A few weeks ago, I put together a new Mac workstation, and I’ve been slowly migrating my applications and data from my old MacBook Pro to the Mini. This weekend, I installed Lightroom on the new system, and I wanted to copy over all of my presets to the new computer, as well.
There are a few different ways to move your presets and templates across computers. Which strategy you use depends on how you use Lightroom and how many presets and templates you have.
Storing Presets and Templates With the Lightroom Catalog
One option for making your presets available on multiple systems is to store them with the catalog itself. This is particularly useful if you store your catalog on an external drive or on something like DropBox or Google Drive. When you open up your catalog in any instance of Lightroom, you’ll have your presets available without needed to copy them across systems.
This option is also useful on shared instances of Lightroom as it allows each user to see only their own presets stored in their catalog.
Exporting Individual Presets
For most users, it is more practical to store presets and templates with the Lightroom application, especially if you want to have those items available across multiple catalogs. In that case, you will need to manually copy your presets between systems.
If you only have a few presets, you can export them one at a time from inside Lightroom.
On a Mac, control-click on the preset you want to export and click Export…
On the Export Preset dialog, give the preset a name and select a location.
Click Save, and Lightroom will generate a .lrtemplate file in the location you selected. Copy the file over to your other system.
On the target system, navigate to your preset list, control-click on the preset folder, and click Import…
Lightroom will import the preset and store it in the preset folder. You no longer need the .lrtemplate file, so you can either delete it or save it as a backup.
Exporting In Bulk
I don’t have a huge collection of presets, but I have enough that exporting them one at a time was not an ideal solution.
On the Mac, the presets for Lightroom are stored in the Library folder under your user account. The Library directory is hidden by default, so you won’t find it by pulling up Finder. However, it is easy enough to get to.
The most direct way to get to the folder is to open up your Lightroom Preferences, select the Presets tab, and click the Show Lightroom Presets Folder… button.
Finder should open in to the Lightroom library folder, typically: (user home directory)/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom
I did run in to a glitch on one system where Lightroom would not pull up the hidden directory. In that case, I had to manually navigate through Finder to the preset folders.
Again, since the Library folder is now hidden, you will not be able to click on it in Finder. Instead, in Finder, select Go \ Go To Folder… and enter “~/Library/” . Note: the ~ character is a reference to your user’s home directory.
A new Finder window will open in the Library folder. From there, navigate to the Lightroom folder:
(user home directory)/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom
The Lightroom folder has a number of subfolders that you may want to copy from, depending how how extensively you use the presets and templates.
Develop Presets: These are the presets that will show up in the Develop module of Lightroom.
Export Presets: These presets are used in the Export module.
External Editor Presets: These presets are used for the “Edit In” menu and are managed in the External Editing tab of the Preferences dialog.
Filter Presets: These presets used when you use the Library Filters.
FTP Presets: These presets contain your FTP server information for things like the Web module.
Import Presets: These presets contain settings used in the Import module.
Local Adjustment Presets: These presets are used by the adjustment brushes.
Metadata Presets: Your metadata presets.
Once you find the presets you want to copy, it’s simply a matter of copying the template files from one computer to the other, ensuring that you are putting them in the right preset folder on the target system. If you just mirror what you have on your old system, you should be fine.
The next time you open Lightroom, you should see your Presets.
If you use templates for slideshows, books, prints, or web, there are “Template” folders in the same location, so you can copy your templates to another instance of Lightroom using the same technique.
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