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How do I import my presets into the new Lightroom CC (2017/2018)

Want to import all your old presets into the new Adobe Lightroom CC? If you've recently updated to the new Adobe Lightroom CC (2017/2018), you may have noticed that your existing presets weren't copied over. This happens whether you're using NATE Presets, VSCO Presets or anything else. But luckily, there's an easy way to add all the presets you used in Lightroom 5, 6, 7 and CC (2015) into the new Lightroom CC (2017/2018).

Why am I writing this? Well, since Adobe released their new Lightroom CC (2017/2018) this past week, my inbox has been flooded with emails like "Hey Nate - I got the new Lightroom CC I was wondering how I can go about downloading the presets I bought a while back into the new update."

I responded to 5 or 6 emails manually, and then thought, "hey, I should probably just write a blog post on importing presets in the new Lightroom CC for everyone."

So away we go...

Step 1: Open The Presets Folder for the new Adobe Lightroom CC

The reason that your previous Lightroom presets aren't showing up in the new Adobe Lightroom CC is because Adobe decided to change the location of the presets folder for Lightroom CC.

  • On Mac, the preset directory for the new Lightroom CC is ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom CC/Develop Presets/
  • On Windows, the preset directory for the new Lightroom CC is C:/Users/{you}/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Lightroom CC/Develop Presets/

Fortunately, there's an easy way to find these folders inside of Lightroom CC itself.

First, open up the new Lightroom CC and make sure you're in "Edit Mode."  You can do this by hitting "e" on your keyboard (or the "slider" icon in the top right).

Then click the "Preset" button at the bottom of the editing panel. This will reveal your preset panel.

Once the preset pane slides open, click the "•••" icon, and then click "Open Presets Folder"

And viola - this is the folder you need to add your existing presets into.

Keep this folder handy. This is where we need to move your old presets to.

Step 2: Open the Preset Folder for your previous versions of Lightroom (or Lightroom Classic)

All of your previous Lightroom presets will be in this folder:

  • On mac - ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/Develop Presets/
  • On windows - C:/Users/{you}/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Lightroom/Develop Presets/

(Notice, the only difference is the folder is named "Lightroom" instead of "Lightroom CC").

If you're comfortable navigating the folders, you should be able to find this manually. Or if you have the previous version of Lightroom still on your system, here's an easy way to open that folder:

Inside Lightroom 5, 6, 7 or Classic, navigate to the top menu and select Lightroom -> Preferences

Select "Presets" and then "Show Lightroom Presets Folder."

This shows all the Lightroom preferences, but we want to just see the presets.

So make sure you select the "Develop Preset Folder"

Sweet! Now that we have both locations open, we can start copying over our presets.

Step 3: Copy your old presets into the new Lightroom CC

Now the easy part.

Copy over any presets you want to use in Lightroom CC from the old folder into the new folder. Be sure to take over the whole folders as this is how they will be organized inside of Lightroom CC.


Be sure they go in that empty space there (which is the "Develop Presets" folder) and NOT into the "User Preset" folder. If you try putting a folder into the "User Preset" folder, Lightroom won't read them – basically Lightroom CC only reads presets one folder deep into the "Develop Presets" folder.

Also NOTE: If you want to continue using your presets in previous versions of Lightroom, be sure to COPY the presets over instead of just moving them... if you move them, you will no longer be able to access them in other versions of Lightroom.

Now,  restart Lightroom CC.

When you open up the preset pane, you should see the presets you just copied over. You can now start using them on your photos!

Need Help? Watch this quick video to see how it's done.


Common Questions

What about Lightroom Classic? Do I need to do anything with my presets when I upgrade?
Nope. Presets you used in older versions of Lightroom will continue to be available in Lightroom Classic. They will look exactly the same. You don't need to worry about the new process version, which simply has to do with masks.

Will the presets look the same in Lightroom CC as they did in previous versions of Lightroom & Lightroom Classic?
Yes. All the settings will carry over and will be interpreted more or less the same.

The newest version of Lightroom CC is missing settings, like tone curves and camera calibration. Will all the settings from the presets still work?
Yes. Weirdly, the new Lightroom CC will still apply all the settings in the preset, even for settings that you can't edit directly in Lightroom CC. So in some ways, this means that presets are currently the ONLY way to achieve certain effects in Lightroom CC. I expect (or at least hope) that over time, Lightroom CC will allow direct access to all the settings historically available in previous versions of Lightroom.

Is there a way to use my presets on my phone with Lightroom CC Mobile?
Yes, there is way to do this, and I will share it in another blog post.

Have other thoughts or questions? Leave a comment below!


  1. Susanna

    I bought a preset package from VSCO, and downloaded it, but it doesn’t show on my Lightroom CC. This manual you gave would be useful but I don’t have an earlier version of Lightroom so I can’t copy the files. Would you know a way I could solve this problem?


    • Nathan Johnson

      What happens when you try to install the VSCO package? Try installing it and seeing if it adds files to the old Lightroom directory (even though you don’t have the old Lightroom). If it doesn’t, then try manually creating the old Lightroom directory folder and reinstalling VSCO to see if it adds it then. The old Lightroom directory would be:
      MAC: ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/Develop Presets/
      PC: C:/Users/{you}/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Lightroom/Develop Presets/

  2. Nate, you are my Lightroom hero! Thank you so much!
    So when can we expect the blogpost, how to use the presets in Lightroom CC mobile? :))
    And can you also make a tutorial how to export presets?


    • Nate Johnson

      That’s so kind of you to say, thanks Lisa! 🙂

      The post on Lightroom CC mobile is on my shortlist to do.. So shouldn’t be too much longer now 🙂


  3. Kate Tyler

    I just purchased a package of presets, and when I go to Finder>my user>Library>Application Support>Adobe>Lightroom CC> Develop Presets>User Presets , the package of presets are there. When I go into Lightroom CC>presets>open presets folder> the presets are there as well. However, they do not show up in my presets tab in Lightroom CC. I have tried restarting Lightroom CC and restarting my computer, but I cannot get my presets to work. Please let me know what I can do! Thanks

    • Nate Johnson

      Ok, if you are loading folders filled with presets, those folders need to be in the “Develop Presets” folder (NOT in the “User Presets” folder). So for instance, here is a snapshot of my directory:
      Preset Folders in new Lightroom CC 2018
      If you put a folder inside the “User Preset” directory, it will not show up in Lightroom CC. I know it’s weird, but basically Lightroom CC is only looking one folder deep within the “Develop Presets” directory. You can put individual preset files directly into the “User Presets” folder if you’d like, and then they would show up inside the “User Presets” folder inside Lightroom. But if you’re importing presets, you will likely want to use the whole folder so that it stays organized that way inside of Lightroom CC.
      Please let me know if moving your folders into the “Develop Presets” directory, and restarting fixes it!

  4. Emily

    I am trying to download some presets I bought today, and I also downloaded Lightroom today, but I am struggling. I was able to follow all of your steps until I had to go to “Preferences” and then click on “Presets” after that. But the problem is when I go to the Lightroom tab and click on Preferences, I only have the options to view my Account, Local Storage, General, or Interface. There is no option to click on anything that says Preset. Help?

    • Nate Johnson

      Emily – if you were able to open the preset folder for the new Lightroom CC (step 1), now you just need to drag the presets you bought into that folder (whatever folder has the .lrtemplate files inside) and restart it. You can Watch the video above on how to do that.. (The step you are having trouble on is only for users who are COPYING over presets from the previous versions of Lightroom. If you don’t have one of those previous versions, you don’t need to worry about that).

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