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You use External Editing preferences to specify the file format and other options for editing camera raw and DNG files in Photoshop Elements and external image-editing applications that cannot read the mosaic sensor data in camera raw files. The options that you specify in External Editing preferences are also used by Photoshop when you save camera raw and DNG files from Lightroom Classic in Photoshop. Finally, you also use External Editing preferences to select external image-editing applications.

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Lightroom Classic > Preferences (Mac OS).

  2. Click External Editing.

Set preferences for working with camera raw files in external editors

Lightroom Classic opens camera raw and DNG files directly in Photoshop CS3 (10.0.1) or later. However, Lightroom Classic must send either TIFF or PSD copies of camera raw and DNG files to Photoshop Elements and to other external editors that cannot read raw data. In the External Editing preferences, you specify the file format, color space, bit depth, and compression for the TIFF and PSD files that Lightroom Classic sends to these editors. To best preserve color details in photos sent from Lightroom Classic, 16-bit ProPhoto RGB is recommended. If you open camera raw files from Lightroom Classic directly into Photoshop and save them there, Photoshop uses the settings you specify in Lightroom Classic External Editing preferences for the files that it saves.

  1. In the External Editing preferences dialog box, choose options from the following menus:

    File Format

    Saves camera raw images in either TIFF or PSD format. See Supported file formats.

    Color Space

    Converts photos to the sRGB, AdobeRGB, or ProPhoto RGB color space and tags them with the color profile. See How Lightroom Classic manages color.

    Bit Depth

    Saves photos with a bit depth of 8 bits or 16 bits per color channel (red, green, and blue). Files that are 8 bit are smaller and more compatible with various applications, but do not preserve the fine tonal detail of 16-bit files.


    (TIFF only) Applies either ZIP compression or no compression to photos. ZIP is a lossless compression method that is most effective for images that contain large areas of single color.


    Uses the template you specify to name the file. Select a template and specify custom text or the start number of the filenames. See The Filename Template Editor and Text Template Editor.

Choose an external editor

You can designate an application to be used as an external editor in the External Editing preferences dialog box. After you choose an application, you can always use Preferences to change to a different application.

  1. In the External Editing preferences, click Choose in the Additional External Editor area.
  2. Navigate to and select the application to use, and then click Open (Windows) or Choose (Mac OS).


    You can also select an external editor by choosing Photo > Edit In Other Application from the Library or Develop module. You’ll be prompted to navigate to and select the application to use. After you choose an external editor, the name of the application appears as Edit In [Name of Application] in the Photo menu.

Create an external editor preset

You can create presets for external editors in the External Editing preferences dialog box. External editor presets allow you to specify multiple applications as external editors and create different photo-handling options for multiple uses with one or more external editors.

  1. In the External Editing preferences, choose an application and specify camera raw file options.
  2. Choose Preset > Save Current Settings As New Preset.
  3. Type a name for the preset and click Create.

    Lightroom Classic adds the new preset to the Preset menu.

Edit an external editor preset

  1. In the External Editing preferences, choose an external editor preset from the Preset menu.
  2. Change the application or camera raw file options.

    Lightroom Classic appends “(edited)” to the end of the preset name.

  3. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Preset > Save Current Settings As A New Preset to create a new preset. Type a name for the new preset and click Create.

    • Choose Preset > Update Preset “[preset name]” to overwrite the existing preset with your changes.

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