Today’s Question: What are the pros and cons of checking the “Store presets with this catalog” checkbox in Lightroom Classic?
Tim’s Quick Answer: I recommend that most photographers leave this checkbox turned off. The potential advantage of turning it on is that presets can be easier to find and share across more than one computer. However, turning the option on is not a universal solution and can cause some confusion.
More Detail: By default, Lightroom Classic stores presets in a somewhat “hidden” location within your user folder for your operating system. However, there is an option on the Presets tab of the Preferences dialog to instead store presets with the catalog. This can make it a little easier to find your presets and enables you to share presets across more than one computer if you’re moving your catalog between them, such as on an external hard drive.
However, there are some issues that cause me to recommend leaving the “Store presets with this catalog” checkbox turned off.
To begin with, turning on the option to store presets with the catalog won’t affect all presets, with certain categories of presets still stored within your user folder structure on the operating system hard drive.
In addition, turning on the option to store presets with the catalog will only affect new presets, and will not cause existing presets to be moved. So, you would need to move the presets manually, which creates its own set of challenges.
As many readers know, I recommend using a single Lightroom Classic catalog to manage all photos. If you store presets with the catalog, that means you would have individual sets of presets for each catalog you use. If you’re using more than one catalog this could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your perspective.
Ultimately, I recommend leaving all presets in their default location. You can always get quick access to the location where presets are stored by clicking the “Show Lightroom Develop Presets” or the “Show All Other Lightroom Presets” button on the Presets tab of the Preferences dialog.