This Lightroom plugin allows you to create a set of workflow-status yes/no fields that milestone your personal workflow, and maintain them for each folder in your Lightroom catalog. It's quite useful to remind yourself, on a folder-by-folder basis, what processing you have done and what remains to be done.
You might, for example, create fields such as “Keywording Done”, “Geoencoding Done”, “Archived Offsite”, “Upload To Online Gallery”, etc. As you complete each step on all the images in the folder, you manually update the field to indicate that the particular step in your workflow is done.
This manual tracking of status can be useful...
...to remind yourself later what steps have been done and what steps remain.
...to help you find folders that have or have not had specific processing done.
...to enforce personal workflow policy about what steps must be done before exporting images, such as “Don't allow images to be exported until folder-wide keywording and archival are complete.”
Table of Contents
This plugin works in Lightroom 5 and Lightroom 4 (though some features may be missing in older versions of Lightroom).
The same download works for both Windows and Mac. See the box to the upper right for the download link (in orange) and installation instructions.
The plugin maintains the status fields you define on a folder by folder (not image-by-image) basis.
While one or more folders are selected in Library, invoke...
... to bring up the main plugin dialog, which starts out fairly empty with just a few sample fields created by the plugin to serve as examples:
The first time you do this for a new catalog, you'll want to set up your own fields using the buttons in the upper right of the dialog. As an example to help spark your own ideas, let me show you the fields that I have personally created for my own workflow:
Because the fields are personally created and maintained manually, you have free reign to create what you like for your own workflow, but to illustrate some of the ways one might use this plugin, I'll explain the fields I've created for my own workflow...
So, that gives you an idea on how I currently use it, though I'm sure I'll come up with additional fields over time. You can add or edit fields any time.
If you come up with novel ideas not mentioned here, by all means please leave a comment telling about your experiences.
The Folder Status Dialog and Keyboard Shortcuts
Because the flags are set and cleared manually, you'll probably visit the folder-status dialog often after an initial import, so it can be very handy to map a keyboard shortcut directly to it, as explained here.
Personally, on my Mac, I've mapped Shift-Command-D to bring up the dialog.
Folders and Collections
You can bring up the folder-status dialog while a folder or any number of folders are selected as the source of the images in the grid or filmstrip.
You can also throw user-created collections into the mix... they maintain their own set of flags as well.
However, special Lightroom collections like “Quick Collection”, “All Photographs”, etc., don't maintain their own flags. If you invoke the folder-dialog status while viewing one of these special collections, the underlying folders holding the selected images are brought up in the folder-status dialog.
Creating Export Prerequisites
Despite the flags to remind me of all the basic workflow I want to be sure to have completed before exporting any image, I sometimes still forget, so I built a way to require that specific flags are set as I want before an export is allowed to continue.
Here's how it looks in an export or publish dialog after having added my prerequisite rules:
The prerequisite module is implemented as a Lightroom “Post-Process Action”, so after installing the plugin, it appears in the lower-left corner of export/publish dialogs; double-clicking on the name there add its section to the actual dialog, as shown in the bulk of the screenshot above.
The rules that I often use are shown in the screenshot. You define your own rules via the “Add/Edit Export Rules” button, which brings up a dialog like this:
You can use any of your flags as prerequisites, and as a bonus there's also a way to enforce that a folder name should or should not match a particular Lua text-matching pattern. Lua is a programming language (the one that Lightroom plugins, and much of Lightroom itself, are written in), so constructing a text-matching pattern is an advanced topic. Lua patterns are defined here.
These prerequisite rules apply only to the folders of the images exported, even if you're in a collection when you launch the export. This is a potential point of confusion because if you launch an export from a collection, you might expect the export prerequisites to inspect the collection's flags, but collection flags are never considered for export prerequisites.
If a rule fails for any folder holding a source image, you'll be informed, and offered the ability to cancel the export:
This plugin is distributed as “donationware”. I have chosen to make it available for free — everyone can use it forever, without cost of any kind — but unless registered, its functionality is somewhat reduced after six weeks.
Registration is done via PayPal, and if you choose to register, it costs the minimum 1-cent PayPal fee; any amount you'd like to add beyond PayPal's sliding fees as a gift to me is completely optional, and completely appreciated.
Note: a Lightroom major upgrade, such as from Lr4 to Lr5, de-registers the plugin in the upgraded version, so if you want to maintain registration, a new ($0.01 if you like) registration code is needed in the upgraded version. It makes for a hassle every couple of years, I know. Sorry. See this note for details.
For details on plugin registration and on how I came into this hobby of Lightroom plugin development, see my Plugin Registration page.
( Update Log via RSS )
|20130909.22||Added some debug logging for the CSV-file thing.|
|20130830.21||Added the ability to save data to a CSV file.|
|20130727.20||Fixed crash at "InitPlugin:191" in certain situations.|
|20130613.19||Better support for plugin revalidation.|
|20130611.18||Yet another Lr5 update|
|20130610.17||Final update for Lr5|
|20130501.16||Update for Lr5|
|20130412.15||Build system update.|
|20130328.14||Fix for the registration system.|
|20130225.13||Give the option to continue with an export even if the status checks can't be performed.|
|20130209.12||More build-system maintenance|
|20130206.11||Could still block the export even if "Enabled" was not checked.|
|20130206.10||Tweak for my registration system|
Error dialog when exporting with failed rules would crash if too many folders had failed rules.
Added the ability to always refer to the underlying folder for current photos.
Items in the sources list were not always sorted properly.... should now be.
You can click on a source in the list to view just that source.
|20121127.7||Yesterday's update needed an update in the code that calculates when to show the summary line.|
Added an "all rows" row to allow quick setting of field data for all shown folders.
Reduced the max width of the dialog (from 100 less than the screen width, to 200 less than the screen width) to lessen chances of conflict with docs and such.
|20121030.5||Added an option to exclude an empty folder only if it's a non-leaf folder. This is what really makes the most practical sense, so that the various folders in your hierarchy that exist only to create the hierarchy (e.g. the "2012" and "2012/01" folders for a "2012/01/EventName" folder) don't clutter the display.|
|20121006.4||Fix (I hope) a "nil" error some folks get.|
Worked around a bug in Lightroom that caused display troubles in the rule-edit dialog with fields that contain a period.
Added vertical scrolling to the edit-fields dialog when the number of fields makes it likely the dialog will be too tall to fit the current screen.
Auto-expand non-leaf folders and collections to all contained folders/collections.
Lots of miscellaneous enhancements and fixes.