After about the 58th time I found myself searching for photos, I was exasperated with the time I spent on searches. I kept thinking there has got to be a better way...and there is. Bridge contains a better way to search your images by adding keywords. This was especially useful for me since just grouping photos into folders wasn't enough. I needed a more fine-tuned way of finding images, and keywords are it.
Find some photos in Bridge that you want to add keywords to. For example, I recently went on a vacation with my family, so I've loaded those photos into Bridge.
Now, look over to the left side of the screen. Remember the Metadata palette? Well the Keywords palette should be nested right behind it if you haven't changed your Panel area. If you have, then you can get back to where I am by choosing Window>Workspace>Reset to Default Workspace or pressing Command-F1 (PC: Control-F1). Then click on the Keywords tab in the bottom third of the Panel area to show that palette.
Now it's time to add some keywords to the photos. If you look in the Keywords palette you'll see that Bridge has a set of default keywords in there for you. Already entered are a few common events, places, and people's names. In fact, my favorite feature is that Bridge automatically recognizes your and your family's names. It just so happens that my name is Matthew and my son's name is RyanI swear I'm not lying. Okay, maybe I am lying by saying that Bridge recognizes your family's names automatically. Something tells me I'm just lucky that Matthew and Ryan happened to be the default names in my version of Bridge. For example's sake, let's say you want to tag your photos with one of the default keywords. Just select the photos you want to keyword in Bridge (in my example, photos of my son Ryan), then click on the keyword in the Keywords palette, and it'll be assigned to those photos.
Okay, now let's go out on a limb and assume that your family does not have anyone named Ryan or Matthew, or whichever default names appear in your version of Bridge (it's a crazy idea, isn't it?). Well, you can create a new keyword by just clicking on the small, right-facing triangle at the top right of the palette and choosing New Keyword from the flyout menu. Add a descriptive name for your keyword (such as Diana, for my wife) and then press Return (PC: Enter) to confirm it. After that, you can drag it into whatever category it best fits.
Now you can go on tagging your photos with keywords. By the way, you can also Control-click (PC: Right-click) on an existing keyword to rename it. However, I don't want to do that here because the existing keywords happen to work well for my family.
Okay, now that you've added keywords to your photos, it's time to see how to search for them. That's where the benefits of adding keywords really pay off. From the Bridge menu, choose Edit>Find. Even better, you can use the keyboard shortcut of Command-F (PC: Control-F). The Find dialog will appear.
First, you will need to choose a source in which to search for your images. The Look In menu will default to whatever folder you're currently in, but you can choose another folder from the pop-up menu, or click the Browse button. You can also choose to look in all subfolders that may be included inside of that folder by turning on the Include All Subfolders checkbox in the Source section.
Next, pick the criteria you want to use for this search from the first pop-up menu in the Criteria section. The default is Filename, which is good for finding photos by name, but in this case choose Keywords. In the second pop-up menu, leave the choice set to Contains. Then, in the last one enter "Ryan" or, on the off chance you don't have a son named Ryan like I do, type whatever keywords you've used.
Now, just click Find to start your search. By default, the Show Find Results in a New Browser Window checkbox is turned on, so your search results will open in a new Bridge window. In this case, all photos of my son Ryan that I tagged were displayed.