The Export Window Part 1

The Export Window Part 1

This post was updated on June 25th, 2020

Learning Adobe ® Lightroom

In the previous article of this series, we learned about how to rename our photos within Adobe ® Lightroom. Today it is time for the Export Window Part 1 so that we can get our post-processed images ready for publication online or by print.

How to access the Export Window?

There are multiple ways of getting to the Export Window. One thing they have all in common. You need to mark one or more photos before opening it. To mark more than one photo in the filmstrip or the Grid view, press <CMD>/<Ctrl> while selecting the files you want to export.

In the Library Module, you have the Export button at the bottom of the left panel to access the Export Window. However, you can also open the Export Window from the File Menu, the Context menu, or by using the short key. These options are not only available from the Library Module, but from all other Modules as well.

Accessing the Export Window from the File Menu of Adobe ® Lightroom
Accessing the Export Window(s) from the File Menu

The File menu gives you access to four different ways of exporting.

  1. Export… opening the Export Window. It allows you to make all kinds of settings before exporting your files.
  2. Export with Previous which exports the marked files with the same settings that you have used in your last export.
  3. Export with Preset which allows you to use predefined Export settings for your file export.
  4. Export as Catalog, which is the only one that creates a new Lightroom Catalog instead of merely exporting your files. This way can be helpful if you want to share your work with someone else, to continue the post-processing, for example.

The first three ways of exporting are also available via the context menu or the Export button. However, the Export as Catalog is only available via the File menu.

Accessing the Export Window from the Context Menu
Accessing the Export Window from the Context Menu

Let’s use Export… for now.

Overview of the Export Window

Export Window in Adobe ® Lightroom
Export Window in Adobe ® Lightroom

In the header of the Export Window, you can see how many photos you have selected for export. In the example above, I only chose a single file.

Export To

Export To Section of the Export Window in Adobe ® Lightroom
Export To Section

You then have to choose where you want to export to, which can be your hard drive, a CD/DVD, or email. If you chose email, the file size of your export is restricted. Furthermore, you automatically get your mail program opened to send the email too. Below the light grey line, you see some export to options that have been installed by plugins that I am using. These might differ on your installation, depending on which other programs you have installed on your computer.

On the top lefthand side, you can choose between different predefined presets. In the bottom left, you can choose actions that are performed on your exported file. Finally, on the right side, you can make all kind of settings to define your export. We’ll go through them in detail in just a minute.

Presets in the Export Window

These Presets have nothing to do with the Presets in the Develop Module, that help you store settings for white balance or specific exposure settings. They only help you to save the configurations that you make in the Export Window for later exports.

Export Presets
Export Presets

As you can see, I can choose presets from five different sections. Lightroom Presets are predefined settings that come with your Adobe ® Lightroom software. User Presets are settings that you have used before and stored yourself. Moreover, the other three are Presets that have been installed by other software programs that came with Adobe ® Lightroom plugins. So in a fresh installation of Adobe ® Lightroom, with no other plugins installed, you should only see the first and the last preset section. Also notice the little checkboxes before the preset names, which allow you to select multiple presets to export with at a time.

Adjusting presets

You can choose whatever preset fits your needs and then go to the right side of the Export Window and change some settings for this particular export too. Of course, you can save your new settings into a new preset as well. You save your settings, by simply clicking the Add button at the bottom of the Presets window. This opens a little pop-up window to specify a name for the preset and a folder.

Storing a new Export Preset
Storing a new Export Preset

You cannot access the directories that Plugins or Lightroom created for you. However, if you do want to organize your Export presets, you could make directories for specific usages. For example, create one folder for your Social Media file exports, or one for your photo lab.

Choose the directory in which you want to save your new preset by clicking on the Folder selection list. This also gives you the option to create a new directory as shown in the next figure.

Select Preset Folder / Create New Preset Folder
Select Preset Folder / Create New Preset Folder

If you want to create a new folder for your preset, click on New Folder… This opens the Window shown in the following figure.

New Preset Folder Window in Adobe ® Lightroom
New Folder Window

Enter a descriptive name into the Folder Name field and click Create. Bear in mind, though, that these directories cannot include sub-directories or be themselves sub-directories of the User Preset directory.

The New Folder window closes, and you return to the New Preset window with the newly created directory chosen in the Folder field. Now enter a Preset name and click Create in the New Preset window to finish the process.

Editing existing presets

As you may have noticed, there is no option to overwrite or edit existing presets. The only way to achieve this is to create a new preset under a new name and delete the old one.

Deleting export presets

To delete a preset, you only have to select it, and then click the Remove button in the bottom right of the Presets box. This button is greyed out as long as no preset is selected.

Export presets from other vendors

Presets that belong to software from other vendors, like here Photomatix, can open your file(s) in that program. Photomatix, for example, would expect you to choose at least three exposures of one image to combine them into an HDR using settings and selections that you make in Photomatix.

Exporting using multiple presets at once

With the November 2019 update of Adobe ® Lightroom, a new option of exporting images using multiple presets at once was included in the Export Window. This option is useful if you want to export one photo for multiple usages, for example in multiple sizes for different Social Media channels. Instead of exporting with one preset at a time, you check all presets that you want to use and export for all of them in one session.

Exporting using multiple Presets in one Export
Exporting using multiple Presets in one Export

In the example above I chose to use my Landscape Instagram preset and my Facebook preset. Both create JPEG files, however, I could have chosen one preset to create TIFF files and the other one JPEGS or some other combination as well.

Notice the information at the bottom of the Export Window about how many presets are selected and that some selections are now unavailable.

Now, of course, it does not necessarily make much sense to export all files into the same directory. This is why, after clicking on the Export button a new window opens, which allows you to choose which preset should export to which directory.

Choose the Export location for Multiple Presets
Choose the Export location for Multiple Presets

If you click on the Choose… button next to the preset name a Finder/Windows Explorer Window will open and allow you to select a directory on your hard drive. Confirm the selection by clicking on the Choose button.

Export Location set for Multiple Presets
Export Location set for Multiple Presets

Click Done to start the export, once you have made your choices.

If your Presets have specified directories into which they save the exported files, you will not get to choose the export location for them here.

Post-process Actions

Some plugins, like my LR/Instagram plugin, execute some actions after the file export from Adobe ® Lightroom finishes. You can find these on the lower left side of the Export Window. There is, to my knowledge, no way of defining your actions for this section though.

Post-process actions in the Export Window
Post-process Actions in the Export Window

However, this does not mean, that you are unable to specify post-export actions for your exports. These are part of the Export Settings, though, that we will cover in the next article of this series.


All trademarks and copyrighted items mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

I am in no way affiliated with any of the products used in this post-processing process. I do not receive any kind of compensation for this article, it was neither offered or asked for.

THIS BLOG ARTICLE “The Export Window Part 1” IS NOT AUTHORIZED, ENDORSED OR SPONSORED BY ADOBE SYSTEMS INCORPORATED, PUBLISHER OF ADOBE ® LIGHTROOM

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