A badge of any “professional” program is that it is highly customizable. In my book that includes scripting from the day the program ships, and any database-driven app simply must let the user save queries – again that’s from day one. You’ll never anticipate the range of users’ needs so provide the tools for others to fill in the gaps. Let’s hope both of these basic features aren’t too far down the Lightroom development list.

One area you can customize is the metadata panel, adding new layouts or “metadata field lists” so you can display different fields which you find more helpful. I’ve recently written one to show the location fields in the order in which I like to enter them – country, state, city and finally zooming in on the location field. So here’s my “Location reversed” layout. Another data entry template was written for a friend/client whose workload means he only enters a big caption and his copyright information, hence my “Big caption and copyright”. A third one is more for reviewing the status of pictures – my “Metadata status”.

To use these templates, right click the links and save the files to the correct place in the Lightroom support folders. On Windows that’s in C:Documents and SettingsUSERNAMEApplication DataAdobeLightroomMetadata Field Lists, while on Mac they’re in LibraryApplication SupportAdobeLightroomMetadata Field Lists. Create the Metadata Field Lists folder if it doesn’t exist.

But it’s also worth clicking the links and seeing how these files are structured. They’re just text files that can be edited in Notepad or TextEdit, and you can often guess at how certain fields are described. It’s dead easy to make your own.

It’s worth saying that this is an undocumented area, and the credit for opening it up belongs to Jeffrey Friedl. His online Metadata Viewer Preset Builder lets you create layouts, and he seems to have worked out all the field names and most of the options. I use his page to track down field names and options, which I then cut and paste into Notepad. It’s funny, but for all the importance I attach to scripting with DAM, it actually seems more professional to customize a program with nothing fancier than Notepad.