword with a single click, but it only works with categories and their subcategories. For instance, if Winemaking is a main category with the subcategory Australia, and under that you added Shiraz, Chardonnay, and Riesling, Shift-clicking on Shiraz applies Shiraz, Australia, and Winemaking all at the same time, but not any others on the same level with Shiraz. You need a well-organized list to take advantage of this shortcut.
If you get this warning on files you know do support metadata, it usually means you’ve tried to add or delete more keywords than Bridge can keep up with. Wait until the wheel at the left of the Status bar disappears, then try again.
Adding keywords through the Metadata panel
Shift-click on a subcategory keyword to add both it and all its parent keywords to selected files.
You can add almost any metadata directly into the Metadata panel. Type one or multiple keywords in the IPTC Core field. Keywords added here don’t have to be in your list. Bridge applies all the words when you click the Apply icon, although it can take a long time. Use this method to add new keywords to your list; once they’re in the Other category, drag them into the list to make them permanent.
Typing several words in the Keywords field adds all of them in one pass to the selected file(s), and adds new words to the Other category.
A disadvantage with this method is that you have to know exactly how keywords were spelled in your list. “Wine,” “wine,” “wines,” and “vino” may be all the same to you, but not to a computer. It’s easy to inadvertently create new keywords simply by misspelling old ones.
You can make new keywords permanent additions to your list by dragging them out of the Other category into a category you’ve created.
Another disadvantage is that you have to apply the same keywords to all selected files. For instance, add Australia and Shiraz to selected files, then “bottle” to some and “cask” to others, and select them all again to add “wine.” “(Multiple Values)” appears in the keywords field, and adding new keywords now replaces existing keywords.
Adding keywords through the Info dialog
If the Keywords field in the Metadata panel displays “(Multiple Values),” any words you now type into this field will replace the existing keywords.
Choose File > File Info (Cmd/Ctrl-I) to batch add metadata, including keywords, to selected files. The same rules that apply to adding keywords through the Metadata panel apply here as well. However, if you’re going to use a template to add some of the metadata to a large group of files, such as job related information and keywords that apply to a photo shoot in Napa, you can organize your work to also add more specific keywords to files within the group. Select related files within the group, then both apply the template and type in specific keywords to process that subset of files in one pass.
With a little thought and organization, you might be able to get most of the work done with just a few trips to the File Info dialog. Once you reach the point where selecting multiple files to add a new keyword results in the (Multiple Values) notation, you’ll have to switch to the Keywords panel to add additional keywords individually.
Use the Info dialog to add both multiple keywords and important information from a template.
Removing keywords from files
If you’ve added keywords in the Info dialog before, auto-complete (shown above with a blue highlight) will help you accurately spell keywords you’ve already typed. The panel’s Preferences manages the auto-complete list.
At some point you’ll inevitably want to remove keywords from files. They won’t be as descriptive as another similar word, or so seldom-used that they’re just cluttering your list. Most often you’ll use the Keywords panel. Select the files you think have the keyword you want to remove, and look at the checkbox next to the keyword in the list. If you see a check mark, simply click on the box to remove the keyword from the files. If you see a dash instead, that means only some of your selected files actually have that keyword. Option/Alt-click on the box to remove the keyword from those files that do have it. Option/Alt-Shift-click to remove that keyword and any parents to it.
Because you don’t have to worry about selected files having multiple values when you use the Keywords panel, you can select as many as you want and remove only some keywords, without first having to sort the files. And of course, if you really want to wipe out most of the metadata in a group of files, including their keywords, you can use the File Info dialog to replace an existing template with a new one, and/or manually add or delete keywords for all the selected files.
A dash before a keyword indicates only some of the selected files have the word applied to them. Clicking on the box adds the keyword to all the other files; Option/Alt-clicking removes them from just those files they’ve been applied to.
Looking for an image of grapevines, or an article written about grapevines, is easier if you can search for the keyword “grapevines,” and not need to know the filename, its path, or when or where it was created. The next step is learning how to effectively search for files in Bridge using metadata—there’s more than one way.
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