Newer versions of Adobe Lightroom have changed the way Lightroom presets are used. Around the time Adobe Lightroom CC was introduced, Adobe quietly changed the format from *.lrtemplate to *.xmp. Now people are finding that their presets are not appearing in Lightroom CC like they normally would.
Installing your Lightroom presets and brushes remains easy, because the conversion from *.lrtemplate to *.xmp is handed during the import. This means that your old Lightroom presets are compatible with Adobe Lightroom still.
But where did your presets disappear to? Somewhere in the change of format, Lightroom decided to hide the partially compatible templates. Here’s how you can get them back.
Why are my Lightroom presets not appearing in Lightroom CC?
This morning I opened my copy of Lightroom Classic CC and was about to edit my photos with my existing develop presets. I’ve used these Lightroom presets for years, but this morning, they were gone. Then I found out why.
Lightroom has made some changes that are easy to fix. Your develop preset folder is as it was, but now it ignores presets that it deems to be incompatible.
Even if all of your premium and free Lightroom presets are in the new *.xmp preset format, they can be considered incompatible. But don’t worry, they are actually still compatible with Lightroom CC desktop.
Why? Well, Lightroom feels that they are doing you a favour by letting you know that they are not compatible.
The reason that Lightroom sees the presets as incompatible is due to a mismatch in the colour profile the preset is referencing. That has a minimal impact on your photo or the style the preset applies, but Lightroom can’t tell the difference between how severe those impacts can be.
Even the high quality, VSCO presets which are heavily used by many professional photographers, now are considered incompatible if you don’t have the correct colour profile on your computer.
Some professional photographers may argue that a colour profile is really important. It is. For some Lightroom presets and photoshop actions. It really depends on how much of the colour profile the preset relies on.
By default, the preset uses the Standard Lightroom colour profile.
How do I fix it?
Fixing the issue of your presets not appearing in Lightroom is a simple fix.
Lightroom Classic CC
- Click ‘Lightroom’ at the top left
- Click Preferences
- Click on the ‘Presets’ tab along the top of the Preferences window that appears
- Check the box that reads ‘Show Partially Compatible Develop Presets’
- Your presets should re-appear where they normally are
- Go to the ‘Presets’ panel
- Click on the three horizontal dots to display the dropdown
- Click on the ‘hide partially compatible presets’ option to unselect it
My presets appear but they’re greyed out. Why?
All of the partially compatible Lightroom presets you have imported into your version of Lightroom will appear grey.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use them, it just means they’re incompatible for one reason or another.
Is this a bug?
Partially compatible Lightroom presets are not a bug. It’s not because you have a corrupted version of Adobe Lightroom.
Adobe changed the way that Lightroom presets are referenced in newer versions of Lightroom.
Throughout the process of making your incompatible Lightroom presets appear, you’ll see an option that says ‘store presets with this catalog’. That’s something that is not recommended. If, for one reason or another, your catalog corrupts and you can’t retrieve your presets.
Best practice is to still store your presets, for any type of photography, in your usual preset directory. That’s the default one that they are imported into when you import them into Lightroom initially.
Enjoy all of your professional Lightroom presets, back to how they were in the first place!