Lightroom Classic: Preset Management is extremely frustrating

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Importing and sorting presets is time-consuming, unpredictable, and sometimes fruitless. FWIW, I'm using the latest version of LR Classic on a MacBook Pro.

I’m going to attempt to explain some of the behavior I’m experiencing, but it seems Lightroom does different things at different times, and I can’t say any of this behavior occurs 100% of the time.

I tend to purchase preset packs from various sources, and when importing these preset packs, Lightroom is entirely unpredictable in how they are handled. 

If I click the "+" on the preset panel and choose "Import Presets," it will put the entire pack under the category of "User Presets." I'm not given an option to import them into a new folder of their own.

If I want to put them into a different folder, I have a few options, none of which really make any sense.

  1. I can create a new folder, but to do this, for some inexplicable reason I am forced to create a new preset so that I have the option of creating a new folder. Then I have to go back and delete my temporary “dummy” preset. Why can’t I just create a new empty folder? Once the new folder is there, I can manually move each preset—sometimes as many as 100—into a new folder. This is extremely tedious and time-consuming.
  2. I can rename the "User Presets" folder; however, when I choose to show the presets in Finder, the folder name doesn't change, and in fact, the newly imported presets aren't even stored with the rest of my presets (~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRaw/Settings). Instead they are in a separate folder called "Imported Settings" (~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRaw/ImportedSettings). 
  3. I can try importing them directly into the folder where I want them. This involves creating a new folder and the “dummy” preset as described above, and then right-clicking on the folder where I want them to go and choosing “Import Presets.” This has resulted in the most erratic behavior, as there have been times when this has worked. There are other times when the presets did not show up in the folder I clicked, instead showing up under “User Presets.” And there have been times when it seemingly worked, but when I checked where the preset file was stored in Finder, it was not in the corresponding folder but instead stored in a “User Presets” folder under “ImportedSettings” (as previously mentioned). In other words, it looks correct in Lightroom, but on the back end, the presets themselves aren’t in a correspondingly-named folder the way the rest of my presets are stored.
I would expect preset management to be a simple as image file management, but it’s far from it. The above is just a few of the recent issues I’ve been experiencing. 
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Joey Pasco

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Posted 2 months ago

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dmeephd

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I never use the Lightroom process for importing presets as it is, and always has been, buggy and unpredictable.

Like you, I tend to purchase a lot of presets.  I place them in a uniquely and memorably-named folder and copy and paste the entire folder into the 'Develop Presets' folder in the Lightroom Settings using Path Finder (or Finder if you don't have this add-on application).  When Lightroom restarts, viola!  The presets are there exactly where and how I wanted them to be.

I never let Lightroom do my thinking for me.  It's just not very good at it.
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Joey Pasco

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Oh wow, I didn't know this was possible! Thank you!!!!

Are you moving the .xmp files or the .lrtemplate files?

And I assume you're putting your presets here?
~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/Develop Presets
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dmeephd

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Good question.  I just upgraded to LR 7.5 and all of my existing presets were converted to .xmp files, annotated with a ~~ in front of the filename.  They still have the extension .lrtemplate.

I haven't acquired any presets in the past 10 days, and I'm pretty sure that when I do, they won't be in the .xmp format.

However, I learned that LR 7.5 will parse the Develop Presets directory upon start-up and perform the conversion before allowing LR to work.  (I found this out because the install resets the tick-box of 'Keep presets with catalog' to null.  So when I first opened up LR 7.5 none of my presets, including the keyword presets, were migrated.  I had to go into LR preferences and tick the box.  Then the keyword presets showed up.  After restarting LR, it announced that all of my Develop Presets would be converted to the new format.

That took 18 bloody hours!  (But it worked.)

Methinks that if I had pre-converted presets (in .xmp) format, I would just copy them as before.  I do not see why this wouldn't work for LR 7.5 when this always worked in the past when the presets were simply ASCII text files (with special headers).

After all, an .xmp file is just an ASCII text file with different syntax and characters—it ain't black magic!
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dmeephd

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Sorry Joey, I missed your last line.

No.  I have my presets in the Lightroom Settings folder with the catalog and preview filesets.  Placing them in the ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/Develop Presets is not reliable as I discovered to my chagrin.  They more often that not would not appear.  This might be the true and correct behavior when the tick box 'Keep presets with catalog' is checked.

However, if you have success with the path you have above, then by all means keep on trucking.  I believe my lack of success occurred—unbeknownst by me—when I elected to keep my presets with the catalog.  I believe, and the LR experts can either confirm or not, that the location of the presets changes to the same folder where the catalog is when this option is selected.
(Edited)