What are keywords and why should you use them?:
A keyword is a word or series of words that serve as an indicator or tag that can be applied to a photo.
These can be searched allowing quick sorting and filtering of images in a large catalog.
They can help easily organize photos based on any custom criteria such as jobs, dates, people, or places. They give you a lot of flexibility in the sorting and organization of photos.
Keywords can also provide a way for others to find your photos posted online.
Adding keywords in ON1 Photo RAW:
There are a couple of ways to add keywords to a photo in Photo RAW.
The 1st and easiest is to simply select a photo and in the Metadata pane type a word into the "Add Keyword" text field. This will add it to both the photo and the Master Keyword List located below.
The 2nd is to add the keyword directly to the Master Keyword List itself, to do this click the gear icon next to Keyword List and click Add Keyword. This will trigger a dialog with options to add it to the selected photo and/or nest it within another keyword.
After adding a keyword to the Master Keyword List they can then be added easily to photos by selecting a photo or series of photos and checking the little blue check bubble next to the keyword in the list.
Keywords can also be saved as part of a metadata preset to add later.
Keywords can be removed individually from photos by deleting the keyword from the Keywords field in the metadata pane with the image selected. This removes it from the selected image(s) only and leaves it in the Master Keyword List.
They can also be removed by right-clicking the keyword in the Master Keyword List and selecting Delete Keyword. This will remove it from the Master Keyword List AND any photos containing the keyword (but not embedded).
To remove embedded keywords you must first remove it from the keyword field and then re-embed the metadata that does not contain the removed keyword by clicking "Photo -> Embed Metadata"
What is the master keyword list and how is it populated?:
The Master Keyword List is an overall list containing any manually added keywords along with any keywords Photo RAW has encountered on your photos.
This list will populate with keywords automatically once they are seen, it will pull them from any cataloged folders or albums with photos containing keywords.
It will also populate with keywords on photos in the current browse location. (So if you browse to your desktop in grid view and there is a photo on your desktop containing a keyword, this keyword will get added to the Master Keyword List)
This list can be exported/imported by clicking the gear icon. This can be useful for identifying keyword problems by exporting the list and opening it as a text file to view the contents and formatting.
Flat or nested/hierarchical keywords?:
Flat keywords are the most straightforward way to use keywords, it is simply a flat list of individual keywords added to a photo. This makes it easy to sort photos into basic categories such as Animals, People, or Landscapes.
Nested or Hierarchical keywords can allow you to further break down these categories for more granular searching and filtering. You start with a top-level keyword and can add keywords within those top-level ones and even nest further keywords into the already nested keywords. For example Animals > Birds > Ducks. This would allow you to search for all Animals, only Birds, or specifically Ducks.
This format is also useful for locations or dates like Country > State > Location, or Year > Month > Day.
It is important to note that each level of the keyword hierarchy functionally behaves as a unique keyword so (Animals) (Animals > Birds) (Animals > Birds > Ducks) can all be applied to a photo independently if desired.
How to search for keywords:
Locating photos via keywords uses the Advanced Search filter in the left pane.
Double-clicking a keyword in the Master Keyword List will search for that keyword in the current browse location.
The Advanced Search can be further refined from there to search all sorts of other criteria like cataloged folders, date created, ratings, and favorites.
Embedded vs non-embedded:
Simply adding a keyword to a photo within ON1 Photo RAW will not embed it into the file, it will add it as a setting in the sidecar and Photo RAW settings.
In order to permanently add it to the file you would need to click "Photo -> Embed Metadata".
This adds it to the file itself so it will show up outside of Photo RAW and in other applications.
It is important to note that removing a keyword normally or from the Master Keyword List within Photo RAW will not remove an embedded keyword.
This can lead to a removed keyword reappearing at a later date, this occurs when a keyword is removed from the sidecar but the next time that photo is browsed to the Master Keyword List re-pulls the embedded keyword from the file.
Keyword list formatting and normalization:
The Master Keyword List is case sensitive in that it will add keywords to the list according to the first instance of that keyword, if it is capitalized the list will show capitalized, lowercase will show lowercase. Any further additions of the same keyword regardless of the case will be normalized to the one already present in the Master Keyword List.
Keywords can be edited directly in the Master Keyword List by right-clicking and selecting Edit Keyword. This will edit the keyword in the list itself and on all photos containing the keyword.
Keywords on RAW vs non-RAW images:
These function similarly for the most part except that keywords cannot be embedded into RAW files, they will be written to the sidecars only.
They can be embedded in non-RAW photos and will also be in the sidecar.
Attempting to embed keywords in a RAW photo will display a warning dialog notifying the user of this.
Keyword search not finding photos - Check the Advanced filter options to make sure the right catalog, browse location, or criteria are being searched. Double-check photos are cataloged.
Deleted keywords returning to Master Keyword List - Most likely caused by embedded keywords. If a keyword is deleted from the Master Keyword List but a photo contains an embedded version of that keyword, you would need to first delete it from the list and photo, then re-embed the metadata without the keyword. This should prevent it from returning to the list.
All hierarchy levels added to photo - This can happen easily and unintentionally. When the photo is selected view the keyword list and locate the keyword hierarchy, make sure that only the desired hierarchy check bubble is selected.
For example, if the photo is of a duck and the keyword you want is "Animals > Birds > Ducks" only the last level of the hierarchy needs to be checked otherwise you will get all 3 versions appearing like this "Animals, Animals > Birds, Animals > Birds > Ducks"
- Hierarchical/nested keywords being flattened to a flat list - Usually from a Lightroom Migration because Lightroom migration does not currently support nested hierarchies.
- Pipe character separator showing up as part of the keyword "|" - Keywords embedded into images from some other programs like Lightroom or Elements can cause this to appear in Photo RAW, which can break the associated keywords.
- Searching for a nested keyword returns other keywords nested at the same level with partial matching spelling.
- Applying a metadata preset that does not contain keywords to multiple images will apply the keywords of the super selected image to all
- Browsing to a non-cached folder containing an image with embedded hierarchical keywords breaks top-level keywords.