Adobe Lightroom: How To Select Multiple Photos For Import Without Clicking Each Checkbox

Adobe Lightroom is a fantastic darkroom editor and photo organizing application for photographers who want to spend more time taking photos instead of sitting at a computer editing them. And the workflow in Lightroom is mostly straightforward, but something that has always bugged me is the Import screen. Why is it so limited?

When you launch the Import screen and point it to a folder location, it defaults to selecting every image in that location. Luckily there is a “New Photos” feature for importing new photos not already imported into Lightroom. That one feature might be good enough for most people. Also, don’t forget about the “Don’t Import Suspected Duplicates” checkbox on the right-hand side of the Import screen, that can be useful as well.

But for me, I only want to import the best of the best. I know some use Lightroom to catalog and organize every single photo they take, but for me, Lightroom is a way to catalog and organize only the shots I think I “might” publicly display some day. In this scenario, it would seem you have to check each little checkbox to import only the photos you want. But there happens to be a slightly quicker way to do this.

Below are the instructions to easily select multiple photos for import into Lightroom.

  • Click the Import button
  • Click the “Uncheck All” button on the Import screen.
  • Now you need to figure out if the photos you want to import are randomly scattered or contiguous and follow one of the two procedures below.

RANDOM

  • On a PC use CTRL – click, on a Mac use Command – click. Do this anywhere on each photo you want to import. It will highlight the box (thumbnail) of each photo, but it will not put a check in the checkbox.
  • Now that you have all your photos selected, all you need to do is click the little checkbox on one of those selected photos (it doesn’t matter which one) and the checkbox will be checked on all selected photos. It’s a little weird, but hey, it works.
  • Click Import.

CONTIGUOUS

  • If all the photos you want to import are contiguous (all next to each other), then instead of CTRL – clicking or Command – clicking each photo you can select them all with two clicks.
  • Click the first photo using CTRL – click (or “Command – click”)
  • Click the last photo using SHIFT – CTRL – click (or “SHIFT – Command – click”).
  • Now click the little checkbox on one of the selected photos (it doesn’t matter which one).
  • Click Import.

Again, a little weird, but I think this helps the workflow just a bit compared to clicking that little checkbox on every single photo each time you import a new set.

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  • mudygreezy

    thank you

  • Thank you very much! It works like wonder! Saves a lot of time 🙂

  • WitWins

    I see this is a little old now. But, I am curious how many photos are you typically dealing with? My process is a bit different, but I’ve also always found the import screen to feel really limited. Thanks for this, it is very helpful!

    • You’re welcome! The amount of photos varies greatly. Sometimes only a few dozen, sometimes hundreds.

  • Thank you!!! This was so helpful! I’ve been trying to figure out how to do that for years.

    • I didn’t see your comment until just now. You are very welcome!

  • Sophie Aktas

    Thank you sooo much for putting this out there, plain and simply. I’m so glad I googled this issue and landed on your page; it made the following work soo much easier and smoother! Kind regards from Munich! Sophie

  • Nick Crettier

    I can’t tell you how much time, now and in the future, you have saved me! Just “thank you” seems so inadequate.

  • Jay Hovanec

    Kudos!!! This was driving me insane!

  • Kris Van de Vijver

    thanks, you saved me from a lot of clicking! 🙂

  • MuchClearer

    Thanks so much for this. As a new LR user I really appreciated being able to find the answer quickly to what I was after.

  • Fred

    With Windows and Lightroom CC , for range selection you don’t need to use the Ctrl key. Just click the 1st and Shift-click the last… same as for any range selection followinh Windows UI standards.