Full-screen Preview in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Full-screen Preview in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Photoshop Lightroom is the most optimized and most efficient image editor dedicated to digital photography. The usual routine is to import images, then to pick good/best images before processing them further. My routine includes previewing images in 100% view before deciding which images to select and which to reject.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is also optimized to quickly preview images in 100% view what is the best way to preview images when quality in actual dimensions is crucial.

In this tutorial, I will explain to you how to preview images in 100% view or in 100% view in full-screen mode when you are in Library or Develop module in Lightroom. Along the way I will also explain to you how to navigate, rate and label images using keyboard shortcuts.

100% view and full-screen preview in Lightroom

There are a couple of ways to preview images in 100% zoom level in Lightroom's Library and Develop modules. Before anything else you should set 2 zoom levels in the Navigator panel:

  • For the first zoom level choose either Fit or Fill.
  • For the second zoom level choose 1:1 or actual dimensions. Just to mention that there are other options from the drop-down list like 1/2, 1/4, 2:1, 4:1 and so on...
Set second zoom level in Lightroom
Before zooming in and out you should set two zoom levels from Navigator panel. For the first zoom level choose either Fit or Fill. For the second zoom level there is 1:1 or actual dimensions option and drop-down list with lots of other zoom level choices. The first zoom level is default level while second zoom level must be activated by user or you. 

Full screen

There are multiple ways to enter full-screen mode. I will highlight two of them for which I think that are most suitable to preview images without any distracting elements:
  • F key will enter/exit full-screen preview. Same command available from Window > Screen Mode > Full Screen Preview.
  • Ctr/Cmd + Shift + F will enter/exit full screen preview and hide panels. This command/shortcut is useful in the Develop module. Same command available from Window > Screen Mode > Full Screen and Hide Panels.
Full screen mode with hide panels in Lightroom
You can use keyboard shortcuts to enter full screen mode: letter F or Ctrl/Cmd + Sfift + F to enter full screen and hide panels.

Zooming, navigating, panning, and rating photos in full-screen preview

While in full-screen preview mode chances are that you want to see your photo at actual dimensions or to zoom in. Most of the time you will also want to pan the image to see different areas of your photo. There is and need to rate and label photos so you can easily organize and find them later. Lastly, you must navigate photos to make this process useful and efficient.

Here are important keyboard shortcuts to remember while in full-screen preview mode

Let's start with zooming, panning and navigating image:

  • Space bar will zoom in/out. Click with the mouse button will do the same thing with the difference that image will be zoomed to clicked point.
  • When you enter full-screen preview most of the time many parts of your image will be hidden. To pan the image use mouse button, click and drag or when using Full Screen and Hide Panels  (Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + F) use keyboard shortcuts: 
    • Home key is a shortcut to display the top right corner of your image in focus or on your screen.
    • End key is a shortcut to display bottom left corner of your image on your screen.
    • PgUp is a shortcut for page up or one screen up.
    • PgDn is a shortcut for page down or one screen down.
    • Shift + PgUp will change one screen to the left
    • Shift + PgDn will move one screen to the right.
  • To navigate to the previous/next image use Left and Right arrow keys on your keyboard.

Keys with numbers 1 - 9 can be used to rate and label photo:

  • Keys 1 - 5 will set a rating while key 0 (zero) will remove it.
  • Keys 6 - 9 will set the color label in this order: red, yellow, green, blue.
image with three stars rating and green color label
Rating and labeling images is available through keyboard keys 1 - 9. 

To flag/reject photos you can use the following shortcuts:

  • Key P will flag photo while key U can be used to remove the flag.
  • Key X can be used to set photo status as Rejected.
Rejected and flagged photo in Lightroom's Library module
One of the things that you should do is to set flag and reject photos for easy filtering and perhaps deleting. Using keyboard shortcuts you can flag/reject photo in full screen preview.


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