How To Install Lightroom Presets

how to install lightroom presets
Lightroom presets are a great way to make a sequence of changes to a photo or a whole batch of photos with a click of a button. Sure enough, presets can save you heaps of time and enhance your images, but how exactly do you install them? This step by step list will show you how to install Lightroom presets in less than 2 minutes. The method is demonstrated on Lightroom CC, but the process is virtually the same on all Lightroom version and works for both – Mac and Windows.

Here is a video guide from Sleeklens that explains how to install Lightroom presets on MAC and Windows. The installation guide is for Lightroom 5 and 6

For making this guide easier for different platform users, we are going to split this installation method into Windows and Mac procedures

Windows procedure

Start by finding the folder where you have downloaded your presets. The majority of the time presets will be downloaded in an archive, e.g. zip, rar formats. The presets will not install as a ZIP or RAR file, so the first step is to extract the files. If you are unsure how to extract files, check your preferred search engine on how to “unzip files.” Once the files are extracted, you can identify your preset files by the file extension “.lrtemplate”. If you are using Windows you can ignore the archived MAC_OSX folder, by default it will appear empty. Once you find all the ‘.lrtemplate’ files it is best practice to save them with your other downloaded presets in a separate location and create a backup copy of that folder.

Open Lightroom and go into the Develop module, in the drop-down menu on your left side you will find all the presets that are installed in Lightroom. At the moment it will not feature your new presets; to fix this we have to find the folder where all these presets are installed.

Develop - Presets Location

The fastest way to locate the ‘Presets’ folder is through the ‘Edit’ tab in the Lightroom toolbar, which you will find at the top left of the screen. When you click ‘Edit’ a drop-down menu will appear and towards the end of the list you will find the ‘Preferences’ tab.

Lightroom Edit Toolbar

Once the ‘Preferences’ panel is open, find the ‘Presets’ tab – it is the second tab in the ‘Preferences’ panel. Inside the ‘Presets’ section click ‘Show Lightroom Presets Folder’.


explorer window

If you prefer to work with the Path on Windows Explorer, here is the address location of the folder:

Computer\[c:]\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Lightroom\Develop Presets

To install your new presets go back to the folder were you have downloaded your presets and copy the “.lrtemplate” files (Ctrl + C for Windows). Once the files are copied go back to the ‘Develop Presets’ folder that should still be open and paste presets you downloaded here (Ctrl + V for Windows). Your new presets are now loaded into Lightroom. Restart Lightroom and you should see them in your ‘Presets’ drop-down menu.


Mac procedure

In case we are working with Mac, things can become a bit more complicated. Even if the procedure for installing Lightroom on Mac is actually easier than doing it in Windows (thanks to OSX friendly platform), accessing to system folders is way more complicated to do than with Windows Explorer.

In my opinion, the easier path to follow is actually entering in Lightroom, go to the Edit menu and access the Preference options.


Under this new window, we have to switch to the Preset tab, and just like Windows, access the ‘Show Lightroom Presets Folder’ button for opening in Finder the location of the Lightroom Presets Folder.


Enter the ‘Develop Presets’ folder, and start copying inside our Lightroom Presets Folders. In Mac mostly is quite important to keep creating folders for accessing in a quicker way the Lightroom Filters when opening Lightroom.


Did you find this tutorial useful? Now that you know how to install Lightroom presets, try reading our guide on the best free 50+ Lightroom presets to download.

Common Errors Found While Installing Presets

Whereas this procedure may seem easy and friendly, several inconveniences can be found while trying to install our Lightroom Presets: let’s troubleshoot them!

1) Forgetting to Extract the Presets

Perhaps the most common mistake to do! Presets, usually packed in ZIP files for convenience, ought to be extracted prior being installed, otherwise, Adobe Lightroom won’t recognize those files on its interface. Simply use the services of a file extractor software as WinZip (we recommend WinRAR as it can be common to come across with RAR files), or even your PC’s own extractor (in case you work with Windows 8 or superior).

2) Encrypted files

Another common inconvenience comes by the hand of encrypted files. Those files, that can feature such protection protocols in order to avoid unwanted access to them won’t be available to be used until you follow the very next procedure:

Right-click on your preset file, then select Properties. Go to Advanced and uncheck the last box about encrypting content for data protection. Now you will be able to use your presets.

3) Presets not being shown in the Preset Panel

In case Presets are not properly displayed, all you need to do is go to Preferences in Lightroom’s Edit Menu, and under Presets tab, uncheck the “Store presets with this catalog” option. This way, presets won’t be restricted to a specific catalog and will be available to us regardless of where you happen to be working.

4) The issue with Old Presets

Some ancient presets, crafted for LR2-3 versions won’t be compatible with versions above LR4. The reason for this is because several tools were replaced, like the Fill Light slider, hence presets won’t find the tools to apply the adjustments needed and you are likely to encounter several warnings, if so while applying the effects.

5) Presets feature new tools that aren’t available for older LR Versions

A common inconvenience for those users who hasn’t upgraded to the latest version of Adobe Lightroom. Many presets can be crafted under the specifications of Adobe CC or Lightroom 6 tools, which are not available for previous versions – In case you encounter a message that says the tool needed to perform the action isn’t available, that’s the reason why such warning is displayed.

Be sure to always backup your files, as viruses can bring chaos to your system built and lead you to lose your valuable presets. Either on an external memory drive, CD or whatever storage medium you like, keep the habit of doing periodical backups to avoid further inconveniences.

Good luck!

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