Adobe Bridge CS4: How do I preview? Let me count the ways

It’s Tuesday again, and around these parts that means it’s time for another tutorial. Today, we will continue our exploration of Bridge, which I’ve been calling the Swiss Army Knife of the Creative Suite. In this series, we’ve begun to enumerate the many ways that Bridge is oh, so much more than a file browser.

Today’s tour leads us to the many varieties of viewing, reviewing, and previewing that Bridge offers within its interface. As we’ll see, the options are many, although some of the capabilities are not quite obvious, if not downright cloaked in obscurity.

We’ll begin with the simplest of the viewing modes.

Full Screen Preview: 

Start by selecting one image, or more than one. There must be at least one image selected for this to work. Then, choose View > Full Screen Preview, or press the spacebar. The first selected image zooms to full screen view (or full size view if the image is smaller than your screen).

Navigation: While you are in Full Screen Preview, you can use the left and right arrow keys to navigate through the images. If you selected more than one image, only the selected images are displayed, otherwise all images in the folder are displayed.

Zooming and Panning: Use the “+” and ““ keys to zoom in and out of your image. Maximum zoom is 800%. You can also use the scroll wheel of your mouse. Or, simply click the image to zoom to 100% at that point. When zoomed in, click and drag to pan the image.

Exit: Press the spacebar again, or press the Escape key to exit.

Full Screen Preview. Quick. Efficient. Not really powerful, but great for what it does.

Review Mode (“Carousel Mode”):

This is one of the coolest new functions in Adobe Bridge CS4. Review mode allows not only browsing, but refining the selection, performing minor edits and ratings, and opening into Camera Raw or Photoshop.

Unlike Full Screen Preview, you need not have any images selected. Having zero or one image selected has the effect of pulling the entire folder into Review Mode, while making a selection pulls in just the selected photos. Just press Ctrl-B (Cmd-B on a Mac) to start. Once you’re in review mode, you see a rotating “carousel” of images that you can browse through with the left and right arrow keys:


While you’re in Review Mode, you can press the ‘h’ key for help. In this mode, you can do all of the following:


  • Press the left and right arrow keys to rotate the carousel and bring any of the images to front and center.


  • Press the down arrow to dismiss an image from Review Mode, narrowing the selection.
  • Press “.” to increase the image rating, or “,” to decrease the rating.
  • Press Delete to reject an image, or “0” (zero) to clear its rating.
  • Press the 6 trough 9 keys to assign color labels to the image.


  • Press “[“ to rotate the image 90 degrees CCW, or “]” to rotate 90 degrees CW.
  • Press “R” to open the selected image in Camera Raw, Alt-R (Opt-R on the Mac) to open all in Camera Raw.
  • Press “O” to open the selected image in Photoshop, Alt-O (Opt-O on the Mac) to open all in Photoshop.


  • Press Esc to exit.
  • Press “C” to create a collection from the remaining images and exit.

As you can see, the Review Mode, or “Carousel Mode” as it is often called, packs some serious power!

Slide Show:

Slide Show preview mode give you the Spartan display mode of Full Screen Preview combined with the capabilities of Review Mode. Plus, it adds a few presentation style options to allow you to create a nice, impromptu slideshow; great for a quick, on the spot review of your images.

As with Review Mode, select specific images or you get the entire folder. Choose View > Slideshow, or press Ctrl-L (Cmd-L on the Mac) to start the slideshow immediately.

As with Review Mode, the “h” key brings up a help screen, and the options are very similar to Review Mode. Additionally, pressing “L” brings up the Slideshow options, which are also available directly from the Bridge window via View > Slideshow Options… or Ctrl-Shift-L (Cmd-Shift-L on a Mac):


Display options:

  • Choose to black out additional monitors, repeat the slide show, or zoom back and forth (a rather mundane attempt at a Ken Burns type of effect).

Slide options:

  • Specify slide duration, caption overlays, and slide scaling.

Transition options:

  • Specify transition styles and speed.

Bridge’s Slide Show Mode doesn’t win any awards for being a fancy slide show creator, but it does give you the ability to provide an impromptu presentation for a client when you are on the spot and don’t have the time to produce something more involved.

There you have it! Three accessible and easy to use ways to view, review, and preview your images from within Bridge. Once again, the depth and breadth of this utility never ceases to amaze.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Hi … thanks for having this site, it is a great help. I do however have a question that I have not seen addressed seemingly anywhere. I am on a mac … when I use carousel preview mode and delete an image from the group, my screen then displays the remaining images in a static display (rows adn columns) and will not allow me to go back to viewing the edited group in caraousel mode …. ideas?


    1. Dan, how are you deleting the images from the group? The correct way is to use the down arrow button in the lower left corner of the screen. If you’re using the “X” button, this is the button that exits carousel review mode. Could that be the issue?


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