by Julieanne Kost

 Comments (10)


December 21, 2010

While creating a new  folder (or a subfolder) in Lightroom might be straightforward enough (simply click the plus icon in the Folder panel header and select Add Folder or Add Subfolder), what many people don’t realize is that this is also the way to make Lightroom aware of an already existing folder on disk – one that has yet to be imported and, may even be empty. Lets say for example, you have created a folder on an external drive that you want to archive/move images into yet Lightroom has not been told to display that folder in the Folder panel. To add this folder to the Folder panel (so that  images can be moved to it) click the plus icon on the Folder panel and select Add Folder. Navigate to and select the desired folder. If the folder is empty, Lightroom will simply add it to the Folder panel. If there are images in the folder, Lightroom will display the Import dialog so that you can decide what to import, what metadata to apply etc..


  • By Antonino A. - 8:34 AM on December 21, 2010  

    Thanks for the tips!!! Keep em coming 🙂 I’ve only been a LR user for 1 month now. LOTS to learn..

  • By john-hewett - 4:01 PM on April 10, 2011  

    Thanks for this tip….it worked perfectly
    I couldn’t find it in any of the books that I use.

  • By Bob Smith - 6:39 PM on September 9, 2011  

    I can’t get this to work for me. The Import dialog opens, even though the folders are empty and it can see the empty folders but the only way I can exit from the import dialog is to use “Cancel” and then the folders no longer appear.

    • By Julieanne Kost - 6:15 AM on September 12, 2011  

      Bob – make sure that you click the plus icon on the right side of the Folder header in the Library module and choose Add Folder. Then select the empty folder and Lightroom will import it.

  • By Ronan Downes - 6:55 PM on October 23, 2011  

    But how to add a batch of folders in one go?

    Using Folder Maker pro I generate

    folders 10-01 through to 10-12 for my personal photographs from 2010.

    The quickest way I can get the 12 folders in to a LR catalog is to copy a sample photo into all 12 then import the parent folder and allow duplicates. Finaly I delete all the images!


    Must be a quicker way.


    • By Julieanne Kost - 6:45 AM on October 24, 2011  

      You can click the plus icon on the Folder panel’s header (in the LIbrary Module in Lightroom) and crate your folders (and Subfolders) directly within Lightroom.

  • By George E. Givens, Jr. - 10:03 PM on April 10, 2012  

    Julieanne thanks for the tip.

  • By Key - 7:45 PM on June 27, 2012  

    LR (LR4) let’s you add a SINGLE empty folder, but NOT a set of folders/sub-folders. For example, If I try to add the folder “Photos” and all of its sub-folders (like two folders in “Photos” named “Canada” and “United State”) it will only add “Photos”. It ignores the sub-folders. The only way LR will see the sub-folders is if I put dummy files in them as Ronan suggests. Or do them one by one, which is not really a workable solution when you’re trying to import many folders, like I am.


  • By Scott - 8:58 PM on May 2, 2013  

    I set up a folder for a dance recital. Under the main folder, I created about 60 subfolders for each individual dance. I did this in Win Explorer, thinking I could add the folders or synch them in LR. Is there any way to tell Lightroom that I have 60 empty subfolders that I now want to catalg and move pictures into? I know I can do the + on the FOLDERS header and select each individual folder, but surely there is a faster way?! Using LR3 and Win7.