Use Lightroom Presets in Adobe Camera RAW

Use Lightroom Presets in Adobe Camera RAW



If you’re like me, you have some presets that you’ve created in Lightroom that you would like to use in Adobe Camera Raw. Unfortunately the format of the preset files in each program is different so you can’t just install a Lightroom preset in ACR. However you can make an ACR preset from a file that has had that same preset applied to in Lightroom. Here’s how:

Apply the Preset

To begin, open an image in the Develop module in Lightroom. Without applying any other changes to the image, apply the Preset that you want to take to ACR. Here I have applied one of the free Wonderland presets from


Export the Image

Now export the image as a DNG file so that the changes will be written to the file. To do this, right click the image and choose Export > Export to DNG and export the image to folder of your choice.


Open in ACR

Launch Windows Explorer and locate the image on disk. Right click it and choose Open With > Photoshop CS5. Because it is a DNG file, it will open automatically in ACR.


Create the Preset

Click the Presets tab and click the Create New Preset option at the foot of the Presets panel. Type a name for your preset and then select the options that you want to include as part of the preset. Type a name for the preset and click Ok.


The preset will now be available from the Presets panel in ACR and will be able to be used to adjust any image.


Features not included

You should note that while most of the Lightroom adjustments that can be stored in a Lightroom Preset can also be saved as an ACR Preset, one exception is any Graduated Filter adjustment.

In Lightroom any adjustments you make using the Adjustment Brush cannot be saved in a Lightroom preset and in ACR those made using the Graduated Filter cannot be saved either. You will see the Graduated Filter adjustments that you made in Lightroom in ACR if there are any but you cannot save them in your preset as a Graduated Filter adjustment. What you can do however, is to save the settings for the Graduated Filter but not its placement as a separate setting. To do this, click the Graduated Filter icon in ACR to select the tool then click the Graduated Filter to save the settings for. Click the icon in the top right of the Graduated Filter panel and choose New Local Correction Setting and save it giving it a name.

You can apply this to an image in future using the Graduated Filter tool – just select the setting to use from this menu and drag to create the Graduated Filter for the image. The solution isn’t perfect but it can save you some work as shown here with the two Graduated Filters which are part of my Orton Preset for Lightroom. I can apply the preset then switch to the Graduated Filter and quickly apply the two Graduated Filter adjustments with their individual settings.


Advantages of taking Lightroom presets to ACR

One of the reasons you may want to take presets from Lightroom to ACR using this process is to take advantage of the free presets available for Lightroom. There are lots more of these than there are presets for ACR. If you use ACR as well as Lightroom then having your favorite presets available in both program will be useful.

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Helen Bradley is a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at

Some Older Comments

  • Nancy Schober February 22, 2012 08:11 pm

    I was wondering how to do this!

  • Mike Nelson Pedde February 21, 2012 09:13 am

    Depending on your workflow, you can simply export the metadata for the image stored in the Lightroom catalog to the metadata for the file ( for more on how Lightroom works with metadata). In .tif, .jpg, .dng and .psd files this is stored within the image file itself. With raw files, the metadata is stored in a 'sidecar' file, known as an .xmp file. When ACR opens the file it will read the metadata for the image and apply any Develop settings.

    Also, one (temporary) caveat) is that while equivalent versions of LR and ACR use exactly the same processing engine, LR4 Beta, by default uses a 2012 process version that is not yet available for ACR (coming with PS CS6). You can edit an image using the 2010 process version in LR4 and that will be read and applied by ACR 6.x


  • Jarno Heikkinen February 21, 2012 09:10 am

    If you want to apply many presets at once in Lightroom (e.g. experting a folder of presets), you might find my Excessor plugin helpful It can apply a folder of presets on a single image and create a new virtual copy of each one.

    And other way around, can load develop settings into Lightroom from XMP or JPEG files.

  • David February 21, 2012 04:21 am

    This is great, I never realised you could double up a preset for Camera RAW. I totally love the power of Lightroom presets and use them as a starting point for editing. I have created a few available here