The second tip in this series on improving your Lightroom workflow is simple: Use context menus. A context menu aka contextual, shortcut, or pop-up menu is a menu in Lightroom that is displayed by right-clicking on an object in the user interface. See image 1. You can click on almost any object, including an image, a folder or collection name, and a keyword. The context menu will allow you to perform a limited set of actions related to the object or the current state of the application. Context menus are available in most programs, not just Lightroom
Context menus are great for speeding up your workflow. Right-click on an image and you are presented with a list of pertinent commands that can be performed on the image. To invoke an action in the context menu, simply click on it. For example, right-click a folder name inside the Folders panel and you can create a folder inside the folder, rename the folder, remove the folder, save metadata, synchronize a folder, update a folder location, Import to the folder, export the folder as a catalog, show in finder, or get help. See image 2. This much simpler than searching eight menus for the right commend.
If you are on a PC, right-clicking an object is easy. Just position the cursor over the object and click the right button on your mouse or the right key on your trackpad. If you are on a Mac, it is a little more difficult. First, get rid of Apple’s Magic Mouse; it is hard to use and even harder to right-click with it. Instead, buy and install a two button Bluetooth mouse on your computer. Now, to right-click, simply click the right button. If you have a separate trackpad for your desktop or are using a Mac laptop with its trackpad, click the trackpad with one finger for a left-click and two fingers for a right-click.
Using the context menus in Lightroom is easy and will speed up your workflow. The commands in a context menu are available in the main menu but so are other commands that are not relevant to your current needs.
Editor’s Note: In early May, Brian started a series of ten posts each outlining one or more simple but small things you can do to speed up your Lightroom workflow. This is the second post in that series; the first post was about how to efficiently manipulate Lightroom’s interface to reduce clutter.