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////Saving Your Lightroom Slideshow – And How You Still Could Lose Your Work

Saving Your Lightroom Slideshow – And How You Still Could Lose Your Work

You have pulled together your photos and designed the slideshow using the Slideshow module, and it looks fabulous!  Short of exporting it to a PDF or MP4 movie, how do you save it so you can be sure it will be there any time you visit the Slideshow module, and so you can continue to revise it?

Saving a template will save your design or layout, but it does not store the photos with it.  Creating a collection in the Library module stores a group of photos, but not the slideshow design.  The solution to storing the design with the photos is to create a special kind of collection, only available to you in the Slideshow module.

  • In the filmstrip, select all the photos you want included.  (Ctl/Cmd-A will select All.)
  • Click on the + to the right of Collections (left hand panel below the Template Browser), and choose Create Slideshow.
  • Give it a name, and if you have a Collection Set to put it in, choose it.  (A Collection Set is just a folder to store collections in so that your collections panel is more neatly organized. You can click on the + to the right of Collections to create one.)
  • Check Include Selected Photos.
  • I generally do not make new virtual copies for my slideshows — I want my slideshows to include the main copy of my photos.  This way, (a) I won’t have tons of virtual copies out there, and (b) if I work on the main image in the Develop module, the slideshow automatically includes the work.
  • Hit Create.slideshow collection lightroom

You will see a new collection in the Collections panel, with a special symbol indicating that it is a Slideshow collection.



Ok, so I have told you how to do this, and now I am going to tell you that I often don’t teach beginning students  this functionality. Why? Because if you are not clear on how it works and careful in using it, you will lose your work.  So NOTE WELL:

After you create the slideshow collection, any further work to the slideshow design will be saved to this collection without any instruction from you to do so.  As long as you have the slideshow collection highlighted as you work, it is being updated.

What’s the potential pitfall with this?  You are happy with your slideshow, you save it, then you decide to experiment some more, and don’t realize that Lightroom is overwriting what you were happy with.  If you realize it right away, you can do Ctl/Cmd-Z as many times as you need to in order to undo your experimentation, but if you have closed the program or gone off to do other Lightroom work, there is no way to get back to what you were happy with.

Here’s how to use this functionality successfully:
  • When you are happy with your slideshow, create the Slideshow collection.
  • If you want to experiment more, make sure this collection is highlighted, and then click on the + next to Collections again and create a new Slideshow collection to continue experimenting with.  This one will start off with your settings from the last one.
  • You can delete old versions by right-clicking on them and choosing Delete.
What’s the alternative if you think you might forget to create a new Slideshow collection before experimenting more?
  • Create a Template with your design (+ to the right of Template Browser).
  • Create a regular collection in the Library module with your photos.
  • Next time you want to get back to your photos with the design, choose your collection and then click on your template to apply the design.
  • If you further fine-tune the design, right-click on the template and choose Update with Current Settings. (Templates do not automatically update, as Slideshow collections do.)

Frankly, I use this template + collection alternative because it fits better with how I think about saving my work.

Similarly you will find Print collections in the Print module, and Web Gallery collections in the Web module.  These work the same way as Slideshow collections.

2017-07-03T19:01:17-07:00 December 14th, 2011|26 Comments


  1. Lisa June 25, 2014 at 11:30 am - Reply

    So I made a slideshow and then exported the video to a mp4. When I went back to my folder after making the video all of my edited photos were gone. Can I recover them?

    • Laura Shoe June 27, 2014 at 10:53 am - Reply

      Hi Lisa,

      I can’t think of a way that exporting a slideshow would have deleted your photos. If you have your folder selected in the Folders panel and the photos don’t show, I would suggest making sure you don’t have a filter active (click on None in the Library Filter bar above the grid.)

  2. Guillermo Navarro September 8, 2014 at 11:52 am - Reply

    I saved my slide show and I see it under collections, however the problem I’m having is that I had re-arranged the picts for the slide show and once I saved it, it went back to the original order (I guess by file name). Is there any way to save it and keep the order I created?

    • Laura Shoe September 23, 2014 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      Hi Guillermo,

      I thought I had answered this, so my apologies for the delay. The slideshow collection should maintain the order you arrange it in – in grid view, in the Toolbar, check the sort order – it should switch to Custom Order once you rearrange.

  3. mark cline May 8, 2015 at 2:38 pm - Reply


    I have the same problem as Guillermo. The slides re-ordered (apparently randomly; certainly not by date) in the exported file. Additionally, I get an error message after the export that several of the files weren’t found, though they all appear to be in the “pictures” folder of the exported file…


    • Laura Shoe June 3, 2015 at 3:46 pm - Reply

      If you are exporting files, Mark, (which is not discussed in this article) they will show up in Mac Finder or Windows Explorer sorted by file name. The “File Not Found” message appears when you have moved, renamed or deleted files outside of Lightroom.

  4. Dick Ryerson September 27, 2015 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Laura, I have made an Adobe slideshow on Lr 5 and exported it to my desktop and it works great. My problem is trying to send it over the internet as an email because my slideshow is 190 mg. The most I can send is 25 mg.
    Dick Ryerson

    • Laura Shoe October 1, 2015 at 11:11 am - Reply

      I see three options, Dick:

      (1) Choose a lower resolution video preset in the Export Video dialog.
      (2) Export a PDF instead (which won’t include any music)
      (3) Instead of email, using a file sharing service, such as Dropbox.

      • Dick Ryerson October 1, 2015 at 11:50 am - Reply

        thank you Laura . . . I will save all of your suggestions for next time . . . This time I made a CD disc and mailed them to everyone.

  5. Andi October 5, 2015 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura,

    Have you produced a LR Slideshow program on creating an opening and ending slide? And, on exporting options of a slideshow?

    • Laura Shoe October 6, 2015 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      Hi Andi,

      The Slideshow module, including the topics you mention, is covered extensively in my Producing Great Output series. I haven’t updated it for CC/6 yet, but you’ll find that it is still applicable. For the new features added in CC/6, there’s a Slideshow video in my free “Learn Lightroom 6 New Features” series.

  6. Bob Summerville September 21, 2016 at 7:20 pm - Reply


    I think I have followed your instructions assiduously in exporting slideshows. Your tutorials are VERY good. However, when played back from a DVD, there is a lot of shimmering during pan and zoom. I removed the pan/zoom and re-exported. The problem went away but the slideshow was not a ‘dynamic’ as the one with motion.

    Can you offer a solution?

    • Laura Shoe September 22, 2016 at 10:30 am - Reply

      I’m glad you have enjoyed my tutorials, Bob. I’m afraid I don’t have anything to add on your issue – I’d suggest posting on (after creating an account and signing in) – include a small video clip showing the issue.

  7. Darlene Knott October 24, 2016 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    I was playing with doing a slideshow and accidentally imported about 400 photos, most of which I did not want in the slideshow. How do I delete all and start all over again? I do not want to delete the photos permanently, just from the slideshow.

    • Laura Shoe October 31, 2016 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      Create a collection, Darlene, with just the photos you want in the slideshow.

      • Darlene October 31, 2016 at 4:21 pm - Reply

        Thanks, Laura. I did figure out how to get rid of all the photos that accidentally went in and created a slideshow with a limited number. But, in the end, I exported the photos (JPEG)to a folder on my desk and used iMovie to make a more interesting ‘movie’ that was easier to upload in Apple TV. I did 4 of these for each camp we stayed at in Africa to play for my friends so they could see what it was like! Turned out well! Thanks for answering!

        • Laura Shoe November 1, 2016 at 10:55 am - Reply

          I’m glad it turned out well, Darlene!

  8. Frank Uhlig October 31, 2016 at 10:13 am - Reply

    I have made a slideshow, it works great, but it is not a ‘saved slideshow’. I just forgot that part up front …

    How can I make a ‘saved slideshow’ out of an existed unsaved one?

    My workaround was to do so dumbly by saving it to another name on the collection list and deleting the unsaved one later.

    Is this necessary? Why?

    • Laura Shoe October 31, 2016 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      Go ahead and hit the Create Saved Slideshow button in the top right above the slideshow preview, Frank – it doesn’t matter when you do this.

      • Frank Uhlig October 31, 2016 at 12:59 pm - Reply

        But when I do just that, I have to give the same – now to be saved – slideshow another name …

        And then I can delete the old identical unsaved slideshow …

        I can hack this one, too, but I thought this might have happened so often to others that someone at LR knows a slicker move that would – for example- leave the old and perfect name intact. (And yes I can then rename the saved one to have the old good name, yes … BUT …)
        Sorry, Laura; and thanks!

        • Laura Shoe November 1, 2016 at 10:57 am - Reply

          I agree, Frank, that it would be handy to be able to save it as the existing collection. On the other hand, this would tag it specifically as a slideshow, and one might want to make a photo book, print, and web gallery with the same set of photos.

          • Darlene November 4, 2016 at 12:17 pm

            I am going to the Creative Cloud from Lightroom 5. How do I migrate my library etc.? Is the transition difficult? Do you have any videos on this?

          • Laura Shoe November 4, 2016 at 4:24 pm
          • Darlene Knott November 4, 2016 at 5:34 pm

            Thanks, Laura. Your videos have been so helpful.

  9. Michael Durbin April 29, 2017 at 11:47 am - Reply

    I disconnected my USB microphone and closed my PC (Windows 10) laptop before lunch and when I returned all the slides were gone from the slideshow. I had saved the show a few days ago but find no sign of it now. There are 10+ hours in the slideshow. Any way to recover the work? Did disconnecting the USB device do some mischief.
    Thanks much,
    Mike Durbin

    • Laura Shoe May 8, 2017 at 2:22 pm - Reply

      Sorry for the delay, Michael, but you can try reverting to a catalog backup – depending on how long ago you had backed up.

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