Lightroom is a fast, lightweight application that can run quickly on not-so-fast computers. But if you find Lightroom to be running slowly, there are several ways you can improve its performance:

1. Keep ample free space on the hard drive that holds the Lightroom database and preview files. This is true for all photo-editing and imaging applications – you don’t want to be working off a drive with limited free space.

2. Apply as much metadata as possible during Import – your standard metadata template, keywords and your default Develop settings should all be applied as Lightroom brings the file into the database.

3. Take control over your previews – Lightroom maintains three separate previews for each image: thumbnail, standard size, and 1:1. Lightroom will generate any previews it needs on-the-fly, sometimes this means you’ll see a slowdown. Alternatively, you can have LR render the previews whenever you choose. If Lightroom already has all the necessary previews rendered, moving between images is very snappy.

a. For starters, don’t bother rendering standard previews on Import, it’s too slow. Render your standard previews after import for entire folders at once, using the Library > Previews > Render Previews command.

b. Also – in File > Catalog Settings, you can set the size of your standard preview, based on your screen size and how fast you want the preview redrawing to be. No reason to use larger standard previews that what your display is showing.

c. If you haven’f already rendered 1:1 previews (1 image pixel to 1 screen pixel), selecting any zoom ratio over 1:1 will have to be rendered. This takes the longest of all the preview renderings. If you’re taking a break from editing, you may want to select a group of images and build the 1:1 preview for them.

4. Optimize your database periodically – also under File > Catalog Settings. If you have a large catalog with tens of thousands of images in it, periodically Optimizing the datbase will make things run faster.

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