The Toolbar, a simple tap of the "T" key can giveth or taketh away a LOT of Lightroom power. From the toolbar you can change your View Mode, start a Slideshow, Rank images, Sort images, change Thumbnail Size, Pick or Reject an image, Label images, Rotate images, Navigate and access the Painter tool and all the options that has!!
It is absolutely packed with useful items... and I almost never use it. Why not? Because nearly all the options available in the Toolbar are also available via Keyboard Shortcuts. And keyboard shortcuts can save you a ton of time! (Also, you already knew that because I shared a list of keyboard shortcuts not long ago and strongly advised you to review and learn them, which naturally you did 😀). Plus, the Toolbar, though thin, takes up valuable screen space. And if you ever use Lightroom on a laptop then you know how valuable that screen space is.
One option in the Toolbar has no keyboard shortcut and mysteriously another tool is ONLY available in the Toolbar. The Sort option allows you sort your images through a variety of criteria(which you can see in the nearby image) and while it has no keyboard shortcut it can also be accessed through the View Menu. And that brings us to the Painter tool, which has MANY uses and a keyboard shortcut of cmd/ctrl + option/alt + K and is ONLY available in the Toolbar. It is quite difficult to use when you don't have the Toolbar visible as you can't select the different options for the Painter Tool without the Toolbar. If you ask me this is an oversight on Adobes part as the Painter tool can do LOTS of different things from flagging an image to rotating an image to adding it to a collection. It is one of the more versatile tools in the entire program and it's almost like Adobe doesn't want us to realize that. Anyway, we'll move on before I get upset over the Painter tool and you guys start think I'm some kind of nerd or something 🤓.
So what are the other options and what are their shortcuts? I'm glad you asked! We'll move left to right down the Toolbar and go through the options and the shortcuts.
At the far left of the Toolbar are your Viewing Modes. Grid View (G), Loupe View (E), Compare View (C), Survey View (N) and People View (O). Grid View shows you your thumbnails in a..... Grid. Loupe View will bring up one image for you to view. Compare view shows two images side by side (Select image and Candidate image) with the ability to swap the two images and navigate through different Candidate images until you find your preferred Select image. Survey View allows you to select and view multiple images at a time and discard the images that you don't like via an "x" in the lower right hand corner of the image. Finally there is People View which will bring up all the images in which you have people tagged (I never use this option as there are never people in my images).
To the right of the Viewing Modes are the Painter Tool and Sort Options which we already covered. So, we will move on the labeling section of the Toolbar. That starts with the Flags - Pick and Reject. The keyboard shortcuts for those are "P" for Pick and "X" for Reject and you can use the "U" key to Unflag an image. To the right of the Flags are the Star Ratings with which you can rate your images from 1 Star, by tapping the "1" key on your keyboard, all the way up to 5 Stars, by tapping the "5" key on your keyboard. You can remove the star rating by tapping the "0" (zero) key. You can also use the closed bracket key " ] "to increase a star rating or the open bracket key " [ " to decrease a star rating. Finishing up the labeling section of the Toolbar are the Color Labels, Red (6), Yellow (7), Green (8), Blue (9) and Purple which has no keyboard shortcut. Each of the labeling methods are useful by themselves but I have found that using them with one another make them even more powerful and help your workflow to an even greater degree.
Continuing on down the line, we find the Rotate, Navigate and Slideshow options. The shortcut to rotate counter clockwise is Command + [ or Control + [ on a PC and to rotate clockwise you can use the shortcut Command + ] on a Mac or Control + ] on a PC. To use the Navigation shortcuts simply use the right arrow key to advance to the next image and the left arrow key to move to the previous image. If you would like to view images as an Impromptu Slideshow (nothing to do with the Slideshow Module) you can make a selection of images and tap the Slideshow button or use the keyboard shortcut Command (or Control on a PC) + return.
And now we'll finish up with the odds and ends of the Toolbar. Different items will appear on Toolbar when in Grid View (G) versus when you are in Loupe View (E). For example the Painter tool is gone when you are in Loupe View. Also, while in Loupe View you have a Zoom Slider and an option to show a grid overlay and a slider that corresponds with that. There is also a "Draw Face Region" option while in Loupe View that is not present while in Grid View mode. While in Grid View Mode you can also use a slider to change the size of your thumbnails or you could just use the " = " key to make larger thumbnails and the " - " key to create smaller thumbnail views. And of course Lightroom allows you to select which items appear on the Toolbar!
Ok there ya have it! Everything you wanted to know about the Toolbar. Now go out and study those keyboard shortcuts (PDF Here) so you don't have to use the Toolbar!!