A filter half applied to an image of a cow

Lightroom Presets are a popular way to edit images, but if you prefer to use Adobe Photoshop, there’s a way to use them in Photoshop, too—using Adobe Camera RAW (ACR). Let me explain.

Why ACR Is (Basically) Lightroom

adobe lightroom interface

Adobe Camera RAW and Lightroom use the same image processing engine under the hood, with only slightly different user interfaces. This means that Lightroom Presets work in ACR without you having to do any weird tweaks.

In fact, Lightroom Classic and ACR even share the same presets folder. This means that adding presets to Lightroom Classic (but not Lightroom) will automatically add them to Photoshop on the same computer.

However, if you don’t use Lightroom Classic, you can still add presets to Photoshop. Here’s how.

How to Install Presets in ACR

Download and (if necessary) unzip the presets that you want to install. If Photoshop is open, quit it.

preset added to Settings folder

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On a Windows 10 PC, open File Explorer, paste the following address into the address bar, and hit Enter:

C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\CameraRaw\Settings

On a Mac, open Finder, click Go > Go to Folder, paste the following address, and hit Return:

~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRaw/Settings

Copy the preset files into this folder.

Now, you can open Adobe Camera RAW, and the presets will be there ready for you to use.

Note: You need the presets to be in the XMP format. If they’re in the older LRTemplate format, you can use an app to convert them. Alternatively, import them into Lightroom Classic, which will automatically handle the conversion process and add them to ACR.

How to Use Lightroom Presets in Photoshop

With the presets installed in the correct folder, it’s time to use them. There are two ways to do it, depending on the images that you’re editing.

On RAW Images

If you open a RAW image in Photoshop, Adobe Camera RAW will automatically open first. Make any edits that you want, and then click the two overlapping circles icon in the right sidebar (or use the keyboard shortcut Shift+P).

Choose a preset to apply

Find the preset that you want to apply, make any tweaks that you want, and then click “Open” to open the image in Photoshop, where you can finish things off.

Using the ACR Filter

If you don’t shoot RAW images, you can still apply presets to your images using the Adobe Camera RAW Filter—although the results might not be as good.

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Open the image that you want to edit in Photoshop and go to Filter > Camera RAW Filter.

Click Filter > Camera Raw Filter

In the right sidebar, click the two overlapping circles icon (or use the keyboard shortcut Shift+P).

Now, you’ll see a list of all the available presets. Select the one that you want, make any additional tweaks or edits to your image, and then click “OK” to go back to Photoshop.

Choose a preset to apply

If you want to be able to undo or dial down the effects of the ACR filter after you’ve applied it, you should convert your image to a Smart Object first.

Harry Guinness Harry Guinness
Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like The New York Times and on a variety of other websites, from Lifehacker to Popular Science and Medium's OneZero.
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