After I'm done with a photo shoot, I usually can't wait to see what I've shot. So I proceed to connect my card reader and transfer my photos to my computer. After I do that, I fire up Bridge and start to review them, but that's where the process slows down. Bridge needs to build the thumbnails and cache for all of my photos, and if I shoot 200300 photos that can take a while. That's where this feature comes in. I let Bridge do the cache building for me while I unpack my gear, and then when it's done I can review the photos with no interruptions.
What Is Cache?
First, let's get something cleared up. In Bridge, the cache is where all thumbnail, metadata, and general file information is stored. Bridge saves this cache to shorten the time it takes to preview photos in a folder. However, it does take time to create this cache (especially for RAW files). That's why it's best to follow this tutorial and have Bridge create the cache before you try to view your photos. That way they'll display a lot quicker when you're reviewing them.
Once you've loaded all of your photos from the card reader onto your computer, navigate to the folder containing them in Bridge. From the Bridge menu, choose Tools>Cache>Build Cache for Subfolders.
After you choose this, you'll see a small dialog indicating that Bridge is building the cache for the photos and how many photos it has processed so far. Here's where you walk away and unpack your gear or go get that cup of coffee, as it'll take a few minutes. But when you get back, you're ready to roll and previewing your photos will be a much smoother process.