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Lightroom Quick Tip: Finding Your Missing Panel

Restore Lightroom Missing PanelAbout once a week I get an email from a Lightroom user who has lost a panel … most panels can go missing, but in my experience people seem to lose their Catalog panel in the Library module more than any other. To recover your missing panel, right-click (Ctl-click on a Mac) on the name of an existing panel in the same strip, and choose the panel you are missing, from the drop-down that appears.

In this example, my Catalog panel is missing. I right-clicked on Folders to get the menu. I would then select Catalog, and the panel would appear.


Note that there are some panels that are not optional, and therefore you cannot right-click on them to restore your missing one. These are:

  • Navigator and Histogram in Library and Develop
  • Navigator in Map
  • Preview in Book, Slideshow, Print and Web

In this menu that appears that you can also choose:

  • Show or Hide All. (If you’re not sure what you are missing Show All would be a good choice to make sure you have everything.)
  • Solo Mode: when enabled, if you expand one panel, any others open will collapse.
  • Expand All and Collapse All

Thank you to Stephano B. for this blog post idea.

2017-06-28T20:36:07-07:00 December 3rd, 2012|71 Comments


  1. Jason December 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    Great tip here Laura, thanks for the reminder. On a related customization note – have you noticed a size that works best for customized identity plate setup? I have tried 180px by 40 px and it seems to work fairly well, but still just a smidge off. Maybe it’s my inset from the left border, or from the top/bottom. Suggestions, ideas, etc.?

  2. Tania December 15, 2012 at 11:50 am - Reply

    THANK YOU!!! I have been pulling my hair out after upgrading to Lightroom 4.3 … and now, you have made my day …. PHEWF!!


    • Laura Shoe December 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome, Tania!

  3. Brian August 21, 2013 at 7:58 am - Reply

    Hi Laura

    My basic panel in the develop module of lightroom5 is missing. This has happened ones, and I could get it back. Now I have tried every thing. Right clicking, ctrl on Mac, every thing. Noting works

    • Laura Shoe August 24, 2013 at 10:39 am - Reply

      Hi Brian, right-click on another panel name and select the Basic Panel to show it.

  4. Natashalh August 22, 2013 at 7:28 am - Reply

    I just ‘lost’ one of my panels and spent like 45 minutes searching before I found your post. Now it’s back! Thank you so much!!

  5. Rena August 29, 2013 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    I have lost my sliders under the Tone Curve panel. How do I get them back?

    • Laura Shoe September 6, 2013 at 3:41 pm - Reply

      Rena, there is a little square symbol – a line with a dot on it – in the bottom right corner of the Tone Curve panel. Click on it to get your sliders back.

  6. Shirley September 11, 2013 at 10:51 am - Reply

    HI! I was in develop and my ext. hard drive disconnected and I lost panels on both sides while in Develop–I have right clicked, looked under every drop down me please! Thanks!

    • Shirley September 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      I FOUND IT!!!

  7. pat s November 23, 2013 at 5:42 am - Reply

    Basic panel missing. I’ve tried control/click on each existing panel and I don’t get the drop down menu you talk about. Any suggestions? (P.S. The Basic panel was showing for a couple weeks after moving to LR 5 but then it just disappeared last week.) Thanks. Pat

    • Laura Shoe November 27, 2013 at 10:24 am - Reply

      Pat, my guess then is that you aren’t in the Develop module … or, right-click if you’re not working with a Mac mouse … or, be sure to ctl-click on another panel name in the same right-side strip.

  8. Kelley January 30, 2014 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Hi Laura,
    I’m in Lightroom Develop and I lost the histogram panel. How do I bring this back?
    Thank you.

    • Laura Shoe February 13, 2014 at 5:43 pm - Reply

      Right-click on another panel name in the same strip and choose it, Kelley.

  9. Keith May 3, 2014 at 8:43 am - Reply

    Missing my folders panel in the develop module. Have tried right clicking on Mac but only have 4 panel options.. Presets, Snapshots, History & and Collections. Other options such as: Show all, Hide all and Solo mode are available. Problem started when I started syncing collections with Lightroom Mobile.

    • Laura Shoe May 4, 2014 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      Hi Keith,

      The Folders panel is only available in the Library module.

  10. Kate June 1, 2014 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Wow, thanks Laura for this really quick fix!

  11. terri watson June 8, 2014 at 5:11 am - Reply

    whew, a few anxious moments and then Laura Shoe to the rescue! Thanks for your wonderful tips and all of your knowledge! Library module gone missing, now found!

    Thanks Much!

    • Laura Shoe June 11, 2014 at 12:11 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome, Terri!

  12. Cindy June 9, 2014 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    I had the same problem with my basic panel disappearing. While in the develop module, I clicked on windows (I have a Mac) at the very top (outside of LR) and then clicked on panels which listed all the panels. I then clicked on Basic as it was not checked off. Hope this helps.

    • Nicole July 10, 2014 at 7:44 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Cindy! This is the only instruction that helped me get my basic panel back! 🙂

  13. Doug Comer September 7, 2014 at 8:44 am - Reply

    When using my Lightroom 5 software, I’ve lost the option for selection “Local presets” and really need the presets in this file for working on a portrait for addressing lips, teeth, eyes, etc..

    How can I get the Local preset tab to come back again ?

    • Doug Comer September 7, 2014 at 8:45 am - Reply

      Ok, thank YOU !

    • Laura Shoe October 6, 2014 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure where you mean, Doug. If in the adjustment brush, are the individual presets missing? If so, click on the dropdown and choose Restore Default presets.

  14. si knight October 10, 2014 at 7:42 am - Reply

    i lost my basic panel but found it after reading yr post – thanks! It was so frustrating – lol

  15. Patrizio October 29, 2014 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura,
    thanks for your work, it’ really interesting and complete.
    I have an issue with Map module. Since almost a week, I’m no longer able to see a complete map in map model. It takes a huge amount of time to upload map.
    Does it depend on google or network issue?
    It is really frustrating …
    Thank sin advance and best regards,


    • Laura Shoe November 3, 2014 at 10:44 am - Reply

      Hi Patrizio,

      Yes, it depends on your internet connection and Google. I don’t think it’s a Lightroom issue, but you can post on for further troubleshooting.

      • Laura Shoe November 3, 2014 at 2:22 pm - Reply

        Whoops, I take that back, Patrizio – it may be a bug with Lightroom and Yosemite.

        • Patrizio November 3, 2014 at 2:41 pm - Reply

          Hi Laura!
          thaks for replying, first… TP be honest I’m quite worried about some several issues on Yosemite and various appliations, I’ve already called Apple support in order to solve it, there are several problems at th moment. I hope they’re going to release some new version of Yosemite…
          Kind regards

  16. David Clarke December 20, 2014 at 2:22 am - Reply

    Many thanks, Laura, I’ve recovered the catalog after scratching my head for ages.
    Sawadee from Thailand

  17. Brian Moore January 7, 2015 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura,

    I let someone use my computer and they accidentally removed my Quick Develop Panels in the Library setting. I’ve tried updating the system, double clicking all over the section and looking through online manuals to fix the problem and nothing has worked. Any ideas?


    • Laura Shoe January 17, 2015 at 8:58 am - Reply

      Right-click on another panel header, like Keywording, and choose Quick Develop, Brian.

  18. Lisa Johnston January 17, 2015 at 10:43 am - Reply

    My Basic Panel is missing in my Lightroom 5. I tried to ctrl right click on my mac one of the other panels to get a drop down window to add the Basic Panel back in, but I’m not getting the drop down window at all. What am I doing wrong?

    • Laura Shoe January 29, 2015 at 10:27 am - Reply

      Sorry I missed this, Lisa, but try just Ctl-click or right click, not both. Do so on the Tone Curve panel header (panel name).

  19. Robyn February 28, 2015 at 3:01 am - Reply

    Thanks so much! Not sure how it happened- but you helped me fix it!!

  20. Roxanna March 9, 2015 at 6:07 am - Reply

    I can go into develop and all my regular settings are there to the left so I can use my quick settings. But ALL the panels that sat to the right (histog, basic, etc) are MIISSING! Theres nothing there at all!

    • Laura Shoe April 15, 2015 at 3:08 pm - Reply

      I assume you have found it by now, Roxana, but for others, if you don’t see your left or right panels at all, click on the very edge of the Lightroom screen – you’ll see a sideways triangle there that you can also click on, to expand a hidden panel strip.

  21. z April 2, 2015 at 11:44 am - Reply

    thank you!! Very helpful!!!

  22. SFav April 13, 2015 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    I got back the catalog setting but it has all my photos. I had them broken down into months and still can’t find that. Where did they go?

    • Laura Shoe April 15, 2015 at 2:54 pm - Reply

      It sounds like you are missing your Folders panel, SFav. If so, right click on your Catalog panel and choose Folders. If you have your folders panel, it is probably collapsed – click on your hard drive to expand this, then click on the sideways triangles to the left of individual folders to expand them.

  23. Jim July 8, 2015 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Right clicking in the preset panel (of LR 4) to add a new folder is not working.

  24. lisa July 12, 2015 at 8:33 pm - Reply


    For some surprising reason all of my columns disappeared except for the histogram. I am unsure what to click on in the developing mode. I would appreciate any help. Thank you.

    • Laura Shoe July 17, 2015 at 12:38 pm - Reply

      Hi Lisa,

      Tab will collapse or expand the left and right hand columns.

  25. Sun July 24, 2015 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    Hello Laura,

    I accidentally hit some button and when I scroll my mouse to the pictures icon below, the circle thing on the top right corner of the icon that when you click it turn the picture into quick collection disappear. Do you have any idea how I can retrieve that back?

    • Laura Shoe July 29, 2015 at 12:51 pm - Reply

      You probably hit the J key, Sun, which takes the thumbnails into collapsed view. Hit it once or twice more. If this isn’t it, you can go into Preferences (Edit>Pref on a PC, Lightroom>Pref on a Mac), and on the Interface tab, make sure the checkbox to show quick collection markers is checked.

  26. Carol September 15, 2015 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    I can’t find the metadata panel at the top in Library Mode i.e. text, stars etc.

    • Laura Shoe October 1, 2015 at 11:28 am - Reply

      If you’re in grid view (G), Carol, and you don’t see it, type \, or go to View>Show Filter Bar.

  27. Pallavi October 11, 2015 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura,

    I am just starting out with Lightroom 5.6. I have never used LR before. In the import module, on the right hand side i am missing the destination drop down menu. Can you please help me find that? Cant find it by right clicking…its not showing up as an option that i can choose…

    • Laura Shoe October 19, 2015 at 10:58 am - Reply

      You’ll only see that, Pallavi, when you choose Copy (or Move) in the top center, to copy from one place to another, such as from your memory card to somewhere on your hard drive When you choose Add, which is appropriate for files already on your hard drive, you won’t see it, as there’s no need to specify a different location for your files.

  28. Alecia November 3, 2015 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Hi Laura,

    When I use my adjustment brush to adjust a certain part of my image it works perfectly, but when I see that I have missed a spot and want to go back to fix that error, I click my adjustment brush to do so but the white circle doesn’t show up for me to click and proceed with my editing. It was working perfectly yesterday and now today it’s decided to do this, help!

    Thank you.

    • Laura Shoe November 5, 2015 at 4:28 pm - Reply

      Hi Alecia,

      Type “H” to unhide your pins.

  29. Peter December 15, 2015 at 11:17 am - Reply

    Thanks! This helped a lot!!!

  30. maria January 18, 2016 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    In the library module, I only have the navigator tab on my left hand panel. I cannot see, folders, catalog, nor collection, or any other one besides Navigator. i cannot there fore right cask on any other to retrieve my missing ones. How can I retrieve them?


    • Laura Shoe January 26, 2016 at 10:23 am - Reply

      I would suggest resetting your preferences, Maria. If you have CC/6, hold down the Alt/Opt and Shift keys as you open Lightroom, to get the Reset Preferences dialog. If you have 5, you’ll have to go delete your preference file – google “Lightroom 5 preference file location”. After resetting or deleting preferences, you’ll need to go into Edit/Lightroom>Preferences and change any that you don’t want to be at their defaults.

  31. Angela April 4, 2016 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    HELP:) I was trying to import a preset, clicked on the preset file in lightroom and tried to double click to bring up the import, but it brought up another box that said presset, and several other options.
    my mouse pad is acting up and I think I hit whatever that preset option was and now I have no presets or even the preset tab when in develop??
    Help!!! Need sugestions asap! Thank you all so much!

    • Laura Shoe April 5, 2016 at 12:55 pm - Reply

      Right click on the Collections panel name in the Develop module and choose Presets, Angela.

  32. Roger Wells June 30, 2016 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Laura, I have been putting photos into collections sets. Today when I open L.R., I find 2 problems. 1. Some (not all) of my folders show missing photos with the “?”mark, while other folders display the photos. 2. None of my collection sets appear in the Collectons Panel. When I right click (PC) I see the “collections” checked along with an “*” behind the wording collections. What happended and how to I retrieve my collections. I think I know how to find the missing photos.

    • Laura Shoe July 2, 2016 at 12:32 pm - Reply

      It sounds like you’re not in the right catalog, Roger – go to File>Open Recent and see if there’s another listed.

  33. Jerry July 16, 2016 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura,

    Thank you for the concise explanations. My folder was missing in the left panel in Lightroom 5 and I was able to bring it by watching your video.

    I now have the “+” symbol next to my folder but lost the”-” symbol and unable to delete my some of my picture files. Where did it go?

    Thank You, Laura.


    • Laura Shoe July 19, 2016 at 2:38 pm - Reply

      I don’t know, Jerry, but you can right-click on a folder and choose Remove. This won’t delete it though, it will just remove it from Lightroom (as the “-” button also would).

  34. Cathleen Long September 11, 2016 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    What if I am missing things inside a panel. My develop panel is missing some of the sliders. How do I get these back?

  35. Tammy L February 10, 2017 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    I have lost the initial “Import dialogue” box that used to pop up when selecting the Import Files and Video option from the File drop down menu in Lightroom 4. That dialogue box gave me the option to both apply a custom name to my files and select a final destination for my files. Without this dialogue box, the files now automatically go straight into Library with a generic file name. It takes a while for the files to be imported into Library. I then have to export those files into Bridge. Thankfully, I can rename the files then, but I then have to wait just as long for the files to be exported into Bridge. How do I recover the Import Dialogue box so I can same myself a step – and time?

    • Laura Shoe February 13, 2017 at 10:55 am - Reply

      Hi Tammy,

      I have not heard of the Import dialog completely disappearing. There is a collapsed view that you may be experiencing – if so, click on the triangle in the bottom right of the dialog to expand it. For those files that you imported without being able to rename them, there’s no need to export them to Bridge. In Library in Lightroom, select them, and then go up to Library in the menu bar, Rename Photos…

  36. Kelli Thompson April 24, 2017 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    In the Develop mode on my desktop, there is a lightroom color presets under the presets tab. Under the same sequence in LR on my Surface Pro, the Lightroom Color Presets is missing. I have tried right clicking on one of the existing presets, and the only options are new folder and import. I have right clicked on collections and removed then added back presets, but the Lightroom Color Presets is still missing. Any ideas?

    • Laura Shoe April 25, 2017 at 2:50 pm - Reply

      Update to 6.10 / CC 2015.10, Kelli – it’s a bug.

      • Kelli Thompson April 26, 2017 at 6:42 am - Reply

        I updated lightroom and the color presets reappeared on my Surface Pro, if that helps anyone.

  37. Colin Melhuish August 30, 2017 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Thank you so much, I have spent so much time trying to find out how to find the missing “Folders” heading in the library left hand panel.You solved it in seconds. Was in a bad mood over it, made my day with the advice. Thanks again , your a star.

    • Laura Shoe September 2, 2017 at 1:55 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome, Colin!

  38. Betty September 9, 2017 at 3:22 am - Reply

    Have only just discovered your site. Perhaps you can help me. When I try to use Lightroom 4 on my MacBook Pro, in the import area not all the options open up on my right panel. Only File Handling and Apply during import. Don’t have any idea how to get them. If I use my Mac they appear.

    • Laura Shoe September 9, 2017 at 4:38 pm - Reply

      Welcome, Betty! Either you have chosen Add in the top center, to add the photos to the catalog but leave them where they are on your hard drive, in which case those options are not available, or your panels are hidden. If they are hidden, right-click on another panel name on that side (such as File Handling) and choose them.

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