Lightroom 5 has brought a surge of reports from users that one or more of their panels have gone missing – most often the Basic panel (white balance, exposure and other tone adjustments, clarity, saturation and vibrance). Now that I have switched to a Mac, I finally understand why this surge is occurring – there’s a bug affecting Mac users.
By design, you can right-click on almost any panel header, and then select a panel in that strip to hide it:
However, with Lightroom 5 on Macs, right-clicking anywhere in a panel brings up this dialog. I encountered this when using my touchpad, where I have set my preferences to use a double-tap to signify right-clicking. I was adjusting exposure on a photo, and my Basic panel disappeared before my eyes. It turns out that rather than tapping (left clicking) and sliding Exposure, I accidentally double-tapped (right clicked) on the slider, bringing up the above menu, with Basic selected. I raised my finger off the touchpad, and my panel disappeared! It all happened so fast that I really didn’t even see the dialog.
Adobe has confirmed that this is a bug, and it’s on the list to be fixed. In the meantime, be careful not to double-tap / right-click when working with the sliders, and if your panel goes missing, double-tap / right-click again and choose the panel you accidentally hid. Note that this bug only happens with the righthand strip of panels.
If you’re a Windows user (or a Mac user of an older version of Lightroom) and your panels are disappearing, you are most likely accidentally right-clicking on the panel header. If you think there’s something else going on, leave a comment below.
Related article and video: When Panels, Tools, Modules and More Go Missing in Lightroom