darktable page lede image
darktable page lede image

Chapter 2. Lighttable

The lighttable is where you manage all your images, ratings, export and much more.

2.1. Overview

In the central view, your images are shown as thumbnails, surrounded by a frame. When the mouse is over an image, its rating and color labels are shown in the frame, along with an indicator of whether the image has already been altered in darkroom. Also, when the mouse hovers over an image frame, image information (EXIF data, metadata) is shown in the image information panel at the bottom left.

While the mouse is over an image frame, there are a number of actions you can perform. Here is a table of keyboard shortcuts and assigned actions.

0 – 5 set the rating of the image; if an image has 1 star and you hit the 1 key, the image will be unrated. Pressing R rejects the image.
F1 – F5 set a color label
Ctrl+C copy the history stack
Ctrl+V paste the copied history stack
D open in darkroom view for developing
W fully zoom into the image while the key is pressed
Ctrl+W fully zoom into the image and show areas in focus

The overlay button located in the upper panel activates the permanent display of star ratings and image-changed indicator on all thumbnails. By default these overlays are only visible on the thumbnail under the mouse cursor. An overlay button is also available in the other views where it affects the filmstrip accordingly (see Section 1.2.3, “Filmstrip” and Section, “Filmstrip”).

Pressing the button on the right side of the bottom panel lets you define the color profile of your monitor. You can either set this to system display profile (default) and let darktable enquire the system's display profile, or alternatively set it to one of the ICC profiles located in $DARKTABLE/share/darktable/color/out and $HOME/.config/darktable/color/out. $DARKTABLE is used here to represent your chosen darktable installation directory and $HOME your home directory. For more details on color management see Section 3.2.6, “Color management”.

In the center of the bottom panel you have an option to choose between different layouts.

2.1.1. Filemanager

This is the default mode to view thumbnails of the images.

In this layout, you can can change the number of images in each row, using the slider next to the layouts option, or by using Ctrl+(mouse wheel). Use your mouse wheel to navigate through your collection.

You can navigate left/right/up/down through your collection using ←/→/↑/↓. Pressing G goes to the top, Shift+G to the bottom, PageUp brings you one page up and PageDown one page down.

You can select the image under the pointer by left-clicking on its thumbnail or by pressing Return. A range of images is selected by clicking on the first one and then Shift+clicking on the last one. Images are added or removed from your selection by Ctrl+clicking on their thumbnails or pressing Spacebar.

To locate where you are in a collection, there are indicators at the extreme borders of the window: left/right for your position.

2.1.2. Zoomable lighttable

Zoomable lighttable layout inherits from most the filemanager features, with some noticeable changes :

Scroll with your mouse wheel to zoom in and out. Moving the mouse while pressing the left mouse button allows you to navigate through your collection.

To locate where you are in a collection, there are indicators at the extreme borders of the window: left/right and top/bottom for your vertical and your horizontal position, respectively.

2.1.3. Culling

Culling layout allow to display images side by side to easily compare them. There's 2 different modes to define the number of images to show at the same time : Fixed mode and Dynamic mode.

Once in culling mode, you can switch between those 2 mode with < key accel. Fixed mode

In fixed mode, the number of image to display is always the same, independently of the selection length. This number can be set with the slider in the bottom panel, near the modes option.

In this mode, you'll navigate through all selected images. If no selection is set (or if only 1 image is selected), you'll navigate through all images.

Default keyboard shortcut for entering culling in fixed mode is X. Dynamic mode

In dynamic mode, all the selected images are shown. If no selection is set (or if only 1 image is selected) last value from fixed mode is used.

Default keyboard shortcut for entering culling in dynamic mode is Ctrl+X. Zoom and pan

In culling mode, you can zoom and pan in the images to see details. Images can be zoomed until 100%.

Ctrl+scroll to zoom in/out images. left click + drag to pan in zoomed images.

By default, zooming and panning are synchronized between all visible images. If you want to zoom or pan only a specific image, add Shift key to above actions.

To enhance performance in zoomed images loading, you can enable the disk backend for full preview cache in preferences (see Section 8.8, “Cpu / gpu / memory”). Keep in mind that this could take a lot of disk space...

2.1.4. Full preview

While holding down the W key a fully zoomed preview of the image under the mouse cursor is displayed. You can use this feature for a quick inspection of image quality while rating and selecting images.

Holding down the Ctlr+W key fully zooms into the image and additionally activates an analysis for sharp regions, detecting those parts of the image that are in focus. Areas of high sharpness are indicated by a red border – the higher the color intensity the better the sharpness. In case that no area of high sharpness is detected darktable indicates areas of moderate sharpness with a blue border. For this tool to work the input image needs to hold an embedded JPEG thumbnail which is the case for most raw files.

Sometimes pressing W or Ctrl+W may not reveal an immediate effect – in that case please click into the center area and press the corresponding key again.

Fully zoomed-in image view while holding down the Ctrl+W key with indication of the sharp areas in focus. Sharpness detection is based on an embedded JPEG thumbnail of the original raw file independent of any processing steps within darktable.

If you want the full preview to stay, without having to hold W key, you can use sticky preview mode with Alt+W key or Ctrl+Alt+W if you want focus detection. In sticky preview mode, you can zoom and pan in the image, exactly like in culling layout (see Section, “Zoom and pan”).