The Field Guide to Future Craft


At its core, Adobe Bridge is a media browser that lets you download images from your media devices (camera, phone, tablet), navigate through the folders on your hard drive or drives connected to your computer to find the images or media you are searching for. If you stop there, however, you are not even close to exploiting the full power of Bridge because it is not just a media browser, it is a digital asset MANAGEMENT platform.

Released by Adobe Systems as part of Creative Suite / Creative Cloud, it is an organizational program that its primary purpose is to link the parts of the Creative Suite together allowing for organization of assets used to create content for print, web, and video. Adobe Bridge keeps native Adobe files (such as PSD and PDF) and non‑Adobe files available for easy access. It supports drag and drop of assets into your layouts, projects, and compositions as needed, preview files, and even add metadata (file information), making the files easier to locate.

Adobe Bridge can be invoked / accessible from within all components of Creative Suite except Adobe Acrobat.

Got Photoshop? Bridge is also included with the stand-alone Photoshop application, and can perform certain Photoshop processing functions separately (and simultaneously) with Photoshop itself.

In this section you will learn:

* Understand the Bridge environment
* View Assets across applications
* Sort and Organizing Assets 


When you first open Bridge, the full interface is revealed. Along the top are several buttons.
  • Main Buttons (From left to right)
    • Go Back/Go Forward: Clicking these moves you through the folders and devices connected to Bridge.
    • Reveal recent file: Click this and you will be able to move around the files and folders you recently visited.
    • Boomerang: This button returns you Photoshop.
    • Camera: Click this and you can download the files from your camera or video capture device.
    • Refine: This pop down lets you look at a series of photos, rename a bunch of selected content, or edit a selected file’s metadata.
    • Open in Camera Raw: Select this and the Camera Raw feature of Photoshop is launched.
    • Rotate: Rotate an image either clockwise or counter clockwise.
Over one the right side of the interface are the View options
  • View Options:
    • Essentials: Choose this to change to the default layout.
    • Filmstrip: Choose this to have the content appear as a scrollable filmstrip.
    • Metadata: Choose this to review each image’s metadata.
    • Keywords: Choose this to see the keywords associated with each piece of content in the current folder.

Above the panels is a breadcrumb trail, known as the Path Bar, that lets you navigate through the folder structure of the current collection.

Below outlines the panels where most work is done.
  • Primary Panels
    • Favorites: Quick access to your most commonly-viewed folders.
    • Folders: Use this panel to drill down to specific content in the folders on the drives.
    • Filters: This is a Search feature on steroids. You can find content based on rating, keyword, image orientation, aperture, shutter speed, ISO and a ton more.
    • Content: This panel shows you all the images found in a particular folder. Use the slider at the bottom to make the thumbnails larger or smaller.
    • Preview: Select an image and it is displayed in this panel.
    • Publish: Use this if you want to sell your images in Adobe Stock.
    • Metadata: Shows you everything you would need to know about an image.
    • Keywords: Create or search based on keywords.


Image files can be shown in different sized thumbnails, slideshow or lists.

Each folder, which can be bookmarked, has a cache file for speeding up rendering time of images when viewing a thumbnail. The cache can be in one central location or in individual folders.

Toolsets & Techniques

From Adobe Bridge you can view, search, sort, filter, manage, and process image, page layout, PDF, and dynamic media files.

You can use Adobe Bridge to rename, move, and delete files; edit metadata; rotate images; and run batch commands. You can also view files and data imported from your digital still or video camera.

Display fully customizable thumbnails and change their sort order. A number of preview options. A star rating system for the content. Fully customizable metadata options including copyright info and keywords. The ability to create collections. Quick access to the CC applications.

Rating and labings:

Not every image or piece of content created is equal.

For various use cases, content needs to be selected and hierarchy instilled. For this, there is a rating system in Bridge that allows for separation of the “Excellent” from the “Terrible”. The system uses a one to five stars rating system and it is easy to apply. Additionally, colored labels and naming can be applied to assets for an expanded set of organizational capacity.

Select a couple of images in the Content area to have them appear in the Preview Panel. (You can preview up to 9 images at once and select as many as you like)

To apply a rating to the content in the Preview window, open the Label menu and select the number of stars to be applied to the selection(s). Alternatively you can click below the thumb nail of each image set a star rating or right click and define or star or label to any one image selected.

Organizing and Sorting:

Within Bridge there is the capability to define new folders, move or copy content into specific folders and allows for various other groups and pairings of digital assets for organizing purposes.

Sortability is prominent within Bridge allowing for hierarchy or parsing to be instilled via metadata (image specs) or user defined labels, colors, names or star ratings. The sortabling, customization of the parameters and ability to rank based upon various criteria allows for ease of use when handling large amounts of digital assets - e.g. photos.

If you only want to view only images with, say, a five star rating click the Filter button (It is the star) just above the Preview panel and select your rating category. When you do that only the images with the chosen rating will appear in the Content panel.


Adobe Bridge is often used to organize files by renaming a group of them at once.

This process is called batching and has many functions and utilities to help with organization and support for edit digital images.


If you have Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom, you can open camera raw files from Adobe Bridge and save them. You can edit the images directly in the Camera Raw dialog box without starting Photoshop or Lightroom, and copy settings from one image to another. If you don’t have Photoshop installed, you can still preview the camera raw files in Adobe Bridge.

Coupled with Adobe Photoshop, Bridge can execute Photoshop's compatible automation plug-ins, scripts and Adobe Camera Raw filters on a group of images. A plugin for Photoshop called Mini Bridge adds a small file browser to Photoshop, although Mini Bridge can be used only if Adobe Bridge is running in the background.

Depending on your workflow there are a number of ways to edit a selection in Bridge. An obvious question is how do I get my content from Bridge to applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign and After Effects (to name a few).

There are a few ways of editing your documents in the Bridge environment:
  • Simply drag the content from the Content panel on to your desktop and then open it in the applicable application.
  • Right Click the content in the Content panel and select an application from the resulting Context Menu.
  • Double click the file in the Content panel by default it will open in the appropriate application.
If this doesn’t work, you can adjust this by opening the Bridge Preferences and select the File Type Associations category to open a rather extensive list of file types and their applications. To change the default application simply click the down arrow to open an extensive list of choices. Select your application it now becomes the default.
You've found your center! Bridge is the best way to navigate, sort and control your assets from a single vantage point.