In its June 2020 update, Adobe added Versions to Lightroom CC on desktop and mobile. These enable you to keep different edited versions of the same image, but how do they work and how are Lightroom CC Versions different to Lightroom Classic Virtual Copies?
• Lightroom CC vs Lightroom Classic: how are they different?
Lightroom Versions are not Virtual Copies
Lightroom Versions vs Virtual Copies
Lightroom Versions are effectively Snapshots, but with thumbnails. When you work on an image Lightroom saves your full edit history, and Versions (Snapshots) are a way to ‘freeze’ images at a particular editing state and store these different versions within the image.
What Lightroom CC does is to assign these different Versions a thumbnail image, so you get a much more visual representation of your different image treatments.
The difference is that Lightroom does not display these Versions as separate images. With Virtual Copies in Lightroom Classic you get separate images which can be in different folders, different metadata and appear in different searches.
With Lightroom Versions you don’t get that. The Lightroom library will only display a single image regardless of how many Versions you have created within it. You can choose which one is used for the image thumbnail, but that’s it.
So Lightroom Versions are great for keeping different image states and processing variations, but they do not give you separate, searchable variations that are visible within your library.
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How to use Lightroom Versions
- Where to find Versions
The June 2020 Lightroom updated adds a ‘Versions’ button to the bottom right corner of the screen that becomes visible when you edit an image.
- The Versions panel
This button displays a vertical list of all your saved Versions, with the original image at the bottom. Whenever you want to save the current image state as a Version, click the Create Version button at the top.
- Managing versions
Versions are added chronologically. You can’t change the order of versions once you’ve created them, but you can remove versions you don’t want.
- Editing and new Versions
You can change the settings for a Version, but these changes will be lost if you then swap to a different version. To make these changes permanent, you must create a new Version straight away.
- Choosing an image thumbnail
You can’t get Lightroom to display all your Versions as separate images in your library, but you can choose which Version is used for the image thumbnail by clicking to select it.
- Exporting Versions
You can export any Version as a processed image by selecting and using the regular Lightroom Export command.