How to: a tip for working with Lightroom old presets

Lampetia Cape, Cetraro, CS, Italy

If you, like me, have been messing around with Adobe Lightroom for a bit you’ve probably accumulated quite a few presets, and more importantly you’ve probably come up with some of your own tailored┬áto your own style and work.

Problem is, when Lightroom changed the processing engine, many old presets stopped working. This was necessary because with the new version of the engine, the 2012, the available sliders and their latitude changed as well.

So now, to use your old presets, you should either re-create them in a 2012-process version, or update them to include the “Camera calibration” version. Straightforward enough, IF you remember what you effectively changed from the standard settings to create that particular preset… I don’t remember what I ate yesterday, so you can imagine this wasn’t gonna cut it for me.

But, it turns out, the Lightroom presets files are just normal text files, albeit with the extension “.lrtemplate”, so as long as you use a program that writes simple text (Notepad, for Windows; Smultron or TextWrangler for Mac; Nano or Vim for the Mac Terminal or Linux), one that doesn’t litter the file with other stuff or changes the extension (so absolutely NO to Word, Textedit or any other Office suite) you’ll be fine.

Example of modified preset

So how do you tell Lightroom that that particular template has to be processed with an earlier version of its engine, without having to click every-single-time on the dedicated check box?

Please, make first a backup of the presets you are going to modify, they are extremely small and it will take an instant. It is virtually impossible to screw this up, but Murphy’s Law is always ready to assert its existence.

Done? Then that’s how:

  • Open the template file you want to modify (on a Mac they are usually located into the “YOURUSERNAME/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/Develop Presets” folder) in a text-only program like the ones suggested above
  • You will notice that the various voices are in alphabetical order, so add the following line in the right place (final comma included, see the previous image)
  • ProcessVersion = “5.7”,
  • Restart Lightroom if you did this while it was open

That’s it! This way you will be able once again to have a correct preview of your presets when you hover with your mouse pointer over them without having to first change the image process version.