Remove accidental Virtual Copies

As a help moderator, I get to see a lot of problems and questions come in. One thing I’ve just answered is in relation to something that I’ve actually done myself. Usually in Lightroom, if you’re in a single image mode like Loupe View, or Develop, your action will apply only to that image (bar Export). Of course, if you have Auto Sync on, the settings apply to all selected images. Easy to reset via History, if a little tedious (or via Undo, if you’ve not gone too far before realising your mistake). 

In this case the mistake I’m talking about is creating a virtual copy of lots of images, when only meaning to make one. It can happen with Auto Sync in Develop, or by accidentally having ‘Create New Virtual Copies’ ticked, when making a collection. So how do we fix this? It’s actually pretty easy. 

  • With the Collection (or Folder) selected, press the backslash key (\) or choose Show Filter Bar from the View Menu in the Library module. 
  • Click on the word Attribute. 
  • At the right of the Filter Bar will be the word Kind, followed by 3 Icons, which are Master File, Virtual Copy and Movie icons. 


  • Click on the 2nd one, Virtual Copy, to show only virtual copies. 
  • Select all the copies (Control A on PC, Command A on Mac) and press the delete key. 
  • A dialog saying ‘Remove the selected Virtual Copies’ will appear with the options Remove and Cancel. Click remove. 

And that’s it. 

About Sean McCormack