It is so easy to add keywords to whole groups of images that I’d be willing to bet that a lot of images have inherited keywords that you never meant them to have. For instance, you can highlight a whole series of images that contain the same category of subject matter. However, chances are that many of them also contain other types of subject matter. So you tend to put all the types into the Keyword Tags box and then hit Return/Enter…thus assigning them all to all the images. Then, because you’re always in a hurry, you select the next group and do the same thing.
Before you know it, you have hundreds (or even thousands) of “stray” keywords in your images. Later, you go to the Find Panel and enter Man. Though you suddenly see hundreds of pictures of men, you also see a few pictures of kids, a pretty fair number of pictures of women…and even a few kitty cats that have no man in the frame with them. Well, you can get rid of the pictures that don’t pertain by highlighting them and then deleting the errant Keywords that show up in the keywording panel. To be sure, that is a big help in itself. But why not just clean up your whole library? The next paragraph will tell you how:
You’re probably already there, but if not, put yourself into Library mode. Then scroll down until you see the Keyword Tags panel and click its arrowhead so that it points down. You’ll see each of the keywords that’s contained in your entire Collection listed in alphabetical order. Click on each keyword one-at-a-time. When you do, eyeball the resultant collection of thumbnails. Use the Arrow keys to highlight each thumbnail that doesn’t belong in that keyword group. Then, in the Keywording Panel on the right side of the thumbs, highlight the keyword you’ve chosen and tap the Delete/Backspace key. All the thumbs in the collection for the chosen keyword that also had the wrong keyword will disappear from that collection.
The more often you do this, the less time it will take each time you have to do it. Now, if there were just an easy way to spot all the images that are missing a keyword that they should have, we’d be in sheer heaven.
Oh, one more important thing. You can also get rid of keywords that are misspelled while instantly adding the images that had the misspelled keywords to the collection that is named by the right keyword. Just highlight all the images and then go to the Keywording panel, highlight the misspelled keyword, and type in its corrected name. Then press Return/Enter. You’ll see the whole selection of collected thumbnails disappear. At the same time, the number of images assigned to the correctly spelled collection will increase. Now, just highlight the mispelled keyword, right/Option click and choose Delete. The mispelled keyword will disappear from the list and will no longer appear as one of the choices when you start to type in a keyword. The longer you use Lightroom, the cooler it gets.