In general, the process of loading new presets into Lightroom will always be similar, regardless of the version. However, the exact steps for installing presets will depend on the type of format and the version of Lightroom that you are using.

Below are specific guides for installing presets according to your version of Lightroom, whether it’s for desktop or mobile device.

Please note that these instructions are general and may vary slightly depending on the specific version and configuration of Lightroom you are using.

How to install a preset in Lightroom CC

What to consider before installing a Lightroom preset

It’s important to have a clear understanding of which version of Lightroom you are using and what type of presets you need. Additionally, when working with presets, it’s essential to define an organization and keep the presets organized by folders according to the type of editing each one offers. With a well-organized repository of presets within Lightroom, it will be easier to select the type of editing you are looking for. It’s also recommended to maintain this organization with the original files so that if you switch computers or editing programs, you can easily transfer the files.

Types of presets

There are currently three Lightroom preset formats: .xmp, .dng, and .lrtemplate.

Lrtemplate presets were used in older versions of Lightroom, but this format is now outdated, although some users may still want to load these presets or convert them to .xmp to use them in current versions of Lightroom.

The .dng (Digital Negative) preset format is an image file that contains information about the editing settings. This file includes information such as exposure adjustments, tone, saturation, among others, that are applied to an image when the preset is applied. Dng presets are compatible with a wide variety of image editing applications, making them very versatile.

The .xmp (eXtensible Metadata Platform) format, introduced in Lightroom versions from 2015 onwards, is currently considered the standard format. Unlike other preset formats, the .xmp format is not linked to any particular editing software, making it an open standard and accessible for various image editing applications. In fact, the .xmp format has become the de facto standard for the transfer of adjustment information between image editing applications, allowing users to apply editing adjustments on different platforms.

What preset format does my Lightroom version support?

  • Lightroom 6.0 and earlier: .lrtemplate
  • Lightroom CC Classic: Supports .xmp and .dng presets. Additionally, it includes develop presets and local adjustment presets for brush and gradient.
  • Lightroom CC: Supports .xmp presets and the ability to sync presets across devices on the Adobe cloud. Local adjustment presets for brush and gradient are also supported, but only in the desktop version of Lightroom CC.
  • Lightroom Mobile (iOS/iPhone app): Supports loading .dng format presets as well as the ability to create custom presets. However, it is currently not compatible with loading .xmp format presets.
  • Lightroom Mobile (Android app): Supports loading .dng and .xmp format presets.

General instructions for installing a preset

As explained above, installing a preset depends on the format and version of Lightroom, but there are basic steps that apply to any installation:

1- Download
Download the preset file to your computer or mobile device, always remember to verify that the source is trustworthy and safe to avoid any risk of malware or virus.

2 – Unzip the files
Presets usually come in a .zip or .rar package, so you’ll need software to unzip them.

3 – Save them to your device
We recommend that you save them to your device in an organized way so that you can easily retrieve them in case of need due to a change of computer or editing software.

4 – Open Lightroom and import the presets
This step may vary depending on the file format and software version. Generally, we need to access the “presets” section within the editing menu and click on “import presets.” A navigation tab will open where we can select the file.

5 – Save the preset
Once we import the file, we will always have it available in our “presets” menu. It is important to save them in an organized way so that we can easily navigate when editing photos. Remember that you can organize their location within Lightroom in the “manage presets” tab.

6 – Apply the preset
Now you can try the preset on any photo in Lightroom. Remember that you can modify the settings based on the base that each preset incorporates to further adapt the editing to the photo. Additionally, you can also save that modified preset as a new preset by clicking on “create preset” within the “presets” tab.

Frequently Asked Questions when installing a Lightroom preset

No, Lightroom presets do not directly affect image quality as they only apply preset adjustments to image parameters, such as contrast, saturation, sharpness, etc. However, if extreme adjustments are made to image parameters when applying a preset, there may be a loss of quality in the image due to noise amplification or loss of details in overexposed or underexposed areas.

If with the preset you don’t get the expected edition, there are a few things you can do:

Adjust the preset settings: presets are only a starting point, not a perfect solution for all photos. You may need to adjust some settings after applying the preset to better suit your photo.

Edit manually: if the preset doesn’t work for your photo, you can always manually edit to achieve the desired look. It may be slower than using a preset, but it allows for greater control over the final result.

Try different presets: not all presets work for all photos, so if one doesn’t work for your photo, try another.

Seek help: if you can’t achieve the desired look with a preset, look for online tutorials or ask other Lightroom users for help in finding a solution.

Yes, it is possible to use Lightroom presets on Lightroom Mobile. However, you need to make sure that the preset format is compatible with the version of Lightroom Mobile you are using. Additionally, it is important to note that not all settings that can be made in the desktop version of Lightroom are available in the mobile version.

Custom tone curves: custom tone curves that can be created in Lightroom Classic or Lightroom CC cannot be created in Lightroom Mobile.

Fine color adjustment: the fine color adjustment function is only available in Lightroom Classic and not in Lightroom CC or Lightroom Mobile.

Lens correction panel: the lens correction panel is not available in Lightroom Mobile, but some lens correction adjustments can be applied automatically when importing images.

Split toning: split toning is an advanced tone and color adjustment tool that is only available in Lightroom Classic.

Healing brush: the healing brush in Lightroom Mobile is limited compared to the desktop version, but can still correct spots and problem areas in the image.

It is important to note that although there are some limitations in Lightroom Mobile compared to the desktop version, it is still a powerful tool for editing photos on mobile devices.

Yes, it is possible to convert .dng presets to .xmp and vice versa. You can consult our guides for more information.