If you need to find Lightroom’s files at any time, you’ll need to know where to look, so here are the most popular Lightroom file locations.
By default, the boot drive is C:\ on Windows and Macintosh HD on Mac. If your operating system is installed on a different drive, you may need to replace the drive letter/name on the file paths that are listed below.
[your username] refers to the name of your user account, for example, mine is called Vic.
Windows—C: \ Users \ [your username] \ My Pictures \ Lightroom \ Lightroom 5 Catalog.lrcat
Mac—Macintosh HD / Users / [your username] / Pictures / Lightroom / Lightroom 5 Catalog.lrcat
The catalogs are fully cross platform, and the catalog file extensions are:
*.lrcat is version 1.1 onwards.
*.lrdb was version 1.0.
*.aglib was the early beta.
Windows—C: \ Users \ [your username] \ AppData \ Roaming \ Adobe \ Lightroom \ Preferences \ Lightroom 5 Preferences.agprefs
Mac—Macintosh HD / Users / [your username] / Library / Preferences / com.adobe.Lightroom5.plist
Preference files aren’t cross-platform. By default, Preferences are a hidden file on Windows and Mac OS X.
On Windows, you can open the Start menu and type %appdata%\Adobe\Lightroom in the Start menu search box and you’ll be taken directly to the Lightroom user folder.
If you want to always show the hidden files and system folders, open an Explorer window and go to Organize menu > Folder and Search Options. Under the View tab, you may select ‘Show hidden files, folders, and drives,’ and I also like to uncheck ‘Hide Extensions for Known File Types’ as the extensions can be useful. Then click Apply to implement your changes. Bear in mind that those folders and files are hidden for good reason, so be careful if you decide to change these options.
On OS X, the user Library folder is hidden by default. If you go to Finder, select the Go menu, and hold down the Opt key, you’ll see Library appear in the menu, and then you can navigate to the Preferences or Application Support folder. Personally, I drag that Library folder to the sidebar so that it’s always easily accessible.
Windows—C: \ Users \ [your username] \ AppData \ Roaming \ Adobe \ Lightroom \
Mac—Macintosh HD / Users / [your username] / Library / Application Support / Adobe / Lightroom /
Each type of preset has its own folder, for example Develop Presets, Filename Templates and Metadata Presets. Presets are cross-platform and are saved in a Lightroom-only format (.lrtemplate).
If you’ve checked the ‘Store presets with this catalog’ checkbox in Preferences, they’ll be stored next to your catalog file instead.
To find them easily on either platform, go to Preferences > Presets tab and press the Show Lightroom Presets Folder button.
Windows—C: \ Users \ [your username] \ AppData \ Roaming \ Adobe \ CameraRaw \
Mac—Macintosh HD / Users / [your username] / Library / Application Support / Adobe / CameraRaw /
Your Develop default settings, lens defaults and custom point curves are shared with ACR, so they’re stored in the shared location, regardless of your ‘Store presets with this catalog’ setting.
Windows—C: \ Users \ [your username] \ AppData \ Local \ Adobe \ CameraRaw \ Cache \
Mac—Macintosh HD / Users / [your username] / Library / Caches / Adobe Camera Raw /
Lightroom 5 no longer uses the shared ProgramData (Windows) / Application Support (Mac) folders for Camera or Lens Profiles. Instead, it stores the built-in profiles with its program files.
When you create camera or lens profiles, they must be stored in the user locations listed below. If you previously stored custom profiles in other locations, you’ll need to move them to these user folders, otherwise Lightroom won’t be able to find them.
Windows—C: \ Users \ [your username] \ AppData \ Roaming \ Adobe \ CameraRaw \ CameraProfiles \
Mac—Macintosh HD / Users / [your username] / Library / Application Support / Adobe / CameraRaw / CameraProfiles /
For the lens profiles, substitute the LensProfiles folder for the CameraProfiles folder.
The camera and lens profile file extensions are:
.dcpr—camera profile recipe file used for creating/editing a profile in the DNG Profile Editor
A few of the menu commands are in different locations on Windows and Mac, depending on the operating system standard. Rather than repeating them every time I refer to Preferences or Catalog Settings, here’s a quick reference:
Lightroom Preferences & Catalog Settings are…
Windows—under the Edit menu
Mac—under the Lightroom menu
Photoshop Preferences are…
Windows—under the Edit menu
Mac—under the Photoshop menu