Are you thinking about moving from Lightroom Classic (i.e. the Lightroom program that has been around for 10 years) to the new cloud-based Lightroom (CC) Desktop program?  It’s great that with this new application we can access all of our photos anywhere (on mobile devices,, and on multiple computers running Lightroom CC), but the application does not have all features that Classic does, so you’ll want to think about what you absolutely need and what you don’t.

My intention is to keep this article up-to-date with what you can and can’t do in Lightroom (CC) Desktop that you can do in Lightroom Classic. Please help me keep this up-to-date – comment below with additions and corrections! (This article is currently updated through January 202.)

What you can do     

What you can’t do     


  • The Import dialog is very simple – select a source folder or device, then select all or a subset of the photos and videos in that source to import. Optionally, choose an album (collection) to assign the photos to as they are imported.

  • There are  functions to migrate your Lightroom Classic catalog and Apple Photos catalog into Lightroom CC.

  • Review photos in Loupe view prior to Import (grid view only)

  • Sort files in the Import dialog by file type or any other criterion except capture date

  • Apply a develop or metadata preset or keywords

  • Convert to DNG

  • Rename files

  • Make a Second Copy to (but files will be backed up to the cloud)

  • Assign a destination folder (The user does not manage files in LR CC. In Preferences you can choose whether to store a copy of all imported files on your computer rather than just in the cloud and specify the location for that.)

  • Import from Elements, iPhoto (though you can export from these programs and then import manually, or use Lightroom Classic to import from these and then migrate your Classic catalog to Lightroom CC.)

  • Tethered capture

  • Auto Import (from watched folder)


  • In Lightroom CC you can assign stars and pick and reject flags. You can work in grid view or in single-photo view (Edit, Information, or Keyword views).

  • Assign color labels

  • Survey view, Compare view

  • Auto advance to the next photo after rating or flagging

File Management

  • There are two grid (thumbnail) views that toggle with the shortcut G – Square and Photo. Square shows no photo information. Photo shows stars, flags and sync status.

  • You can’t change what information displays in the grid.

  • You can sort photos in the grid by capture date, filename, import date, modified date, star rating.

  • You can’t sort manually or by edit count, flag, aspect ratio, file type, or file extension.