When you have a large number of images to work with, it can be quite time-consuming to have to browse through them. In part 2 of this series on Adobe Bridge, I’m taking a look at how to rank and sort files.

Ranking and sorting image files

Adobe Bridge has a star-ranking feature that you can use to group and sort image thumbnails. This gives you an alternative way to organize images in the thumbnail preview area. In this example, I’m using five stars to rank the best images, three stars for medium-quality images, and one star for rubbish. Star rankings are entirely up to yourself, it’s just a tool to help you sort through images you might be using for a project or a folder of photographs.

1. With Bridge open, make sure you have large, clear thumbnail previews, and then click to select one that’s of particularly good quality.

2. Click one of the dots that appear below the image thumbnail. When you click, the dot turns into a star. Click again on the fifth star to turn all five dots into stars.

3. Hold down Ctrl and click to Select a few more high-quality files.

4. Choose Label > ***** to apply the five-star ranking to all selected images at once.

5. Choose View > Sort > By Rating to rearrange the thumbnails so that the best images are grouped together. Toggle off View > Sort > Ascending Order to have the five-starred images appear at the top of the thumbnail preview area.

6. Continue to assign five-, three-, and one-star rankings to all the files in the folder, either by ranking them individually (as in Steps 1 and 2) or in multiples (as in Steps 3 and 4).

You can delete stars at any time by selecting the thumbnail, moving the cursor over the stars, and clicking the gray circle with a slash through it that appears to the left.
7. Choose View > Sort > By Rating again to arrange the files in reverse alphabetical order of their rankings.

In addition to sorting your view by star rankings, you can filter the view to see only those thumbnails of a specific ranking.

8. Choose Show 5 Stars from the Unfiltered pop-up menu to show thumbnails of only those thumbnails with a five-star ranking.

9. Choose Filtered > Show All Items so that you can see all of your image files.

This sort of ranking is easy to apply and easy to understand. It only takes a little bit of time to do but can be helpful when dealing with folders of images. I’ve used it in the past to show clients my recommendations for pictures for their projects. The important thing to remember is that Bridge deals not only with jpegs and gifs but Photoshop files, Illustrator files, EPS, Flash files, InDesign files and PDFs, and more, all of which can be ranked using this method.