How to Install the Nik Collection: A Step-by-Step Guide

by May 24, 2024Photo Editing Tutorials

Robin Whalley Landscape Photographer

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How to Install the Nik Collection

This article explains how to install the Nik Collection on either a Mac or Windows PC. It is based on installing the Nik Collection 7 (the latest version at the time of writing) and looks at various aspects of the process, from system requirements to installing the Plugins and troubleshooting issues.

The Nik Collection has been around for many years and has evolved from an extremely expensive collection of software (I paid £299 pounds back in 2008) to being free after Google purchased it before retiring it. Fortunately, in 2017, DxO purchased the Nik Collection and has been developing and selling it ever since.

The latest version of the Nik Collection is a vast improvement on the buggy, free software released by Google. Despite this, many people still happily use that software, often claiming the latest version hasn’t changed much. This is probably because DxO hasn’t added many new filters and instead has focussed on the usability and selection tools.

You might also find that the free version of the Nik Collection doesn’t work with your computer and software. Many users have reported problems to me, but there are so many variables that it’s difficult to know the true position. In all cases where there are problems, I now recommend using the current version of the Nik Collection.

Download a trial version of the latest Nik Collection.

System Requirements

Below are the minimum system requirements to run Nik Collection 7. However, you need to run it on a higher-specification computer for the best performance.

Microsoft Windows

Minimum system requirements

  • Intel® Core™ or AMD Ryzen™ with 4 cores
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 4 GB available disk space
  • 1280 x 768 display
  • Microsoft® Windows® 10 or 11 version 21H2 (64-bit)

Recommended system configuration

  • Intel® Core™ or AMD Ryzen™ with 8 cores
  • 16 GB RAM
  • 6 GB available disk space
  • 1920 x 1080 display
  • Microsoft® Windows® 10 or 11 version 21H2 (64-bit)

Apple macOS

Minimum system configuration

  • Any CPU
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 4 GB available disk space
  • 1280 x 768 display
  • macOS 13 (Ventura)

You will find the above information and additional details on the DxO Nik Collection website.

The Nik Collection as a Plugin

A great feature of the Nik Collection 7, and one that I use a lot, is that it can be used as a plugin from inside host applications. Typically, these are DxO PhotoLab, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, but it will work with other photo editors that support Photoshop Plugins. A good example is Affinity Photo, and since version 6 of the Nik Collection, the installer has detected and automatically installed the plugins. There’s more about this later.

For the complete specification and list of host applications, see the Nik online user guide.

Purchasing the Nik Collection

The only place to buy the Nik Collection I’m aware of is from the shop on the DxO website. To avoid possible confusion, DxO also has a Nik Collection website, which is run as a subdomain of the DxO website. This means the start of the web address is “nikcollection” followed by “”. Clicking the “Shop” link also takes you to the DxO shop.

I won’t publish the price in this article; instead, I’ll refer you to the DxO Shop for the latest deals.

If you are an existing Nik Collection user, you may qualify for an upgrade price. The best way to learn what deals are available is to log into your Account on the DxO Website. If an upgrade is available, it will be shown here, together with an offer price.

Your DxO Account will list any upgrade deals that are available

A useful tip, if you are upgrading the Nik Collection, is that you will lose access to the installation files for the software you upgrade. What happens is that the Nik Collection you upgraded is replaced in the list by the version you upgraded to. If you think you might need the installation files for the earlier version, download and save them to your computer, along with the license key. You need to do this before purchasing the upgrade.

Downloading the Nik Collection

Your account page on the DxO website is also where you will find the downloads to install the Nik Collection along with your license key. The download section includes both the Windows and Mac versions of the download. Click the link for the correct installation file for your computer, and the download will start.

When the download completes, launch the file to start the installation process. It’s also a good idea to copy the license key before continuing, as you will need it at the end of the installation.

Installing the Nik Collection

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Locate the downloaded installer file.
  2. Double-click the installer to start the installation process.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.
  4. Select the photo editing software to integrate with. You will learn more about this in a moment.
  5. Complete the installation and launch the plugins.
  6. You will be prompted to enter the license key you copied from your DxO Account to register the software.

I haven’t differentiated between the Mac and Windows installation processes, as they are similar, with perhaps small differences in the on-screen instructions.

A useful feature of Nik Collection 7 is that it can be installed alongside an earlier version of the Nik Collection. This feature was introduced in Nik Collection 6 and allows you to keep different versions of the software on the same computer. For example, I have the Nik Collection 6 and 7 installed on my computer.

Integrating the Nik Collection with Photo Editing Software

As mentioned in step 4 above, selecting which software to integrate the Nik Collection is an important installation step. This controls where the Nik Collection is installed as a plugin.

When you install the Nik Collection to your computer, it’s installed in two ways:

  1. As standalone software, it can be used to edit and save compatible image files (TIFF & JPEG).
  2. As a Plugin for compatible host photo editors.

Installing the Nik Collection Standalone

You will find standalone Nik Collection applications installed as executable files on your computer. Below is a screenshot of mine.

Nik Collection Stanalone applications

As I use a Mac computer, these are found in my Applications folder, where each Nik Collection version has its own folder. Prior to version 6, all Nik Collection versions were installed in the same folder location (called ‘Nik Collection’), which is why they couldn’t co-exist.

On a Windows computer (and on a Mac), the folder location for the installation is under your control and confirmed as part of the installation. Here’s a screenshot taken during the installation to my Mac.

Selection the location on the computer to install the Nik Collection 7 to

It’s a good idea to make a note of this location in case you want to access the standalone application files manually. This is sometimes required if you need to launch the standalone applications from another application that doesn’t support the Nik Plugins.

You can also click the Browse button to change to another location.

Installing the Nik Collection Plugins

The Nik Collection Plugins are installed separately from the standalone applications discussed above. This is controlled as a separate step in the installation process, which is shown in the following screenshot.

Installing the Nik Collection to compatible host applications as a plugin

Here, you can see that the Nik Collection installer has identified and listed the compatible host applications on my computer. When I click the Install button, the installation software will install the Nik Plugins for each of these.

If you have an application that the installer doesn’t recognise, you can add it to the list by clicking the small ‘+’ icon at the bottom right of the list. There is also a ‘-’ icon, which you can use to remove an application from the list so that the plugin isn’t installed there.

Updating the Nik Collection

DxO issues updates to the Nik Collection from time to time. The software automatically checks when it starts up to see if it is the latest version. If a newer version is available, you will be prompted to download it. You do this by logging in to your DxO Account, where you will find the option to download the update. The process is then the same as for the installation described above, but you usually don’t need to re-enter your license key at the end.

Troubleshooting Installation Issues

I’m often asked for help with installation and other problems occurring in different software packages. At one time, I did try to help, but the emails became too frequent, and some people became angry if I couldn’t resolve their problems. Because of this and because you have paid a software company for support (not me), I can’t help with troubleshooting.

I can, however, suggest some helpful troubleshooting tips:

  • Did you carefully follow the installation process and read each screen? Often, we are in a rush and don’t read and respond correctly. Repeat the installation and consider uninstalling the Nik Collection as a first step.
  • Read the FAQ articles on the DxO website, which you will find in the resources section below. It’s easy to assume there is a problem when something doesn’t function the way that you think it should. You may well find the answer to your problem in the FAQ article.
  • Search the Nik Collection user forum on the DxO website for possible help. This is also listed in the resource section below.
  • If the above steps don’t help you fix the problem, raise a support ticket on the DxO website. You do this through the Support section of your Account page. This will then take you to a support website, which you may need to register for or sign into.
Nik Collection support requests
  • When raising a support ticket, take time to write your request in a word processor application first. It’s important to make the request short and clear and give all relevant details. Ask yourself if you received the request, would you be able to understand and investigate it?
  • Take time to help the support team to help you. They are often very busy people and will probably try harder to help those with the clearest and best-presented information; this is human nature. Remember too that English may not be their first language.


In this article, I’ve presented information to help install the Nik Collection. The installation process itself is relatively quick and easy to follow. However, it’s often the additional points that I have touched on that cause problems. Hopefully, you will find something in this article useful.

Now head over to my Nik Tutorials page to learn more about how to apply the powerful editing tools in the Nik Collection.

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