Adobe Bridge, the step-child of the Adobe Creative Suite. Bridge is basically a file browsing application, tailored specifically to work with Photoshop, other CS applications and Photography. If you’re like me, then you’ve probably always installed this program with your CS upgrades and never really use it all that much.
In this post I’m going to talk about some basic features of Bridge and some I’ve recently discovered that can be useful in certain situations.
Bridge’s most obvious use is browsing files and being able to see a large thumbnail preview. This is great for looking through tons of client assets. You can control the size of the thumbnails by moving a slider at the bottom of the window or scrolling your mouse-wheel while holding CTRL+ALT.
There are multiple preset window layouts you can select from. You can click and drag content thumbnails around to visually reorganized it however you want. There is also a Filter Panel that allows you to filter content by various criteria.
You can also choose to view the items contained in the subfolders of your current content window. Just click the last arrow in the Path Bar and select “Show Items from Subfolders”. Clicking this location again will toggle this mode off.
You can enter a special full-screen, carousel viewing mode called Review Mode by selecting VIEW>REVIEW MODE or pressing COMMAND+B. This mode lets you use the Right and Left Arrow Keys to browse through files, use Number Keys 0-5 to add Star Ratings and use Number Keys 6-9 to add Color Labels.
You can also press the Down Arrow to remove an item from the carousel, then when you press ESC or exit Review Mode, the files that remained in the carousel will automatically be selected. This makes Review Mode a cool way to make a selection of specific files.
Collections are virtual folders where you can collect files from different folders or drives in one place without duplicating or moving them. To create a collection, simply click the “New Collection” button on the bottom of the collection panel then click and drag files to add them. If you currently have files selected in Bridge, you can choose to automatically add those to the collection.
Bridge can also create Smart Collections by automatically collecting files based on criteria you define. To create a Smart Collection, click the “New Smart Collection” button on the bottom of the collections panel then select the criteria and source folder you want to collect. You can add/remove criteria by clicking the plus/minus buttons.
Bridge’s Output Panel provides a quick way to save out selected files as simple PDFs or Web Galleries. Just select the Output View and select the options you want to output.
The results are pretty basic, but the PDF options work well to create a quick inspiration board or contact sheet.
There is much more to Bridge than I have mentioned here, so open it up and explore. Bridge doesn’t offer the browsing speed or responsiveness of native finder windows, but can be a great compliment to workflow in certain situations and offers some useful functionality. Much of the functionality I’ve mentioned can also be accessed from the Mini-Bridge panel in Photoshop and Indesign.