Tutorial: How to import presets into Adobe Lightroom

Written by on September 24, 2008 in Tutorials - 27 Comments

Some people have contact me and asked how they manage to “install” the presets they download, into Lightroom. It’s really not that hard. A few simple clicks and you´re set to go for the effects. The best way to describe this is simply by showing you a screencast i just made a few minutes ago. Grab a handful of popcorn cause that’s all you can eat before the movie has ended :-)

About the Author

If you are a Lightroom lover like myself you probably going to adore this place. It's the paradise for all people who are looking for Lightroom presets. Make sure you subscribe to my posts to be first with the latest contributions. I wish you a very pleasant stay. Regards, Pierre

27 Comments on "Tutorial: How to import presets into Adobe Lightroom"

  1. akeara January 1, 2009 at 3:16 am ·

    I dont see a preset button on the side. Am i doing something wrong or do i not have the same version as you. Ive looked everywhere and i cant install these. Please email me if you can and help. Thanks

  2. Pierre January 1, 2009 at 3:10 pm ·

    Check your mail Akeara.

  3. ula July 2, 2009 at 2:46 pm ·


    I’m having a similar problem as the rightclick does result in opening “new folder / import” option in my version (2.0). Could you help me? I would greatly appreciate this.

  4. Pierre July 2, 2009 at 3:00 pm ·

    Hi Ula,

    If you’re in the “Develop”-mode in Lightroom, you should see the Preset menu to the left.
    Your sidebars might be hidden and that could be the reason to why you can’t see them.
    If they are hidden you’ll see a small arrow instead of the sidebar. Pressing this arrow will expand the sidebar.

    Remember. You have to be in the “Develop” mode. Press “D” on your keyboard to enter Develop mode.

    Please explain further if this didn’t solve your problem.

  5. Lisa July 2, 2009 at 4:48 pm ·

    Hello, I have had some trouble with importing presets as well. I uploaded about 8 of the presets from your site and downloaded them to a folder on my desktop. When I first uploaded them they were folders with zippers on them, whick I understand that they are zip files. Then I followed the directions by going into lightroom 2, develop tab, i located the presets on the left panel, right clicked on “user presets”, selected import, ….pause…the first time i did this, after selecting import the box appeared for me to select the folder it was in, after doing that all the presets appeared in there and so i clicked on one and imported it. It worked just fine. the preset I imported was just a test and it wasn’t one that I would probably use regularly so I right clicked on it in user preset and deleted it. So, I went back the next day to import the rest of the preset I hade downloaded….doing the exact same thing but this time after I selected the import option, it opened up the locator box, I located it as I had done before BUT THIS time it doesn’t show that there are any presets in there. At the bottom of that box is the “file type” and it won’t give me any other options to see different types of files in it. It only let’s me see “Supported files (*lrtemplates)” and it basically tells me there isn’t any in that file. But when I go to the file on my desktop and open it, they are all still in there AND now they are not little folders with zippers on them they all are white rectangles with a big Lr’s on them. ??? I called Adobe and they are not any help because they say that this is not an adobe supported website. *note* I called a friend of mine who also has lr, she said she was able to import all the presets before, but NOW she is having the same trouble I am all the sudden*?? Any insite on this?? HELP! L~

  6. Lisa July 3, 2009 at 2:40 am ·

    It’s me again! Sorry about the huge long message I left before! :( I DID figure it out FINALLY! How frustrating…it was an easy fix….my wonderful vista driven gateway was not extracting the files properly! So even though I thought they were extracted…they weren’t…so Lr could not import them. What a day!

  7. Pierre July 3, 2009 at 5:20 am ·

    Hi Lisa,
    great you found out how to solve it!

  8. Adam December 12, 2009 at 8:54 pm ·

    Just discovered your site and loving it but here’s my dilemma. When I try to download a preset this pops up, “Safari can’t open the file “PH Childhood BW.lrtemplate” because no available application can open it.”. I have a Macbook, is there any settings I should tweak or what application do i need to download them. Thanks.

  9. Pierre December 12, 2009 at 11:13 pm ·

    Hi Adam,
    First, you need to download the file to your desktop. Safari might try to open it directly (when you click on the download button) but that is not what you want! First download it, then install/import the file in Adobe Lightroom. Perhaps it works better if you ctrl-click on the “download” link and chose “Download linked file as”?

    Pleas let me know if this solved your problem.
    Best regards, Pierre

  10. Ivan R January 13, 2011 at 7:16 am ·


    The problem that I am having is that when I “right-click” on user presets, the window that is supposed to pop up doesn’t.

  11. Ivan R January 13, 2011 at 9:11 am ·

    I found my mistake…..I was just going to install the presets but not try them till tomorrow so when I was right-clicking on user presets….I just had a blank background (you need to import a picture and have it on display so that the small window pops up when you right click) feeling so dumb right now hahahah thanx anyways!! =0)

  12. bycostello February 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm ·

    thanks for presets and telling me how to install!

  13. Nina March 29, 2011 at 12:01 am ·

    Hey there! i have a similar problem to Lisa’s. so i downloaded some presets and i followed your video and everything was easy but when i went to the folder i created under documents to import my presets they weren’t there, At the bottom of that box is the “file type” and it won’t give me any other options to see different types of files in it. It only let’s me see “Supported files (*lrtemplates)” and it basically tells me there isn’t any in that file. but when i just open the folder through my computer not through light room it shows that there all there. i tried saving them as zip files and as all files, neither is working? HELP!

  14. Nina March 29, 2011 at 12:04 am ·

    also not sure if this helps but its says “no items match your search” in teh folder where my presets should be showing.

  15. Pierre March 29, 2011 at 9:59 am ·

    The downloaded file needs to be extracted. If you’re on a PC your file icon probably look like a yellow folder (I think). You can right-click the file and select to unzip its contents (the presets with a filename ending .lrtemplates). If you’re on a MAC you simply just double-click the file to extract it. Once you’re files are extracted they will be found in the import-presets-window in Lightroom.

  16. Joby W April 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm ·

    thanks for the hook up folks
    inverting happily now

  17. Erin October 19, 2011 at 4:54 am ·

    Hi, Keep clicking on user presets and nothing is happening! I succeeded in importing one preset and when I went to do another, the window will not pop up! Please help!

  18. Erin October 19, 2011 at 4:55 am ·

    Just to clarify, I mean the window that allows you to import. I am in develop, I am in in user presets, but no pop-up window with the right click!

  19. Mandee February 21, 2012 at 2:43 am ·

    When I download the file it saves as a .zip file. When I try to extract the files it says the folder is empty.

  20. Pierre February 21, 2012 at 7:24 am ·

    Hi Mandee,
    Can you please share what page / preset we are talking about?

  21. Karl March 24, 2012 at 9:00 am ·

    Thank you very much for posting this tutorial.

  22. Heather Corle May 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm ·

    This makes it so much eaiser to understand why is it that no one adds this to there invoices when you buy or get presets thank you for this.

  23. Kelly March 15, 2013 at 12:23 am ·


    I’ve followed all the directions, and as you say, it is quite simple. Here, however, is my problem: when I attempt to “right click” under user presets to download my presets, nothing happens when I actually “right click.” The word “import” does not appear. In fact, nothing happens when I “right click.” Could it be because I am using a Macbook Pro? Please help.


  24. Kelly March 15, 2013 at 12:34 am ·

    I am rescinding the above comment. I Figured it out. Thank you, though. Have a great day!

  25. Sheri November 9, 2013 at 6:52 pm ·

    I like Kelly have been trying to right click also, I’ve done this before, but for some reason it will not bring an option for me to import, help please.

  26. steven February 20, 2014 at 1:17 pm ·

    Hallo thanks for your site appreciate it very much i have lightroom 4 have develop mode open, have presets up have located user presets but no matter wher i right click nothing happens.

    thanks for your help

  27. jennifer graham March 2, 2017 at 12:56 am ·

    i have many presets that i have had no trouble installing in LR. I have some new ones that when i extract the files (unzip , windows 10) and try to open the folder to copy and paste the presets to LR, the files are DS_Store files instead of lrtemplate like usual. Do you know what i should do?

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