In Case Your Presets Go Missing

I got a question recently from someone in a panic because they thought all of their presets had disappeared. Well, the presets had disappeared, but only from view and only when certain photos were active (selected) in Develop.

Partially Incompatible Presets

You see, there was an update back in December of 2018 that brought with it a change in Develop preset behavior when a selected photo was incompatible with some (or all) settings contained in a preset. Let’s say for example you have a JPG selected in the Develop module and you expand one of your preset folders containing presets that contain a camera profile as one of the settings. In that instance you could experience a disappearance of all incompatible presets (because you can’t apply a raw profile to a JPG) or those affected presets may simply appear in a sort of grayed-out italics font.

The difference in behavior comes down to a setting on the Preset panel of the preferences. If you go to Lightroom > Preferences > Presets (PC: Edit > Preferences > Presets), and look in the Visibility section you’ll see a checkbox for Show Partially Compatible Develop Presets. When checked (the default setting is checked), the presets in my example above will appear in the panel, but they will be grayed-out and italicized. That means you can click them to apply settings, but Lightroom is telling you that at least one setting in that preset is incompatible with the selected photo, so you may not get the result you intend.

If the Show Partially Compatible Develop Presets box is unchecked, then you won’t see any presets that can’t be fully applied to the selected photo. I don’t think there is necessarily one right answer here as long as you understand what happens in both cases (and now you do).

The person I originally got the question from must have unchecked that preference setting and forgot, and the result was a moment of panic until I directed them back to that preference setting. An easy mistake to make. I prefer leaving the option checked and getting the visual reminder about how a preset might function as opposed to not seeing them at all. At the very least it usually reminds me to check the file type of the selected photo, and simply selecting the raw version puts me back on track. Hope that helps someone else!

Author: Rob Sylvan

Rob Sylvan is a photographer, educator, and aspiring beekeeper. He is the author of many Lightroom and photography related books, eBooks, and videos. Rob also answers all of the Lightroom questions on the KelbyOne Help Desk. Follow along on Instagram @sylvanworks.

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  1. i am having the same problem… i’ve copied the presets over to the folder, they are there, but not showing up in lightroom. I have rebooted lightroom and the computer as well and nothing seems to work. I can import one preset at a time, but have A LOT in folders that i would like to just be able to simply add without this nonsense. Please help.

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  2. I’m using Lightroom Classic, version 8.2. All of my presets are visible, and I get the image preview when I hover over an image. However, when I click on a preset it won’t apply changes to the selected photos. This goes for the presets that come preinstalled with Lightroom and my own presets.

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    • That’s odd. Have you tried a reboot to see if it was just a strange glitch? Never heard of that happening before.

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      • Rebooted computer, closed and restarted Lightroom, logged in and out of Adobe Creative Cloud services. Yeah, it’s just plain weird (and persists).

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        • Can you try creating a new (test) catalog, import a few test photos into it, and seeing if the behavior persists there too?

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          • Thanks for replying. I created a test catalog, imported some photos, and the same thing happened.

          • Thanks! Resetting the preferences seems to have done the trick.

  3. I had a similar case where the presets were physically gone from the folder. Luckily I was able to go to my other computer and copy the presets over to the folder and restore them. I now keep a backup copy of my presets on a network drive.

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