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When Adobe developed Lightroom they deliberately created an easy to use tool for Photographers. I have lost count of the numerous photographers I have spoken to that have switched from Photoshop to Lightroom to process their images. One of the features that wins common approval is the ability to create and quickly apply presets to photos as well as use presets created by others. But despite Adobe making Lightroom easy to use for the less computer confident, they appear to have forgotten this when it comes to installing third party presets.

This tutorial will explain how to easily identify the folder to which your presets are saved and installed. This will allow you to organise, backup and install presets with ease.

Finding Your Presets Folder

Although Adobe didn’t do you many favours with respect to making presets easy to install, they did include one helpful feature. You can find this in the Preferences dialog which can be accessed from the Lightroom menu by selecting “Edit | Preferences…”

This is a tabbed dialog and one of these tabs is titled “Presets” as seen below.

Preferences dialog showing the Preset tab

Preferences dialog showing the Preset tab

In this tab you can click on the “Show Lightroom Presets Folder…” which will cause the “Lightroom” folder to be displayed. You can see an example below taken from a Windows PC.

The Lightroom folder in a Windows browser

The Lightroom folder in a Windows browser

What confuses many people at this point is that the “Lightroom” folder isn’t actually the folder to which you should install your presets. Instead, you should open the Lightroom folder and in here you will find a number of other sub-folders including one called “Develop Presets” as shown below.

The Develop Presets folder is where to install Lightroom presets

The Develop Presets folder is where to install Lightroom presets

This is the folder to which you should install your Lightroom presets.

Install Lightroom Presets

You could of course copy your presets directly into the “Develop Presets” folder but this would quickly become very messy in Lightroom. Instead a better option is to create further sub-folders within the “Develop Presets” folder. You can then place your presets into these sub-folders to help categorise them for easy access.

Preset folders within the Develop Presets folder

Preset folders within the Develop Presets folder

Once you open Lightroom and switch to the Develop module you will find the folder you created in the presets panel on the left. You can see an example below.

Presets folders in the Lightroom Develop module

Presets folders in the Lightroom Develop module

Further Tips

There are a few more features that might help you in organising your presets:

  • The Presets panel displays its folders and presets in alphabetical order. If you have folders you use more frequently you can prefix them with numbers so that they appear at the top of the list.
  • To move presets between folders you can simply drag and drop them.
  • Lightroom features a number of built in presets where the folders that don’t appear as sub-folders in the “Develop Presets” folder.
  • At the time of writing, Lightroom only supports one level of sub-folder organisation. Therefore placing sub-folders within sub-folders won’t help you.

Further Reading

Please use the Popular Tags cloud at the top right of this page to select related tutorials.

This tutorial has been tagged with the words Lightroom and Presets.


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