Video – Lightroom Tip for Using Presets

Today’s tip is from one of the comments on Monday’s “Wedding Day” preset post. Blog reader Nick Noble, left me a comment about installing presets and a different way to do it. Sure enough, there is a WAY better way to install presets in Lightroom. Check out the video to see how. Thanks Nick!

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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36 Comments

  1. GREAT TIP,
    But the only thing i see to taking the short cut is that..

    when you drag to the icon (it works with windows as well, you drag to shortcut icon)
    it places them into the “USER PRESETS” folder.
    Now if your like Matt, and I am..lol, you have so many presets its better to have them in folders separating the types of presets and use to not have to scroll through tons of presets to find the ones you would like.

    great tip though, just to add to it..

    you can then drag it to folders you can create while in the presets appropriate Module.

    maybe we can get Matt to do a video on how to create the folders and organize presets :)

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  2. Nice tip, Matt. While it is quicker, it puts your presets into the root of the ‘User ****’ folder (at least on Windows). I have many sub-folders under this (to help keep track of them), so this will not work in all situations. If I want to install a preset directly into the User, then indeed this is a much quicker way. Mark me down as having one foot in each pool! ;-)

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  3. Thanks! That is a very simple way to install new presets. However, they do get lumped into the User Preset folder and if you categorize your presets, you’ll still have to sort them into your own categories by hand. I don’t like moving presets around within the panel and would rather use the old method of installed so that they go into the right category to begin with.

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  4. In Windows rightclick unzipped preset and select “Open with”. Then select Lightroom (you may have to browse to it) and select OK. The preset will then opn and load as you’re described! Plus next time all you have to do is double click on the unzipped preset!

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  5. Nick and Matt: YOU GUYS ROCK! How easy is that to install a preset! Great job, and a big thank you!

    –John

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  6. Is there a way to install presets pre-organized? That is, my machine at home has hundreds of presets, neatly organized in categories (overall, b&w, vignette, etc). I just installed Lightroom at work and want to mimic my home setup there without having to install all the presets into the main “User Presets” category and then manually sort them. Possible??

    Thanks!

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    • Adam,

      i hear you on organizing..

      here is what i do.
      I unzip the folder and then I copy the presets within the folder and go to
      C:/Documents & settings/user name/application data/adobe/lightroom/ develop presets/ and paste them into the appropriate folder or create a folder for a new category. and tada! all neat and organized. you can also re arrange your presets if you have a mess to start with there. The only thing you can’t do is have sub folders in the folders, lightroom will not pick them up. this works for any type of preset you want to add/install, just go to the appropriate folder for the module (print,develop,slide show ect). the nice thing is that you are making a copy of the original presets you downloaded and can keep all that you download on a different drive and have an instant backup saved else where.

      Ron

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  7. Hi Matt

    Great tip. I just tried the drag and drop method on my Windows (XP) works great.

    Tony

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  8. Thanx Matt ! And thank your kids in the background as well ! Don’t ya just love em !!

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    • Too funny Tim. I didn’t even hear that. I thought I ended it just in time so I didn’t go back to try to redo or cut them out. Ooops. Gotta love the little guys right (even though I asked them to be quiet) ;-)

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  9. It did something funny for me. I’m on Win7 64, when double clicked on the template and associated the file type to Lightroom, it kicked of LR as mentioned and installed the preset BUT LR did not have any of my collections or files, it was just like a brand new install of LR.
    – At that point I hated you Matt –
    But I only had to kill LR and restart to have everything back to normal and the brand new preset installed.
    – So all is well Matt you’re still on my good side :0)) thank you for helping and educating! –

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  10. Hi Matt! I’ve been using this for years and regret I didn’t post it!!! BUT!!! I have a tip to share:

    I was recently struggling to get all of my presets into a new lightroom catalog. It was a real pain to track them down and install them one by one.

    Then I got an idea; I copied the entire Lightroom Settings folder (on MAC) over to my new catalogs folder and presto! Next time I launched lightroom everything was there from presets to upload and export templates.

    A real time saver for those who don’t have the computer power to store all of their images in one catalog.

    CARL!

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  11. The “Weddind Day” Presets can be installed as you indicated on the PC by being in the Library module..Drag the preset over an icon while in the Library module and it will ask you to install.

    Thanks a million for your great contribution to all of us who look forward to the many new features and tips that you share here on lightroomkillertips and all other sites that you contribute to. Please…what happen to photoshopkillertips???? I haven’t seen anything new on that wonderful site….boy, do I miss that!!!

    Thanks, Mike

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  12. I’ve often wondered why you’d go through the whole install thing.
    I keep a shortcut to my presets folder on my desktop. When I unzip a new preset, I simply drag it right into the folder.
    Inside my preset folders, you also see all of the subfolders where I’ve sorted things. So if I’m “installing” a BW preset for example, I drag it right into the BW folder.
    It’s simple. In fact, I thought I was doing things wrong for awhile because I couldn’t believe everybody was making things so complicated ;)

    Post a Reply
    • Jan,

      Brilliant idea!!!

      I like the short cut folder icon on desktop. thats a great time saver to going to lightroom application data folder.

      Ron

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      • I do the same with PS. Brushes, actions – anything I add to a lot, I put the folder shortcut on my desktop. Unzip a new action and just drag it over to the folder.

        Post a Reply
    • Hi Jan

      I have a Mac and Lightroom 3

      I like the sound of your tip of keep a shortcut to your pre-set folder on your desktop.

      I am a bit technically challenged, I be grateful if you could provide me with a step by step on how to do this

      thank you

      Sue

      Post a Reply
  13. I thought everybody did it that way. I typically don’t even open Lr. If you have the template and drag it on top of the unopened Lr icon in the doc it opens right up and then I move it later if I want it in a different folder.

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  14. Hi Matt

    Great tip. I just tried the drag and drop method on my Windows (XP) works great.

    Mark

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  15. Hi Matt,

    I’ve tried to follow you instructions, on Win XP and LR 3.3, but what I can see is that if I drag to the preset bar or import, right click on a Preset cart, the preset will be stored in C:/Documents & settings/user name/application data/adobe/lightroom/ develop presets/ folder even if my choice is to store the presets withr the catalog. Any suggestion ?

    Stefano

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  16. I have been hesitating upgrading to Lightroom 3 because I don’t know how transfer my presets. Do you have any suggestions. Thank you so much, love your tips.

    Post a Reply
  17. Thanx!
    But it sounds more like a Mac commercial, than how to use Presets on Lightroom ;)

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  18. Awesome!!! Thank you Nick!!!!

    Post a Reply
  19. After installing presets on a windows machine when does it store the preset files?

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  20. Best tip ever! Thanks Nick and Matt!

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  21. thanks so much for this tip! i’ve been wracking my brain, trying to figure it out for windows…. awesome help for me today! thanks again!!! :D

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  22. OK, got that, and thanks. But this and many other LR not-really-evident ‘tricks’ make the app pretty heavy for a newbie, and one might consider himself a newbie for quite a long time.

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  23. Hi, love this tip. Worked out how to do it in Windows 7. Unzip file. Pin to the LR icon on the taskbar (i.e. drag it). You will end up with a list of presets. Right click the LR icon. Double click the preset. LR opens and asks you if you would like to install it. Say yes and it puts it in the correct place. Fabulous!! Thanks Nick & Matt! :-)

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  24. Hey Matt,
    In Windows 7 just right click on the preset after extracting, click OPEN and it goes to the install window.

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  25. Hi Matt

    just dragged and dropped in on LR3.3 and it works fine on windows Vista

    Post a Reply
  26. Clicking on the preset (in Mac) will also ask you for the application and then ask you if you would like to install. It usually puts the preset in the User Preset folder.

    Post a Reply
  27. I would be grateful if someone with a Mac would provide

    1. an easy way to organize presets in Lightroom 3. e g. Black and white together etc and how to categorize presets by the way they preform within your photo.

    2. Also the best way to move the presets around i.e move around within the folder (pre-sets user folder ) within the library or

    3. Directly move them within the Lightroom Develop module

    Thank you in advance – please don’t use technical language

    sue
    thank you

    Post a Reply

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