Reordering Presets and Preset Groups in Lightroom Classic
Lightroom presets are an incredibly powerful tool for managing and editing your photos quickly and consistently, but as your catalog of presets grows, so too does the time you spend scrolling through those presets looking for the one you want.
Lightroom offers favorites as a way to elevate your most frequently used presets to the top, but stops short of providing the tools to organize a library of presets (especially user-defined presets) via the user-interface. Thankfully, though, there is a way to do just this! In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how presets are organized in Lightroom Classic and how you can reorder them to better suit your workflow.
Presets Panel Anatomy #
The Presets Panel is located on the left side of the photo in the Develop module. Within the panel, you’ll notice a series of sections divided by horizontal lines. Each of these sections is referred to internally by Lightroom as a “cluster”. Each cluster contains one or more preset groups, each containing the presets you’ve added to Lightroom.
In part, these clusters are defined by Lightroom, but the rest is up to the presets themselves. Let’s break this down section by section for clarity:
- The first cluster is always “Favorites”*
- The second cluster is always “User Presets”**
- The next clusters are user-provided presets: a. First, presets that have a group specified and no cluster specified b. Next, presets that have both a cluster and group specified
Preset-defined clusters are ordered alphabetically by their name (that is not shown in Lightroom). Groups within each cluster are also ordered alphabetically by their name. Presets in each group are ordered alphabetically by name, with the one caveat that they can also have a separate
SortName that is only used for sorting. If this is confusing, keep reading.
Preset Files (XMP) #
Presets are defined using the XMP file format, which contains information about the preset’s settings and its name, group, and cluster. By editing the XMP files, you can change the preset’s name, group, cluster, and even its order within the group and cluster.
The XMP format is a superset of XML, which is a text-based markup language that’s fairly approachable and easy to edit, particularly for the purposes of this guide. If you’re not comfortable doing so, a 5-minute YouTube video on editing XML files should be all you need to proceed.
Here is an example preset of mine called “-30 Sat”, which sets the saturation values for each HSL slider to -30, in its entirety:
<x:xmpmeta xmlns:x="adobe:ns:meta/" x:xmptk="Adobe XMP Core 7.0-c000 1.000000, 0000/00/00-00:00:00 "> <rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#"> <rdf:Description rdf:about="" xmlns:crs="http://ns.adobe.com/camera-raw-settings/1.0/" crs:PresetType="Normal" crs:Cluster="" crs:UUID="A2F1825ED7A04243B1766E7E1A2E5963" crs:SupportsAmount2="True" crs:SupportsAmount="True" crs:SupportsColor="True" crs:SupportsMonochrome="True" crs:SupportsHighDynamicRange="True" crs:SupportsNormalDynamicRange="True" crs:SupportsSceneReferred="True" crs:SupportsOutputReferred="True" crs:RequiresRGBTables="False" crs:Version="14.4.1" crs:SaturationAdjustmentRed="-30" crs:SaturationAdjustmentOrange="-30" crs:SaturationAdjustmentYellow="-30" crs:SaturationAdjustmentGreen="-30" crs:SaturationAdjustmentAqua="-30" crs:SaturationAdjustmentBlue="-30" crs:SaturationAdjustmentPurple="-30" crs:SaturationAdjustmentMagenta="-30" crs:HasSettings="True"> <crs:Name> <rdf:Alt> <!-- The name of the preset --> <rdf:li xml:lang="x-default">-30 Sat</rdf:li> </rdf:Alt> </crs:Name> <crs:ShortName> <rdf:Alt> <rdf:li xml:lang="x-default"/> </rdf:Alt> </crs:ShortName> <crs:SortName> <rdf:Alt> <!-- The “SortName” for the preset (currently not set) --> <rdf:li xml:lang="x-default"/> </rdf:Alt> </crs:SortName> <crs:Group> <rdf:Alt> <!-- The “Group” name for the preset (currently not set) --> <rdf:li xml:lang="x-default"/> </rdf:Alt> </crs:Group> <crs:Description> <rdf:Alt> <rdf:li xml:lang="x-default"/> </rdf:Alt> </crs:Description> </rdf:Description> </rdf:RDF> </x:xmpmeta>
There are a lot of lines here, but there are only a few that are relevant.
This specifies the cluster that the preset belongs to. As far as I can tell, the cluster name is never shown inside of Lightroom, but it is used to sort clusters that all belong at the same level. From my testing, the cluster name cannot contain special characters like “&” or it will cause the preset to not show up at all.
This preset doesn’t have a cluster. If we wanted to set one named “Utilities”, that would look like this:
<crs:Name> <rdf:Alt> <rdf:li xml:lang="x-default">-30 Sat</rdf:li> </rdf:Alt> </crs:Name>
The name is what the preset is called in Lightroom, and assuming your presets are in your user folder, you can actually change this value in Lightroom by right clicking on the preset and choosing rename (more on that later).
<crs:SortName> <rdf:Alt> <rdf:li xml:lang="x-default"/> </rdf:Alt> </crs:SortName>
SortName field isn’t shown to the user, but if it’s set, it’ll be used instead of the
Name field to determine the order of your preset. This can be useful for groups of presets that should be listed in a particular order. Adding a hyphen (
-) to the beginning of the name, for example, can cause it to show up below other presets starting with letters—maybe you don’t want that to happen, so you could provide the name without the hyphen at the beginning for the
SortName (or vice versa).
Note that in the example above the value is empty. To set a value, replace
<rdf:li xml:lang="x-default"/> with
<rdf:li xml:lang="x-default">Your value here</rdf:li>.
<crs:SortName> <rdf:Alt> - <rdf:li xml:lang="x-default"/> + <rdf:li xml:lang="x-default">Your value here</rdf:li> </rdf:Alt> </crs:SortName>
<crs:Group> <rdf:Alt> <rdf:li xml:lang="x-default"/> </rdf:Alt> </crs:Group>
As you can probably guess by now, this is the name of the preset group that the preset belongs to within the cluster. This is shown to the user, if it’s set, and if not, the preset will be shown in the “User Presets” group.
Editing your presets #
Armed with this information you’re ready to start editing your presets. But first you have to find them. Depending on how you installed them, they can show up in a number of different places.
In your user Library folder:
In your system Library folder:
You can also find the old
.lrtemplate files in
Adobe/Lightroom/Develop Presets, but those use a different format and should be automatically converted to XMP files by Lightroom, so you can ignore them if you stumble across them.
Once you find your presets, I suggest you move them all into the user-library
Settings folder in Finder, then group them into subfolders matching how you want them to show up in Lightroom, and only then go about editing the preset files themselves. Lightroom will ignore how you’ve organized the presets in Finder and instead just look at the XMP data, but having them organized can help you find your way as you accumulate hundreds (or thousands) of presets.
After making changes to presets, you will need to restart Lightroom to pick up the changes, so it’s best to make all of your changes in one swoop if you can. A text-editor like Sublime Text that allows you to do find-and-replace across an entire folder can come in handy for this.
Lightroom Classic may not have a built-in way to reorder preset groups and clusters, you can still customize the organization of your presets by editing their XMP files. By doing so, you can create a more streamlined workflow and make it easier to find the presets you use most often.
Let me know if you have any questions or feedback on Twitter here!
*Provided you have marked 1+ presets as favorite
**Provided you have at least one preset not in a cluster or group