Virtual copies are a powerful feature of Lightroom that allow you to create an additional, editable copy of an image. These copies don’t actually exist, of course; instead, they are metadata representing the adjustments you apply to the unaltered original master photo. You can have multiple virtual copies of an image and apply different adjustments to each image, or you can create a virtual copy of a virtual copy and experiment with applying more adjustments. Like I said…powerful.
Inside of Lightroom, it can be useful to find all of your virtual copies. Recently, I was cleaning out my working catalog and wanted to find out if I had any virtual copies that I had marked as keepers. Since virtual copies aren’t stored in the XMP side car files, if I had deleted the image and copies of any keeper copy I would have lost the record of the adjustments I had made. Fortunately, Lightroom provides an easy way to find all the virtual copies.
Turn On Library Filters
Turn on your library filters by selecting Library > Enable Filters (⌘L).
Show The Filter Bar
Show filter bar by selecting View > Show Filter Bar (\).
Filter By Kind
On the top right of the filter bar, there is a Kind toggle with three icons. The first icon is the Master Photos. Select it to see all the master (not virtual copy) images. You can hide your master images by disabling the toggle. The 2nd icon is the Virtual Copies toggle. Select it to see your virtual copies, disable it to hid your virtual copies. The final toggle is for Videos, which you can show or hide by enabling or disabling the toggle.
Above, I have the Master and Virtual Copy toggles selected, so in the results below, I’ll see both kinds of images.
If I disable the Master Photos and Video toggles, leaving the Virtual Copy toggle enabled…
…I will be left with only my virtual copies.