Traveling with Lightroom Classic - Enable "Store Presets with this Catalog"
First a bit of background...I use Lightroom Classic on a desktop with a single master catalog. One of my biggest frustrations with all versions of Lightroom has been the processes around traveling. I spent quite a bit of time setting up keywords and the various presets (import, file naming, metadata & develop) and I want my laptop to access the identical configurations so I have a common workflow and results. My primary goals when traveling are on a daily basis to clean off my camera flash cards, backup images, import into Lightroom, organize/keyword and do basic editing to help rate the images. I typically do not attempt any heavy lift editing while traveling.
Now for the issue...Being an IT guy I understand the issues and complexity surrounding multi-user networked applications. So I understand why Lightroom is a single user application. However, Adobe kindly allows us to install Lightroom on two different systems under the same license/CC subscription but they don't give us a clean and easy way to synchronize settings between the two systems. With the recent release Adobe called the v7.3 "upgrade" things became even worse with the way they changed some preset storage locations.
If you haven't heard or been impacted by the v7.3 "upgrade" I won't go into the gory details. Here is a link highlighting some of the more common issues.... https://forums.adobe.com/thread/2473756. What is not discussed in-depth are the changes made to where the various preset files are stored. Develop presets moved to a new location as part of the CameraRaw settings. Even a bigger issue has been the inconsistency of how this was applied as part of v7.3. v7.3.1 resolved some of the conversion and consistency issues but these changes and issues still forced me to modify my Lightroom configuration and enable "Store presets with this catalog".
Before making this change... If you work with multiple catalogs on one computer, think twice before enabling "Store presets with this catalog". I'm not saying don't do it, just make sure you fully consider your workflow and understand you will have to manually sync every preset and template.
The process....Here is the process I followed to enable "Store presets with this catalog" on my existing master catalog (it's not a big deal but it's also not as simple as clicking the checkbox). This process has already been documented by many others but here I added a couple of steps to help cover gotchas I encountered and a capture few missing details.
- Open the folder currently containing your presets and templates. Read the Adobe help page at (https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/kb/preference-file-and-other-file-locations---lightroom-6.html) for default locations. For example, on my Windows 10 system I opened
"C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Lightroom\". The presets and templates are stored in sub-folders (e.g. Export Presets). Later in the process I will refer to these folders as "original".
- Open a second folder window and find the directory containing your catalog. Verify there is not an existing "Lightroom Settings" sub-folder. Later in the process I will refer to these folders as "new".
- Open Lightroom
- Backup and Optimize desktop master catalog (see my post at https://blog.toddbackmanphotography.com/2018/06/lightroom-classic-cc-manual-backups.html if you need help with a manual backup)
- From the Lightroom menu select Edit | Preferences...
- Select the Presets tab
- Check the "Store presets with this catalog" checkbox (this may take a few mins to complete)
- Exit Lightroom
- Open Lightroom
- Double check and make sure your presets still appear and function properly.
- Exit Lightroom
- Open your new folder window and review the changes. You should now see a new sub-folder named "Lightroom Settings". Open this folder and open each one of it's sub-folders. You will notice most of the folders are empty. If you use Lightroom Classic 7.3 or newer, under the Lightroom Settings folder you will see sub-folder named "Settings". Open this folder and you will notice it is not empty. Adobe automatically migrated your develop presets. Why Adobe decided to migrate the develop settings but nothing else is beyond me. If you don't do anything else Adobe will leave all your current presets and templates in the original location and anything new to the new folders. What a nightmare! Continue on to clean up the mess Adobe didn't.
- Now open the original folder window side by side with the new folder window. You will notice Adobe created several identically named folders under the new Lightroom Settings folder.
- Before beginning the folder cleanup there are three sets of original folders I did not touch... Preferences, Develop Settings & Modules. Preferences are general Lightroom preferences which contain machine specific settings. The Develop Settings should already have been migrated. Modules are Lightroom plugins which are also machine specific. The Plugins I want on my laptop (e.g. focus points) I will manually install. Most plugins (e.g. Smugmug) I don't want when traveling.
- For each of the other identically named folders, move (do not copy) all the files from the original folders to the new folders (e.g. original Export Settings to new Export Settings) If for some reason you run into issues you can always copy the files back to their original locations.
- For the remaining preset and template folders Adobe did not create under the new Lightroom Settings folder, I took a very conservative approach.
- Copy (don't move) each folder from the original location to the new Lightroom Settings folder.
- Rename the original folder so Lightroom will not see it when starting up
- Open Lightroom
- Check all your presets and templates
- Assuming everything looks good, go back to the original folders delete the preset and template files and rename the folders back to their original names. If you have issues, delete the new folders under Lightroom settings and rename the original folders their original names.
- At this point you are done and should be able to copy your master catalog and Lightroom Settings folder to your second computer for traveling.