Edit Lightroom Classic photos in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements

Lightroom Classic allows you to open and edit your photos in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, or another photo-editing application. Lightroom Classic uses Photoshop or Photoshop Elements as the external editor if you have either application installed on your computer. You can also specify an external editor in Lightroom Classic preferences.

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Try it in Adobe Lightroom Classic
Get in-app help, tips, and learn-resources within the Discover panel.

When you open a photo from Lightroom Classic directly in Photoshop, you have several options to choose how you want to make an edit. You can edit the photo in its current format, or open it as a Smart Object. You can also merge a series of shots into a panorama, merge to HDR, or open two or more photos as one layered image in Photoshop. When you save edits to a photo in Photoshop, Lightroom Classic automatically imports the new photo into the catalog.

Watch this video to learn how to edit Lightroom Classic images in Photoshop.

To edit your photos using an external editor, you can follow the steps given below:

  1. Set or check your external editor.


    To edit a photo using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements from within Lightroom Classic, you must have one of those applications installed on your computer. 

    • In Lightroom Classic, select Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Lightroom Classic > Preferences (macOS).
    • Select the External Editing tab.
      If Photoshop or Photoshop Elements is installed on your computer, it appears as the designated external editor.
    • You can also change applications by selecting Application > Choose in the Additional External Editor section.
    • See External editing preferences for more on the options in this dialog box.
    Lightroom Classic CC External Editing preferences
    The External Editing preferences window lets you designate Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or another editing application as an External Editor.

  2. Select a photo to edit.

    In the Lightroom Classic Library or Develop module, select one or more photos and choose one of the following:

    • Photo > Edit In > Edit In Adobe Photoshop [version number]
    • Photo > Edit In > Edit In Adobe Photoshop Elements [version number]

    You can also right-click on the photo and select Edit in.

    edit-in menu in Lightroom Classic
    Select Photo > Edit In and then the external editor you want to use.

    If you’re opening a camera raw file, Photoshop opens the photo directly.

    If you’re opening a TIFF, JPEG, or PSD file, choose to open a copy of the photo with Lightroom Classic adjustments applied or open a copy of the original photo.

    Lightroom Classic CC Edit In options
    Choose how you want to open a TIFF, JPEG, or PSD file in Photoshop.

  3. Edit in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

    Lightroom Classic opens your photo in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

    Perform your desired edits in that application, and when you’re ready, select File > Save.

  4. Return to Lightroom Classic.

    You can also switch back to Lightroom Classic. In the Library Grid view, a new version of your photo appears next to the original. The new photo contains the edits you made in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. The original photo is untouched.


    When saving from Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, be sure to turn on the Maximize Compatibility option so that Lightroom Classic can read the images. Photoshop automatically saves PSD files from Lightroom Classic with maximum compatibility.

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