How to Find Previously Imported Photos in Lightroom

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When it comes to staying efficient in Lightroom, there are several techniques and strategies that you need to implement. Knowing how to find previously imported photos in lightroom is one of them. Based on the complexity with which lightroom stores its data, learning how to do this quickly is essential.

How to Find Previously Imported Photos in Lightroom

There are several ways to locate your already imported images on lightroom, and these methods depend on the Lightroom version you’re using or the device you use to open the image. If you’re using a Mac or Windows, there are different ways of doing this.

Finding your imported images on Lightroom is pretty simple and can be done in several steps. Below is the step-by-step guide that discusses how you can easily find the photos you’ve previously installed on Lightroom.

An of a person editing images

Finding Your Previously Imported Photos on Lightroom From Your Computer

Accessing your previously imported images on Lightroom is not as complicated as it sounds, and you can easily locate your lightroom photos on your computer via the library module. However, this may vary depending on whether you use a Mac or a Windows computer.

We’ve included below the simplest method for finding your previously imported photographs based on your computer model. Here are the steps of what to do to locate your imported photos on Lightroom using your computer easily:

On a Windows computer:

  1. Load up Lightroom on your computer
  2. Navigate to the top of your lightroom windows and select the “Library” module
  3. Press the key G to switch to the grid view in the library module
  4. From the list of options in the library module, navigate to the “Catalog” panel and select it
  5. Then, go through the list of catalog options and choose the one titled “Previous Import,” which displays a list of images
  6. Right-click on any image from the list of images displayed to bring up a pop-up menu
  7. From the options displayed on the menu, select the one titled “Go to Folder in Library” to find out its location in the ‘Folder” panel
  8. The location displayed is where the imported images have been stored.

On a Mac computer: 

  1. Launch the Lightroom software on your Mac computer 
  2. Go to the top of the dashboard and choose the “Library” module or press CMD, Opt key, and one simultaneously
  3. On the Library module, select View and navigate to the “View options” button
  4.  Then click on the “Show Grid Extras” option or simply press G on your keyboard to bring up the grid view
  5. Navigate through the different “Library” module panels and select the “Catalog” panel, which displays a dialogue menu
  6. From this menu, click on the option called “Previous Import” to display all the images that have been previously imported to your lightroom account
  7.  Control-click on any image from the list of images displayed to display a pop-up menu
  8. On the menu, select the option called “Go to Folder in Library” to display the location of that imported image on the “Folder” panel
  9. When the next window is displayed, it shows the location of that image
An image of a person checking images on a laptop

How to Find the Missing File or Folder of Previously Imported Lightroom Photos

After importing a set of images on lightroom from your external hard drive or phone, you might not find any of the parent files or folder of your newly imported images. While this seems like bad news, the silver lining is that your images are not completely lost.

When you import your images on Lightroom, moving your files or renaming them is important. However, doing this on Mac finder or Windows explorer on your computer can affect the arrangement of your files, thus, labeling some of them as “missing.”

When this happens, a question mark is displayed on your missing folder or an exclamation mark on your missing image to indicate that the link or order of your files has been broken somewhere. You can easily locate the missing photo file or folder using the steps below:

Finding a Missing Lightroom Photo Folder on Your Computer

Finding a displaced folder of previously imported images on lightroom is not as complicated as it sounds. Depending on the type of computer that you use, there are different ways of approaching this. Here’s a detailed guide on how to do this without any hassle.

On a Mac:

  1. Open Lightroom on your Mac Computer
  2. Navigate to the library module at the top of your screen and select it
  3. Click on the “Folder” panel from the library module to display a set of previously imported folders on lightroom
  4. Scroll through the folders and locate the missing folder(i.e., the folder with a question mark displayed on it)
  5. Then, control-click on the missing folder, which brings up a pop-up menu
  6. From the menu, select the option “Find Missing Folder,” which displays a finder menu to locate the folder
  7. When the search is over, the location and data about that folder will be displayed

On a Windows:

  1. Load Up Lightroom on your Windows Computer
  2. Go to the Library module by clicking on Control+Alt+1 simultaneously, or you can find it at the top of your lightroom dashboard
  3. Navigate to the “Folder” panel from the library module and click on it to display your imported lightroom photos
  4. Search for the missing folder from this set of folders; in this case, that is the folder with a question mark.
  5. Right-click on the missing folder to display a dialogue menu
  6. Scan through the menu and select the button titled “Find Missing Folder,” which begins searching for the folder’s location on your computer
  7. When the search is over, it displays the location of that photo folder alongside other data for this folder.
An image of a person using her laptop

Finding the Missing File for a Previously Imported Image on Lightroom

When a certain file for an image is missing on lightroom, an exclamation mark is displayed on it to indicate this. However, finding this particular photo file is quite simple and can be done in several steps. Here’s what you need to do when this happens:

  1. Open Lightroom on your computer 
  2. Then navigate to the Library module and locate the file(i.e. the file with an exclamation mark on it)
  3. Click on the exclamation mark at the top right corner of the image preview, which displays a pop-up menu showing the last recorded location of this image on your computer
  4. From this menu, click on the option titled “Locate” displaying a new browser window
  5. On the resulting window, check the mark titled “Find nearby missing photos” to locate other missing files that share the same folder location as this file
  6. If this doesn’t give the exact image location, insert the file name in the browser window’s search box to scan your computer for the image.

Why Should You Know How to Find Previously Imported Photos in Lightroom

If your lightroom files are not imported accordingly, things can get quite messy when you need to use these files on Lightroom. Knowing how to find your already imported images on lightroom will save you countless hours of trial and error trying to figure out how to do this.

Also, when you understand how to find your missing imports easily, you won’t need to waste time calling Adobe support before fixing this issue on your own. Besides, doing this yourself enables you to find other essential files and data hidden deep within lightroom. 


Knowing how to find imported photos on lightroom is a game changer as this allows you to organize your photo files and folders or any other essential data. Depending on your computer type, you can employ any of the several methods above to achieve this.