What is Adobe Bridge and What Is It Used for?

Adobe Bridge
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If you’re new to digital creative software then Adobe Bridge is potentially not a program that you will have investigated yet. Upon first inspection, its purpose may not appear as clear-cut as other Adobe software but as you amass more and more assets and artwork, you will soon see the benefits that many professionals cannot do without.

Adobe Bridge is primarily a creative asset manager which organizes assets and makes them easier to find. Powerful secondary features include the ability to batch-edit assets outside of Lightroom / Photoshop and apply tags and metadata. Bridge is free to use as an asset manager but image editing requires a subscription.

If you’ve not yet subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps then you can find a full run-down of their plans here (paid link).

Now, let’s get straight to business and break down what features Bridge has to offer…

What is Adobe Bridge Used for?

Some of the features the Bridge includes are more useful to professionals but there are still a number that can provide clear benefits to beginners as well.

Asset Manager

As you or your business create or acquire more and more images, videos and sound files (digital assets), it will inevitably become harder to find the assets that you are looking for when the time comes to use them.

Asset Management Software aims to solve this problem by making assets easier to find and as quickly as possible. This therefore improves your workflow and makes you more productive.

This is Bridge’s primary function and it does a very competent job.

Bridge supports files from most of the Creative Cloud applications including some of its 3D programs as well. Assets can also be dragged into applications from Bridge itself.

The main asset management tools that Bridge uses are:

  • Image thumbnails – pretty self-explanatory but it’s something that your OS won’t do for anything other than standard image formats. Being able to see a preview of native Adobe files such as psd and ai files is invaluable. Newer versions of Bridge even show previews of Substance 3D materials.
  • Video thumbnails – these can be scrubbed without the need to open the actual file
  • Collections – the ability to group assets together, even across sub-folders, via filters, instantly makes navigation to the asset you need much faster.
  • Labels – you can tag images with a label to provide a searchable context. If you’ve conducted a wedding photo-shoot then you might want to tag images of the guests, ceremony or after-dinner speeches, etc. Labels can also be color-coded to speed up visual identification.
  • Ratings – find your favorite assets by rating them on a 5 star system. This helps prioritize your best work and can be used as a filter for later searches.
  • Metadata – assign or access info such as author name, resolution, etc. Once again, this can be used as a search filter, so finding assets from a particular author or a minimum resolution is a breeze.
  • Keywords – these are used to describe what the specific content of the asset is. Keywords also have a hierarchy making searches for specific content much more useful.
  • Advanced filters – combining a number of the items mentioned above in a search makes finding the assets you need easy. Bridge allows searching across sub-folders as well and the results can then be saved as a Collection for quick duplication of the search in the future.

Image Editing

Editing images in Bridge is made possible with the Adobe Camera Raw plugin. Edits can be made to JPEG, TIFF and RAW files but if photos are shot in RAW format you have many more editing possibilities. Importantly, edits are non-destructive so can be undone even after saving.

Some prefer using Bridge over Adobe Lightroom due to its simplicity.

Some basic edits are possible on other formats such as rotating psd files for which Camera Raw is not used.

Examples of adjustments that can be made in Bridge are spot removal, healing, gradients, straightening, cropping, sharpen, resizing and level adjustments. You can also toggle between previews of before and after edits to check the results before saving.

Advanced edits such as compositing or adjustments to skin and hair need to be done in Adobe Photoshop but Bridge should be used as a first-touch edit to speed up your workflow.

Batch Editing

One of the strongest features of Adobe Bridge is its ability to perform batch edits on multiple images.

Batch processing is suited for basic edits to speed up workflow, saving more advanced edits for Photoshop on an individual image basis. Typical examples of batch-edit adjustments include resize, rename, white balance, exposure and noise removal.

Batch processing works best when photos need the same adjustments, such as when they were shot in the same light conditions. Some local edits should be done first such as correct lens distortion and chromatic aberration that come from using different focal lengths for example.

After this, batch edits can be applied. Sets of images can be filtered by shooting-parameters so that batch processing can occur on those images only. An example of this would be noise reduction on images filtered by certain ISO values.

There are a couple of ways to apply a batch edit. Firstly, you can select all the images you wish to edit and apply the batch edit. Secondly you could also edit a single image and then copy over the adjustments to multiple images using the synchronize function. Individual adjustments can be selected at the time of synchronization so you don’t have to copy over all of the settings.


Bridge allows multiple images to be selected and exported with settings for location, image format, image size and metadata.

Image formats that can be exported are:

  • JPEG
  • PNG
  • TIFF
  • DNG

Presets for exports can be created for these settings – another massive time saving!

Another useful feature is the ability to create PDF contact sheets. If you are not familiar with contact sheets, they are essentially a page of thumbnails of images which could, for example, be used for portfolios. Load a template and drag and drop the desired images onto it – simple!


If you register as a contributor and link your Adobe Stock account to Bridge, you can publish to Adobe Stock from within Bridge.

Keywords that you have assigned in Bridge are extracted automatically by Adobe Stock and used on the platform.

There are extensions for Bridge available which allow you to publish to alternative platforms such as SlickPic.

Another option from within Bridge is to publish to Adobe Portfolio and Behance. Selecting images to be published on Adobe Portfolio will start the process of setting up a portfolio site but you will still have to go to Portfolio itself to edit the layout etc.

Behance is Adobe’s attempt at social media for creatives so it makes sense that assets can be directly published to it as well.

How Much Does Adobe Bridge Cost?

Adobe Bridge is free to download and use as an asset manager but to edit images using the Camera Raw plugin you will need to have an active subscription to Photoshop or Lightroom. This can be via the Creative Cloud subscription as well as Adobe’s stand-alone subscriptions.


Adobe Bridge is an easily overlooked program within Creative Cloud but a very powerful one. If you’re working with a large collection of assets, either as a professional or as part of your side-hustle, you need this in your life! Once you’ve used it, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. The asset management features alone are worth using but if you need to edit images as well then the Camera Raw plugin will provide a more simple workflow for basic edits than the likes of Lightroom.

For more information on Adobe Bridge and how to use it, check out Adobe’s user guide here.

If you’ve not yet subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps then you can find a full run-down of their plans here (paid link).

Hopefully you found this post useful, in which case, you might want to check out my guide Adobe Creative Cloud: Apps and Tools Explained which gives a complete overview of all the other apps in Creative Cloud and more!

Featured image: Nomad_Soul / stock.adobe.com

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