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Tutorial - How to Sort a Lightroom Keyword List

Tab-Indented List Sorting for Beginners
Here is an image showing a list of colors in the most basic of list formats, where each word is separated by carriage-return/line-feed. I am displaying this list in PSPad, and will use that program for the following examples, though most text-editors would work equally as well.
(Do you recognize the order that those colors are in? See below for the answer).

Opening a tab-indented list for sorting

To sort the basic list above, click 'Edit > Select All', or Control + A, then click 'Edit > Sort' which will open the Sort window as shown in the next image.

Chossing sort-options for a tab-indented list

There are various options available, but this time we will just choose the basic default selection, as shown. Click OK, and the list will be sorted into Alphabetical Order, as shown in the next image.

A tab-indented list sorted in alphabetical order

This is all very straight-forward, and easy enough to understand, but when it comes to sorting a tab-indented keyword list, such as the keyword list that is imported to or exported from Lightroom, Breeze Browser, Photo Mechanic, and other photo-processing programs, things get a bit more complicated. The next image below shows an example of the tab-indented format that these programs use and produce. (For in-depth information to the tab-indented format, see my Photo Keyword List Format page.) PSPad and many other text editors come with basic sort capabilities and can sort a simple list very well as we have seen, but if you wish to sort a range of keywords that are stored in a tab-indented hierarchical list, as is shown in the example below, we need extra tools.

Sorting a range of keywords in a tab-indented list

So how do you sort a big list containing multiple sections in one go, and how do you sort the parent categories that contain them? The obvious answer is to sort each section separately by first selecting each section and sorting as above, then re-arranging the parents by copying from one window to another, but this is a tedious task and can take a very long time. There are commercial software packages available, usually linked to popular spreadsheets, that will sort a tab-indented list but they don't do error-checking, and they don't keep synonmys, recognised by their curly brackets, adjacent to their parent word. When I started to research the problem, I soon discovered that there was nothing specifically designed for keyword lists and the unique features they contain, so I set about writing a suitable tool of my own. It is designed to run on all recent Windows computers, has a lot of amazing features specific to tab-indented lists, and its called Tab-List Tools.

Advanced Keyword List Sorting

A text-editor is fine to start with, but what happens if you want to sort a large list with tens of thousands of lines, and also spot errors, identify duplicates, search and replace, visualize the list, and do other functions as well? Surprisingly, there are remarkably few programs designed to work with tab-indented lists. I used to create my own tools to build my own lists, as there was nothing else that did what I needed. Eventually I put all of those tools together, added a raft of new features, and now sell the program from this website - see my Tab-List Tools page.

Answering the Question

Did you recognize the order that those colors were in? I would have expected any electronic engineers or radio technicians to know the answer straight away, as these colors are in the order of the Resistor Color Code

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