LR Shorts: Three Tricks for Closing Adjustment Tool Windows in Lightroom

Animation of Adobe Lightroom Tool Strip

What’s unique about the Lightroom 5 Adjustment tools, in contrast to the other panels in the Development module, is they all require you to tell Lightroom you’re done. Doing that is usually accomplished by clicking on the “Done” button, which closes the Adjustment tool window. But in Lightroom there are many ways to skin a cat and the Develop module’s local Adjustment tools located in the tool strip above the Basic Panel are no different.

And sometimes a student will lose track of whether they are in an Adjustment tool or the Basic Panel because the settings of some of the Adjustment tools appear similar to the Basic Panel (see the animated graphic). Also when you select an Adjustment tool, the tool icon highlights and the Basic Panel moves down – sometimes so far that the Basic Panel is out of view, especially if you’re working on a laptop with a smaller screen. So, it’s important to close the Adjustment window before returning to using the other panels in the Development module.

Using the following three tricks for closing the Adjustment tool window can save you valuable production time and, as always, you never have to worry about saving your work, it’s done automatically. That’s because as soon as you finish a local Adjustment (or anything else in the Develop module, whatever it is), Lightroom has saved it in the History – there’s nothing to do. Plus it’s always nondestructive.

Trick 1: Click the Tool Icon

That’s it.

Simply clicking once on the tool icon you’re using closes the window. This applies to all the local Adjustment tools. It’s also important to note that if you’re happy with what you’ve done and you want to move on to a different Adjustment tool, don’t bother closing the tool window, just select another Adjustment tool and keep working. When you leave one Adjustment tool and select another, the new Adjustment tool window opens and the work you’ve done with the previous tool is already saved.

NOTE: If you start to make changes in the Basic panel without closing an Adjustment tool window, that tool will continue to remain active.

Trick 2: Using the Enter key (my choice)

Pressing the Enter or Return key on your keyboard twice in a row will close the options and settings window to all of the following tools, except the crop tool (see below):

  • Spot Removal (Clone and Heal)
  • Red Eye Correction
  • Gradient
  • Radial Gradient
  • Adjustment Brush
  • Crop Tool – Unlike the other tools, a single press of the Enter key accepts the crop and closes the Crop Tool window

Note: Pressing the Enter key once with the other tools will only deselect the active pin; the second press closes the window.

Trick 3: Double Clicking (Works only with the Crop and Radial Filter)

While in the Crop or Radial Filter tool, double clicking anywhere on the photo will close the window.

Getting in the habit of closing the Adjustment tool window avoids mistakes and saves valuable time, and using these tricks speed your workflow along by not having to mouse down to the “Done” button every time you’re finished with an Adjustment tool.

04/10/2015 – Addendum

I’m not listing this as a trick, but clicking on the Close button at the bottom of the Crop Tool Window is another option to the Done button.

Lightroom 5 Crop Tool Window