Instructions for Installing Lightroom Presets

What is a Lightroom preset?  Find out here!

Follow Directions Below for the Step by Step Instructions

If all you’re doing is downloading one Lightroom preset that you’ve downloaded online or something like that, installing presets is really simple.

Go to the develop module in Lightroom. Select a photo. Right click > import and you can import the preset you just downloaded.

When you want to import a collection of presets, however, we have to do it a little differently because we want the entire folder of presets to be imported so that they are nicely organized in your library.

Before you begin, backup your current Lightroom presets. Every once in a while, I’ve seen Lightroom create problems and lose presets when others are installed.

Step 1: Here we are going to create a dummy preset. Select a photo and go wild with your sliders. It doesn’t matter what you do to alter the photo. Then hit the plus button and we’re going to call this “random”. Underneath where you name the preset, click inside the folder box to select a folder. Go to new folder and name it “random”. Click create.

Now we should have the new preset that we made showing up in Lightroom on the left under Presets. Right click on that > show in finder OR for Windows, it’s going to say show in Windows Explore. Great! Now if we look at the folder trail, we can see where Lightroom saves any new presets.

Step 2: Locate presets folder. Open up a new finder window or a new Windows Explorer window then find the the presets you just downloaded. Usually after you download something, you can find it by going to your recent downloads on your computer.

When you find the presets you just downloaded, they are going to be zipped and you have to unzip them. To unzip them either double click the presets, or right click on the presets and mouse over the unzip option. Or use an unzip program if you’re using an older computer.

Step 3: Locate the file you just unzipped. Select all of the files and hit control > copy. Go over to where Lightroom puts your presets folder and click paste.

Step 4: Restart Lightroom. When you restart Lightroom, all of the presets should be there for you to mouse through and they should be there nicely in folders for you.

If you wish to further your knowledge in using Lightroom or simply Lightroom presets, you can go to our article A Beginner Introduction to Lightroom Presets. I have been working on my presets for years and I have lots available for free on my website. I know you’ll love them.

63 thoughts on “Instructions for Installing Lightroom Presets”

  1. Rachel Lindstrom

    Okay, that was a lot easier than the last time I tried to install presets. Thank you for the tutorial. I’ve been using the presets for a couple hours now and going back to all my older photos to try them out. I gotta say… AMAZING! You have a loyal customer right here.

    1. Up one folder level from “Develop Presets” there is one named “Local Adjustment Presets”
      Put the Brushes in this folder and restart Lightroom.

  2. Jim,

    I have Lightroom 3.6 , when I try to import the Presets I don’t see anything from lightroom folder browser , where as i can see all files in windows explorer is it some thing to do with my LR version.


  3. Jim, Many thanks to your people who went way above and beyond to get my brushes and presets in LR. There was a glitch but Darin worked with me and Jesse just kept after it until it was resolved. You have a super good team!

  4. I’m having problem once I’ve downloaded the file, selected all the new presets.
    I created a new Folder in User Presets.
    Now, I’m lost on finding how and where I need to copy and paste the new Presets.
    I’m using a Mac.

    Thanks for your help.
    I know I’m missing something simple, but I’m stuck.


    1. arnold cohen

      I’m using Yosemite and the instructions didn’t work for me either. I managed to install the presets but they didn’t appear in the intended folder.

      Ira, right click on any preset and select “show in finder.” At the bottom of the finder window the path to that preset will be shown. Double click on “develop presets” so that folder shows up in finder at the top. Then paste the six folders on some white space in Finder.

      Hope this helps.

  5. I had the same exact situation as Arnold above. The presets installed fine. But the hierarchy didn’t appear the same as in the video, they were scattered all over the place in my lightroom presets area instead of being in one folder. So I went back to the develop presets module and changed the file names to be all similar because I believe lightroom alphabetizes.

  6. In your how to video regarding your presets you say to create a “random” folder. What do I do with it once I’ve downloaded the presets?

  7. How do I contact you for help installing my Preset2015 package? I have watched your video but cannot unzip any of the presets, and am told i do not have the proper application to open them. Very frustrating that there is no way other than a “forum” to receive help. Jim P.

  8. Love these presets! Thank you! It took rereading instructions and viewing the video, but overall it’s an easy install if you take your time and really pay attention. : )
    I’m almost 64 and pretty techy, but anyone should be able to install the presets.

  9. I Love these presets! Thank you! It took rereading instructions and viewing the video, but overall it’s an easy install if you take your time and really pay attention. : )
    I’m almost 64 and pretty techy, but anyone should be able to install the presets.

  10. Love the presets. How do I find your free training video on these presets. Found it once but unable to relocate it. Thanks, Ian

  11. Trying to figure out to back up & install presets on my Mac & totally lost. Just downloaded Lightroom so don’t know much about it. Thanks for any help you can give me!

  12. I purchased lighroom presets when it came out a few months ago on your website. I just subscribed to LR CC this week. The instructions on improve website and video to install is not working on LR CC. I don’t know if its because I’m still on the 30 day trial, but when I right click on a random preset I made, there is no option for “show in folder”. The only options are “new folder, rename, delete folder and import.” Now I don’t have any idea what to do next. Thanks.

  13. After unzipping the 2016 Lightroom Steal, there are no folders but rather individual files. This is different from what is shown on the video. Therefore, when importing these presets into my Lightroom preset folder, they are unorganized. Unfortunately, there is no reply email for customer service therefore I am leaving a public comment in the hopes that someone in Improve Photography will see this and get back to me.

    1. Vince,
      Same for me, I am using Windows 8, so a little more confusing. However, yes there is s step missing. I can CTRL A copy but my experience tells me to paste into Random, then rename this folder IP (Improve Photography). would you agree?

    2. I am using Mac OS X Yosemite and am having the same issue as Vince. When I open the downloaded file, the presets and other objects in the downloaded folder are not organized into sub folders. I’m holding off on the install just in case the presets were supposed to be delivered in in a format that grouped them into folders. Thank you very much!

    3. Vince, same issue here. There are no folders in the unzipped version. So when they import it’s just a jumbled mess of presets. This isn’t nearly as useful as the LR presets steals in the past. Let’s hope Jim and company fix this or at least tell us which presets should go in which folders.

  14. @ Vince & @ Jenny — same for me, I did not have the folder structure, just the 100+ preset files. I am on a Mac running Yosemite 10.10.5. Like others, I can absolutely get all the presets into Lightroom just fine. @Improve Photography, could you just send us some screenshots or file organization. Otherwise, I may just try to organize them myself based on their names. thanks.

  15. Instead of creating a folder with a random name, create it using something like IP 2016 Steal Presets. Then copy the preset files into that folder. You can delete the dummy preset file after restarting LR.

    1. Just to be clear, this does nothing to resolve the issue I posted about above. I’m looking for folders for each batch of presets. For example, last year a couple of the folder names were ” B&S – 2015 Improve Photog” and “Boosts – 2015 Improve Photog.”

      It’s important to me because many of the names are not explicit enough to know if they are portrait, landscape, or generic adjustments. We’re going to need some help with this one.

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