Manage collections

Last update: 2023-05-03
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AEM 6.4 has reached the end of extended support and this documentation is no longer updated. For further details, see our technical support periods. Find the supported versions here.

A collection is a set of assets within Adobe Experience Manager Assets. Use collections to share assets between users. The set can be static collection or a dynamic collection that is based on search results.

Unlike folders, a collection can include assets from different locations. You can share collections with various users that are assigned different levels of privileges, including viewing, editing, and so on.

You can share multiple collections with a user. Each collection contains references to assets. The referential integrity of assets is maintained across collections.

Collections are of the following types, based on the way they collate assets:

  • A collection that contains a static reference list of assets, folders, and other collections.
  • A smart collection that dynamically includes assets based on a search criteria.

To open the Collections, tap or click the Experience Manager logo. From the navigation page, go to Assets > Collections.

Create a collection

You can create a collection either with static references or based on a search criteria-based filter. You can also create a collection from a lightbox.

Create a collection with static references

You can create a collection with static references, for example a collection with references to assets, folders, collections, spin sets, and image sets.

  1. Navigate to the Collections console.

  2. From the toolbar, tap/click Create.

  3. In the Create Collection page, enter a title and an optional description for the collection.

  4. Add members to the collection and assign appropriate permissions. Alternatively, select Public Collection to allow all users to access the collection.


    To enable the members to share collections with other users, provide the dam-users group read permissions at the path home/users. Give permission to the users at /content/dam/collections location to allow the users to view the Collections in pop up lists. Alternatively, make the user a part of dam-users group.

  5. (Optional) Add a thumbnail image for the collection.

  6. Tap/click Create, and then tap/click OK to close the dialog. A collection with the specified title and properties is opened in the Collections console.


    Experience Manager Assets lets you create review tasks for a collection similar to the way you create review tasks for an assets folder.

    To add assets to the collection, navigate to the Assets user interface. For details, see Add assets to a collection.

Create collections using dropzone

You can drag assets from the Assets UI to a collection. You can also create a copy of a collection and drag the assets there.

  1. From the Assets UI, select the assets you want to add to a collection.

  2. Drag the assets to the Drop in Collection zone.


    Release the mouse button when the Dropzone becomes active, and its label changes to Drop to Add.


    Alternatively, tap/click the To Collection icon from the toolbar.


  3. In the Add To Collection page, tap/click the Create Collection icon from the toolbar.

    If you want to add the assets to an existing collection, select it from the page, and tap/click Add. By default, the most recently updated collection is selected.

  4. In the Create New Collection dialog, specify a name for the collection. If you want the collection to be accessible to all users, select Public Collection.

  5. Tap/click Continue to create the collection.

Create a smart collection

A Smart Collection uses a search criteria to dynamically populate assets. You can create a Smart Collection using only files and not folders or files and folders.

To create a smart collection, follow the steps:

  1. Navigate to the Assets user interface and tap/click the search icon.

  2. Enter search keyword in the Omnisearch box and press Enter. Open the Filters panel and apply a search filter.

  3. From the Files & Folders list, select Files.


  4. Tap/click Save Smart Collection.

  5. Specify a name for the collection. Select Public to add the DAM Users group with the Viewer role to the smart collection.



    If you select Public, the smart collection becomes available to everyone with the owner role after you create it. If you deselect the Public option, the DAM user group is no longer associated with the smart collection.

  6. Tap/click Save to create the smart collection, and then close the message box to complete the process.

    The new smart collection is also added to the Saved Searches list.


    The label of the Create Smart Selection button changes to Edit Smart Selection. To edit the settings of the smart collection, select Files from the Files & Folders list. Then, tap/click the Edit Smart Selection button.


Add assets to a collection

You can add assets to a collection that contains a list of referenced assets or folders. Smart collections use a search query to populate assets. Therefore, static references to assets and folders are not applicable to them.

  1. In the Assets user interface, select the asset and tap/click the To Collection icon from the toolbar.


    Alternatively, you can drag the asset to the Drop in Collection area on the interface. Add the assets when the label of the region changes to Drop to Add.

  2. In the Add To Collection page, select the collection to which you want to add the asset.

  3. Tap/click Add, and then close the confirmation message. The asset is added to the collection.

Edit a smart collection

Smart collections are built by saving a search so you can alter their content by modifying the search parameters of the saved search.

  1. In the Assets user interface, tap/click the search icon from the toolbar.


  2. With the cursor in the Omnisearch box, press the Return key.

  3. Tap/click the GlobalNav icon to display the Filters panel.

  4. From the Saved Searches list, select the smart collection you want to modify. The Search panel displays the filters configured for the saved search.


  5. From the Files & Folders list, select Files.

  6. Modify one or more filters, as necessary. Tap/click Edit Smart Collection.

    You can also edit the name of the smart collection.


  7. Tap/click Save. The Edit Smart Collection dialog appears.

  8. Tap/click Overwrite to replace the original smart collection with the edited collection. Alternatively, select Save As to save the edited collection separately.

  9. In the confirmation dialog, tap/click Save to complete the process.

View and edit collection metadata

Collection metadata comprises data about the collection, including any tags that are added.

  1. From the Collections console, select a collection and tap/click the Properties icon from the toolbar.
  2. In the Collection Metadata page, view the collection metadata from the Basic and Advanced tabs.
  3. Modify the metadata, as necessary, and then tap/click Save & Close from the toolbar to save the changes.

Edit metadata of multiple collections in bulk

You can edit the metadata of multiple collections simultaneously. This functionality helps you quickly replicate common metadata in multiple collections.

  1. In the Collections console, select two or more collections for which you want to edit metadata.

  2. From the toolbar, tap/click Properties.

  3. In the Collection Metadata page, edit the metadata under the Basic and Advanced tabs, as necessary.

  4. To view the metadata properties for a specific collection, deselect the remaining collections in the collections list. The metadata editor fields are populated with the metadata for the particular collection.

    • In the collection properties page, you can remove collections from the list of collections by deselecting them. The collections list has all the collections selected by default. The metadata for collections that you remove is not updated.
    • At the top of the list, select the check box near Title to toggle between selecting the collections and clearing the list.
  5. Tap/click Save & Close from the toolbar, and then close the confirmation dialog to complete the process.

  6. To append the new metadata with the existing metadata, select Append mode. If you do not select this option, the new metadata replaces the existing metadata in the fields. Tap/click Submit.


    The metadata you add for the selected collections overwrites the previous metadata for these collections. Use the Append mode to add new values to the existing metadata in the fields that can contain multiple values. Single-value fields get always overwritten. Any tags you add in the Tags field, are appended to the existing list of tags in the metadata.

To customize the metadata Properties page, including adding, modifying, deleting metadata properties, use the Schema editor.


The bulk editing method works for assets available in a collection. For the assets that are available across folders or match a common criteria, it is possible to bulk update the metadata after searching these assets.

Search collections

You can search collections from the Collections console. When you search with keywords in the Omnisearch box, Experience Manager Assets searches for collection names, metadata, and the tags added to the collections.

If you search for collections from the top level, only individual collections are returned in search results. Assets or folders within the collections are excluded. In all other cases (for example, within an individual collection or in a folder hierarchy), all relevant assets, folders, and collections are returned.

Search within collections

In the Collections console, tap/click a collection to open it.

Within a collection, the search is restricted to assets (and their tags and metadata) within the collection that you are viewing. When you search within a folder, all matching assets and child folders within the current folder are returned. When you search within a collection, only matching assets, folders, and other collections that are direct members of the collection are returned.

Edit collection settings

You can edit collection settings, such as title and description, or to add members to a collection.

  1. Select a collection, and tap/click the Settings icon in the toolbar. Alternatively, use the Settings quick action from the collection thumbnail.

  2. Modify the collection settings in the Collection Settings page. For example, modify the collection title, descriptions, members, and permissions as discussed in Adding Collections.

  3. To save the changes, tap/click Save.

Delete a collection

  1. From the Collections console, select one or more collections and tap/click the delete icon in the toolbar.

  2. In the dialog, tap/click Delete to confirm the delete action.


    You can also delete smart collections by deleting saved searches.

Download a collection

When you download a collection, the entire hierarchy of assets within the collection is downloaded, including folders and child collections.

  1. From the Collections console, select one or more collections to download.

  2. From the toolbar, tap/click the download icon.

  3. In the Download dialog, tap/click Download. If you want to download the renditions of the assets within the collection, select Renditions. Select the Email option to send an email notification to the owner of the collection.

    When you select a collection to download, the complete folder hierarchy under the collection is downloaded. To include each collection you download (including assets in child collections nested under the parent collection) in an individual folder, select Create separate folder for each asset.

Create nested collections

You can add a collection to another collection, thereby creating a nested collection.

  1. From the Collections console, select the desired collection or group of collections, and tap or click the To Collection icon in the toolbar.


  2. From the Add To Collection page, select the collection in which to add the collection.


    The most recently updated collection is selected by default in the Add To Collection page.

  3. Tap/click Add. A message confirms that the collection is added to the target collection in the Select Destination page. Close the message to complete the process.


Smart collections cannot be nested. In other words, Smart collections cannot contain any other collection.

Saved searches

In the Assets user interface, you can search or filter assets based on certain rules, search criteria, or custom search facets. If you save these as Saved Searches, you can access them later from the Saved Searches list in the Filter panel. Creating a saved search also creates a smart collection.


Create saved searches

Saved searches are created when you create a smart collection. Smart collections are automatically added to the Saved Searches list. The Saved Searches query for the collection is saved in the dam:query property in crxde at the relative location /content/dam/collections/. There are no limits to the searches that you can save and on the saved searches displayed in the list.


You can share smart collections in the same way as you share static collections.

Edit saved searches

Editing saved searches is the same as editing smart collections. For details, see Editing a smart collection.

Delete saved searches

  1. In the Assets user interface, tap/click the search icon from the toolbar.


  2. With the cursor in the Omnisearch field, press the Enter key.

  3. Click or tap the GlobalNav icon to display the Filters panel.

  4. From the Saved Searches list, tap/click the delete icon next to the smart collection that you want to delete.


  5. In the dialog, tap/click Delete to delete the saved search.

Execute a workflow on a collection

You can run a workflow for the assets within a collection. If the collection contains nested collections, the workflow also runs on the assets within the nested collections. However, if the collection and the nested collection contain duplicate assets, the workflow only runs once for such assets.

  1. From the Collections console, select a collection on which you want to run a workflow.

  2. Tap/click the GlobalNav icon, and choose Timeline from the list.

  3. From the timeline, click or tap the Caret icon at the bottom, and then tap/click Start Workflow.


  4. In the Start Workflow section, select a workflow model from the list. For example, select the DAM Update Asset model.

  5. Enter a title for the workflow, and tap/click Start.

  6. In the dialog, tap/click Proceed. The workflow runs on all the assets in the collection.

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