How to Harness the Power of Your Scroll Wheel in Lightroom - Digital Photography School

How to Harness the Power of Your Scroll Wheel in Lightroom

Lightroom scroll wheel opener

In Lightroom, using the scroll wheel on your mouse has some distinct advantages over using other methods for adjusting sliders. It might take a little getting used to but when you see just what it can do you might be surprised.

Develop module and the Wheel

In the Lightroom Develop module you might have used the + and – keys to adjust sliders to fix your images. If you do this, whenever you pause to see how the change looks when applied to the image, Lightroom writes the change value in the history even if you’re not done. If you readjust the same slider a few times, each time you adjust it a new history entry is made.

Lightroom scroll wheel 1
By contrast, you can use the scroll wheel to adjust the slider. Begin by clicking on the pin on the slider and then rolling the scroll wheel up to drag it to the right or down to drag it to the left. Not until you let go and go to the next tool will the change be written to the History. This means that you can experiment with different values rolling your mouse wheel left and right as you please – and until you move away from that control nothing is recorded. Your history list will be a whole lot neater and you have a much easier way to adjust the sliders.

Lightroom scroll wheel 2

Spot removal and the wheel

When you have the Spot Removal Tool, Red Eye Tool or the Adjustment Brush Tool selected you can size the brush to the desired size using the mouse scroll wheel.

To see this at work click any of these three tools to target it and then hold your mouse over the image. Roll with the scroll wheel to adjust the brush size. If you have the Adjustment Brush targeted then hold the Shift key as you roll with the scroll wheel to adjust the feathering on the brush.

Lightroom scroll wheel 3

Move with the Wheel

If you’re have used the Zoom feature to zoom into the image then rolling the mouse scroll wheel will move the zoomed image up or down in the work area. To scroll to the left or right use the Shift key with the mouse wheel.

Lightroom scroll wheel 4

A caveat…

It seems that some Mac users have experienced difficulty with the scroll wheel on various machines so your mileage with this technique may vary. On a Windows 7 machine, with Lightroom 4 and a standard two button mouse with a scroll wheel, everything worked as explained and it’s a whole lot easier than dragging sliders around to make your changes.

Thanks to Frank Schophuizen for his gracious contribution to this post.

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Helen Bradley is a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at Projectwoman.com.

  • http://www.clickudos.com/ rohit kothari

    yes its the same technique i am using from 3 year its kinda handy i feel scroll wheel is more easier than right click and dragging mouse to desire position

  • http://cbparkerphoto.com Carol Parker

    Sounds wonderful – sadly I have a MacBook Pro Retina Display 15″ running Lion, and a standard Logitech 2 button mouse with scroll wheel. None of the described scrolling actions work at all. Bummer!

  • Charlene

    I am just learning Lightroom and have been finding online resources to teach me. This was one more great tip that will help me. I noticed the history building and it was driving me crazy. This really was a great tip. Thanks so much.

  • http://sdc-photography.blogspot.in/ Soumyadeep

    Sounds interesting … and truly speaking I was expecting such a feature. But does it works with windows 7 and LR4. Looks like its not working there.
    Is there any setting inside LR which I need to change to make it work.

Some older comments

  • Soumyadeep

    September 18, 2012 05:09 pm

    Sounds interesting ... and truly speaking I was expecting such a feature. But does it works with windows 7 and LR4. Looks like its not working there.
    Is there any setting inside LR which I need to change to make it work.

  • Charlene

    August 17, 2012 06:33 am

    I am just learning Lightroom and have been finding online resources to teach me. This was one more great tip that will help me. I noticed the history building and it was driving me crazy. This really was a great tip. Thanks so much.

  • Carol Parker

    August 16, 2012 02:27 pm

    Sounds wonderful - sadly I have a MacBook Pro Retina Display 15" running Lion, and a standard Logitech 2 button mouse with scroll wheel. None of the described scrolling actions work at all. Bummer!

  • rohit kothari

    August 16, 2012 06:21 am

    yes its the same technique i am using from 3 year its kinda handy i feel scroll wheel is more easier than right click and dragging mouse to desire position

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