Installation and Management of Lightroom Plugins
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Plugins are added and maintained via Lightroom's Plugin Manager, which is accessible from Lightroom's File menu, and also from a button on the Export Dialog itself.

Here's a screenshot of the Plugin Manager on my system, after I installed half a dozen plugins. At the moment, it's showing my “Metadata Wrangler” plugin selected. Mouseover the labels at left to highlight areas of the screenshot...

(Mouseover items below)
  • List of plugins I've
    already registered
  • Register new plugins here
  • Info / tools for the
    highlighted plugin
  • Some plugins provide
    additional sections
  • Opens Adobe's
    Plugin Exchange
    in a browser

Installing a New Plugin

(short version)

Installing a plugin for use with Lightroom 2 and later usually involves these steps:

  1. Downloading a zip file from a trusted plugin source.
  2. Unzip the plugin, and move the resulting “...lrplugin” folder to wherever you'd like to store your plugins.
  3. Bring up Lightroom's Plugin Manager and register that folder with the Add button.
    (If prompted for a catalog update, do so.)

Installing a New Plugin

(long version)

1. Download a zip file from a plugin source

Plugins are available from a variety of sources. My plugins are available from my Lightroom goodies page. The central listing of Lightroom plugins is Adobe's Lightroom Exchange.

Warning: a Lightroom plugin has as much access to your system as Lightroom itself, so for most people this means that a Lightroom plugin can access (and read/delete) any file on your system, so when choosing to install a plugin, exercise the same prudence you would use when downloading programs from the Internet. Just as when choosing to install a program, choosing to install a Lightroom plugin involves trusting that the programmer is both trustworthy and competent.

After unzipping, you should end up with a folder whose name ends in “.lrplugin” or“.lrdevplugin”. On a Mac, a “.lrplugin” folder actually appears as a “module” package.

You don't normally ever need to be concerned with the contents of a plugin folder, but if you need to confirm that the folder actually contains a plugin in the first place, check for an “Info.lua” file. (On Macs, you may need to “Show Package Contents” in Finder to view the files inside.) I mention this because some programs that produce zip files create a “....lrplugin” folder into which they drop the actual plugin “.lrplugin” folder, which can cause confusion.

2. Move the plugin folder to wherever you'd like to store your plugins

Lightroom allows you to keep the plugins wherever you like — you just have to tell it where you place each one — so it's up to you to pick a spot to save them. Perhaps a "Lightroom Plugins" folder in your "Documents"?

When you "Add" the plugin to Lightroom, you're just adding a reference to the location. It's only natural to think that a copy of the plugin was made when you "Add", but Adobe doesn't do that, so be sure not to delete the plugin from disk.

3. Register the plugin with Lightroom

Bring up Lightroom's Plugin Manager, either from the File menu, or from the Plugin Manager button on the Export Dialog. Click the Add button, then navigate to the “.lrplugin” folder.

Some plugins add their own set of per-image metadata to the catalog, and for such plugins, you are prompted for permission to update the catalog upon install. You should upgrade.

For example, my “Upload to Flickr” plugin maintains in the catalog data about which images have been updated to Flickr, and their location at Flickr. This supports a number of features, such as the ability to replace an image during upload, the ability to filter within Lightroom for images that have/haven't been updated, the ability to include the Flickr-upload-status in Lightroom smart collections, etc.

You are also prompted in the same way when upgrading a plugin if the new version has any changes to the set of custom plugin metadata.

Using an Export Plugin

An export plugin can be selected by bringing up Lightroom's export dialog, then clicking on the “Files on Disk” banner across its top. That brings up a popup list of the export handlers available (both the built-in ones, and the ones you've added via the Plugin Manager)....

Using a Filter Plugin (a “Post-Process Action” Plugin)

Some plugins aren't intended to be an export destination, but, rather, to provide generic support for any export. For example, my Metadata Wrangler plugin allows you to strip selected metadata from exported copies as they are produced. It can be used with the built-in “Export to Disk” standard export, with my “Export to....” plugins (e.g. Export to Flickr), or with other third-party export plugins.

Adobe calls these “Post-process Actions”, but most people call them “Export Filters”.

Once you've added and enabled a filter plugin via the Plugin Manager, it shows up in the lower-left of the export dialog....

Click on its name, then the Insert button at the bottom, and you'll see it added to the main dialog. In the screen snippet above, the “Metadata Wrangler” dialog section is shown collapsed, so you only see its banner. If you were to click on the little triangle beside the name, you'd see the full dialog for the plugin, which, in this case (my Metadata Wrangler filter) is huge (see here for a screenshot).

Plugin Maintenance & Upgrades

Once a plugin has been registered with Lightroom, you can enable or disable it from the Status section of the Plugin Manager. A disabled plugin can't be used from within Lightroom, but remains registered in the Plugin Manager, so can be easily enabled for use.

You can fully de-register a plugin with the Remove button, on the bottom of the left-hand column. Plugins installed in legacy plugin locations – the locations that plugins had to be installed for Lightroom 1.x – can't be removed this way, and the Remove button remains gray. You have to actually remove the folder.

The Status section might also display plugin version and web-site information, if the plugin provides it (such as in the screenshot above).

Upgrading a plugin

Upgrading a plugin to a newer version is similar to installing the first time, except that if you replace the original “.lrplugin” folder with the new one, you don't have to re-register the location with Lightroom. In that case, you simply need to restart Lightroom, or click the “Reload Plug-in” button in the Plugin-Manager's “Plug-in Author Tools“ section.

If you install the new version in a new location, and register it via the Plugin Manager, the previous version will remain, but be disabled. You can enable only one version of any particular plugin at a time. Simply Remove the older versions when you no longer need them.

Upgrading one of my plugins

I've built an upgrade mechanism into my plugins, such that when a new version is available, you can simply press the Upgrade Now button in the Plugin Manager. That causes the new version to be downloaded and unzipped in place over top of the old version. You then press the Reload Plug-in button, or restart Lightroom, to have the new version take effect.

(If something goes wrong with the upgrade process, you'll have to manually download and install the new version. In such a case, you might want to inspect the log file left in the temporary-files area of the system, named for the plugin, e.g. “flickr-log.txt” for the Flickr plugin).

Legacy Plugin Folders

If Lightroom 2.0 finds a plugin in any of the legacy install locations from Lightroom 1.x (described here), they are automatically registered with the Plugin Manager.

As with any plugin, such auto-registered plugins can be enabled and disabled within the Plugin Manager. They can not, however, be fully de-registered (removed) via the Plugin Manager. To remove them completely from Lightroom, you have to manually remove the plugins from disk (or, at least, from the legacy plugin folders).

Some people prefer to continue to use the legacy install locations, simply adding new plugins there (thereby avoiding the need to register them with the Plugin Manager). This approach is perfectly acceptable, of course, but comes with the drawback that added plugins are not auto-registered except when Lightroom starts.


The 30 most-recent comments (out of 194; see all), most recent last...

Hi Jeffery,

Great plug-in! Thank you! I recently ran into a problem. My hard drive on my MacBook Pro crashed and I reinstalled Lightroom, imported the old LR Catalog and pointed to the old JFZenfolio plugin and re-entered my registration code. However the following problems occurred:
1. I lost all the settings (no big deal, I reset them)
2. Published galleries disappeared. I used the Edit Settings dialog to show those in LR, but it shows zero photos in each gallery.
3. In the LR4 Publishing manager it shows Zenfolio’s service as (not saved). I don’t know if that was there before, but I’ve changed about every setting in there and it shows as not saved. I Didn’t know if this was just a bug because it DOES save my changes in that dialog box.

Thanks again,
-Brian

General settings are in your Lr preferences file, but publish stuff is all in the catalog. If you’re not seeing publish stuff when you load the catalog, then either the catalog is corrupt or (perhaps more likely) you’re not looking at the catalog you were using before. —Jeffrey

— comment by Brian on December 6th, 2012 at 12:49am JST (2 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

You rescue plug-in works wonders – thanks a lot for this great tool!
Cheers
Olaf from Germany

— comment by Olaf on March 3rd, 2013 at 9:54pm JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I have downloaded your JF Collection Publisher, and when I export, I don’t see it as an option at the top (I do have your Facebook and zenfolio plugins and they are there) ; it shows as ‘installed and running’ in the plug in manager…any idea what I am doing wrong? I have LR4; have tried closing it and re-opening. Using a mac, if that makes any difference.

Thanks; your plug ins are amazing

It sounds like you’re looking in the Export Dialog, rather than the Publish Services dialog. The Collection Publisher is a Publish-only plugin. —Jeffrey

— comment by Debby on March 9th, 2013 at 8:17pm JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey. After upgrading to LR5 from 4, your Zen plugin no longer works. I’ve downloaded the latest version but I can’t seem to upgrade it from the plugin manager. I want to keep all my previous settings. Can you help please?
Dayve

See this FAQ. —Jeffrey

— comment by Dayve on July 2nd, 2013 at 3:06am JST (2 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, thanks for this wonderful blog and the plugins your share. I just found it today.

I’m really eager to install and use some of your plugins, but one point concerns me: “Some plugins add their own set of per-image metadata to the catalog, and for such plugins, you are prompted for permission to update the catalog upon install. You should upgrade.” Are these changes reversible? If I use the “Remove” function in Plugins Manager, will the catalog be returned to the original state? Is this even a concern? Thanks for your feedback in advance.

It’s not really a concern (which is why I think the warning dialog is more scaremongering than actually useful), but no, “remove” will not remove the data; it remains as untouched cruft/bloat until actively removed by the plugin. My catalog has tested hundreds of plugins over the years from Lr1, and so it has perhaps the most such accumulated cruft of any real-world catalog on the planet. I know it doesn’t really matter much except for some disk space, but part of me still wishes that Adobe had a catalog-cleaner tool. —Jeffrey

— comment by CP on July 15th, 2013 at 3:12pm JST (2 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Trying to setup Google Drive plug-in. I cannot save until I choose a folder but no folders are showing up in the box and I can’t figure out how to put one in

Wil from West Haven, Ct

If you’ve logged in to Google Drive in the plugin, but simply have no folders, I guess you’ll need to make a folder and then use the [refresh] button near where the folders are listed in the plugin. —Jeffrey

— comment by Wil Elliott on August 15th, 2013 at 9:10pm JST (2 years ago) comment permalink

And here is the catch 22. The new collection (or folder) isn’t included on the menu unless I save the Plug-in after setup. The set-up will not save unless I pick a folder. Am I missing something or is there a work around

It should appear right away when you do the [refresh] button, and then you can select the folder and save things. Maybe I’m misunderstanding your question? —Jeffrey

— comment by Wil Elliott on August 16th, 2013 at 12:10am JST (2 years ago) comment permalink

I keep getting ” Something went wrong. We’re working on getting it fixed as soon as we can. ” when i try to authorize the FB plug-in. I’m using LR5

FB must be having “issues”. They do from time to time. —Jeffrey

— comment by Joel on August 16th, 2013 at 5:56am JST (2 years ago) comment permalink

Jeff,

thanks for the plugin – I just downloaded / installed Lightroom to Photobucket. Installation went smooth but for some reason i’m having problems registering the api with Photobucket. It says The application will not be allowed to access your account. I tried being logged into Photobucket while trying to register and it gives me the same error. Any ideas????

Thanks!

Sean in Boise, ID

I’m not sure what to say… I’ve never heard of this problem. I just tried and it worked fine for me. Perhaps they were just having temporary issues? —Jeffrey

— comment by Sean on August 19th, 2013 at 1:59pm JST (2 years ago) comment permalink

Jeff,

I got problems with your Facebook plugin. So far it worked very well, but now it tells, that it’s not properly autheticatetd. If I try to re-autheticate, Firefox tells me, that it couldn’t handle the protocoll (lightroom://). What is going wrong?

Jan

See this FAQ. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jan on September 23rd, 2013 at 9:28am JST (1 year, 11 months ago) comment permalink

I am trying to upload this to Lightroom so I can export directly to Exposure Manager. I don’t know if I am supposed to upload Wrangler or JF Exposure Manager or both. I have both plugins uploaded but I must have missed a step because the login button is grayed out. It says it’s up and running but even when I click the Visit Exposure Manager and log in, it still says I am not logged in. I am using Lightroom 5. Do I need to register first? (It says I don’t.) Or was I supposed to enter some Exposure Manager ftp site info first?. I was up until 3 am . Help Help help. Somebody please…..ALSO If I open the Download up, it enters a bunch of photos into Lightroom. That can’t be correct….Is there a Youtube link I can watch or something? I can’t seem to follow your directions.

Next to “Visit Exposure Manager” should be a place to enter your ExposureManager username and password. That’s where you log in. You don’t need the Metadata Wrangler unless you want what it provides (stripped selected metadata before uplaod). —Jeffrey

— comment by Anonymous on October 4th, 2013 at 2:35am JST (1 year, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Jeff,

A lot of photos have “no value” as the focal length in 35mm equivalent.
These certainly have their focal length displayed in the metadata box, so the actual focal length is not missing. Any idea why the plugin fails to calculate the 35mm equivalent focal length in some cases?

If the plugin doesn’t know the size of the sensor, it can’t calculate the 35mm equiv even though it may know the actual focal length. If you send a direct-from-camera photo, I might be able to figure it out and add it to the crop-factor database. —Jeffrey

— comment by Rick on October 24th, 2013 at 9:06am JST (1 year, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,
Tried your Smugmug export plugin tonight and it seems to have broken the existing simple LR version. I needed a full export plugin to resize and watermark while publishing.
I’m running LR 3.3.
When I try to add a file to an existing collection or make changes, I get an error message “Can’t update this collection. Your smugmug account has expired.”
Not the case
Any ideas or fixes on this. If I uninstall yours will I get back to normal operation? Can they run concurrently?

Thanks.
James

There is absolutely no interaction between my plugin and theirs… at least there shouldn’t be and I’ve never heard of it before. I’m guessing that it’s just coincidental (and unfortunate) timing with some other issue, such as SmugMug having server issues or something…. —Jeffrey

— comment by James on October 28th, 2013 at 7:00pm JST (1 year, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Hello – I am trying to use the Photobucket plugin and can get it enabled, but when I try to export and authenticate I get an error message “Couldn’t authenticate to photobucket: Unexpected HTTP error…” I can get the other plugins working, but this one doesn’t seem to want to work. I’m not logged on anywhere and didn’t see a place for that. I’m on a trial version of LR. Thanks!

It’s difficult to guess from just this. Perhaps send a log the next time you run into it. —Jeffrey

— comment by Brad on November 24th, 2013 at 1:26pm JST (1 year, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Short story …. i bought a license for LR4 from a un-trusted source … shame on me … your plugin to export to Zenfolio no longer works.

I re-downloaded your plug in, Made a NEW donation, and upgraded to Photoshop CC and LR5. When i try to install your zenfolio plugin into LR5 , it is still saying disabled. How do i get it to let me register my new donation?

Thank you

The top section of the plugin manager tells you exactly what to do. —Jeffrey

— comment by Sean on December 19th, 2013 at 11:52am JST (1 year, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Many thanks for the Preview Extraction plugin. Worked great. Much appreciated!!

— comment by RSwift on January 17th, 2014 at 7:13pm JST (1 year, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Hey thanks for the great plugins!!!!! Toledo, Ohio photographer here.
Quick question…I have the fb plugin and the zenfolio plugins. I started working at a studio and they have their own copy of LR and I have my own copy at home. But I often take a LR Catalog back and forth between work and home. Will I be able to use the plugins in both places or not? If not is there a way to do so?

Adobe doesn’t make it easy, but it’s possible. You probably want to have the catalog and the master image files on a removable disk that you bring with you. Then you have your preferences, which you’ll likely have to set at both places. Then if you use special lens correction profiles, or sensor calibration profiles, etc., and presets of all manner, those also have to be replicated. (Many find Dropbox or the like useful for that.). The Lr/Backup plugin saves all these different files, so you can look at what it does to learn about what’s there to be replicated. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jen on March 26th, 2014 at 10:45pm JST (1 year, 5 months ago) comment permalink

When I try to update Picasa with your plugin I always have this error “Unexpected HTTP status from Google: 400
Error trying to parse element.”

I used lightroom 5.6 (64bits)

What can I do?
Thanks.

It’s probably just a glitch by Google, but if it persists then send a log after encountering the error… —Jeffrey

— comment by Emilio on April 26th, 2014 at 8:46pm JST (1 year, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Initial success installing and using Google Drive plug-in on Lightroom 5.4, uploaded about a dozen pictures no problem.

Subsequent attempts to update/reupload and add new pictures consistently fails and return s

“Unexpected HTTP status from Google: 400
Invalid multipart request with 0 mime parts.”

Help!

Win7/64 I7 16Gb RAM

I believe this is a Lightroom bug… I’ve heard of it from time to time, where the plugin prepares everything to send to Google, but Lightroom sends only the header then tells Google it’s done. I’ve reported it to Adobe; beyond that, I can only cross my fingers and hope it doesn’t rear its ugly head very often. —Jeffrey

— comment by wtlloyd on May 1st, 2014 at 10:24am JST (1 year, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Photobucket plugin not showing on LR5.4, Picasaweb is working correctly though and I installed both the same way. Photobucket shows in plugin manager but not in the Publish Services. Any ideas?

The Photobucket plugin has never been Publish… only Export. —Jeffrey

— comment by Gavin on May 17th, 2014 at 6:39pm JST (1 year, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeff,
The export to Zenfolio plugin says “Plugin Registration button appears here after Lightroom is registered with Adobe” I’m registered with Creative Cloud. Any ideas?
Thanks
Daniel

It’s a known issue as of yet without a known fix. )-: —Jeffrey

— comment by Daniel on June 27th, 2014 at 6:54am JST (1 year, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Hi, Jason writing from Oakland, CA, here.

I’m wondering if your LR->Facebook plugin will cure the dreaded “via Adobe Photoshop Lightroom” text in Facebook posts. This text drives me crazy.

Thanks,

Jason

Unfortunately, no, as far as I know, Facebook does not give users a choice to suppress the name of the upload app. Flickr does, FWIW, but FB chooses to make it obligatory. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jason on July 17th, 2014 at 3:02pm JST (1 year, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Hi, I reside in Melbourne , Australia.
I am using your Metadata Preset Builder plugin. Each time I restart LR5 the Metadata preset goes back to default. I was using it last year on another system and this didn’t happen – have I done something wrong while installing. I have just updated the plugin and it still reverts to default at start up.

It sounds like a classic symptom of your Lr preferences file going bad. —Jeffrey

— comment by Rex Harris on November 3rd, 2014 at 1:31pm JST (9 months, 29 days ago) comment permalink

writing from the San Francisco area…..I have used your export from LR to Zenfolio happily for years. Suddenly now whenever i export, it will only upload to one specifc folder from 2010. I try to create a new gallery but it doesn’t seem to see it. under upload destination it tells me that this old 2010 gallery is selected and I can’t seem to unselect. I’ve tried trashing the plug in and reinstalling it to no avail. Any thoughts on how to get this working again? Thank you!

Are you sure that when you try to create a new gallery, you’re not accidentally creating a new group instead? Groups don’t show up in the destination list. —Jeffrey

— comment by hilary Hood on December 10th, 2014 at 7:15am JST (8 months, 23 days ago) comment permalink

Thank you for your effort. I appreciate it!

— comment by Jogi on March 21st, 2015 at 10:18pm JST (5 months, 11 days ago) comment permalink

Is it possible in the folder status plug in to change the size of the box so I can include more columns horizontally. Thx. This is a really helpful plugin (and it successfully included my statuses as I moved to CC)

Unfortunately, Lightroom really limits plugins with regard to UI flexibility. If there are too many fields to fit in the width, it should automatically scroll, but sadly Lightroom doesn’t let the plugin just fill the width of the screen. )-: —Jeffrey

— comment by alan on April 26th, 2015 at 2:05pm JST (4 months, 6 days ago) comment permalink

Excellent work as always Jeffrey, your Flickr/Facebook/Twitter plugins are an absolute must have for me. I keep banging on about them to all my Camera Club members.
I have just upgraded to Lightroom CC, so expect a whole bunch of donations again soon….

— comment by Danny on April 29th, 2015 at 4:40am JST (4 months, 3 days ago) comment permalink

I am moving my lightroom to a new computer, how do I transfer my folder status program? I want to keep the information already stored in it. I am actually delaying the move until I find this out, I am 100,000 photos in my review (of 250,000 photos) and can’t afford to lose the info.

I love this plug in!

THANKS

Alan

Folder Status keeps its data in the catalog, associating the data about a folder with its path. If you copy the catalog, and the folder paths remain the same on the new system, then everything will just work out right. The plugin also writes data to each folder in the form of a hidden file (“.Lr-folder-status-plugin-data”), so if folder paths change, the plugin can revert to the hidden file to access current settings. —Jeffrey

— comment by alan on May 16th, 2015 at 12:12am JST (3 months, 17 days ago) comment permalink

Hi,

Recently moved LR5 to a new drive almost everything came over except your plugin for Zenfolio. It says the “nil” file is not installed or working properly. So I decided to download a new copy of the plugin. Unfortunately it will not unzip. Whenever I click on the download file it just tries to open LR and import your logo. Any thoughts?
Thanks

It sounds like your browser automatically unzipped it for you, so just move it to where you want it to live on your system, and point Lightroom’s Plugin Manager at at. But, if it truly is a bad download, try with another browser. For reasons I’ve never understood, some folks have trouble with one browser but not another. —Jeffrey

— comment by Byron Capo on May 29th, 2015 at 12:25pm JST (3 months, 4 days ago) comment permalink

Hello,

I just installed the plugin ” timelapse support” , but I do not understand how to operate in lightroom .
I took a sequence of pictures, click plugin extra, fade developp setting, and then ?
I exported the pictures but nothing is corrected.

Thanks for your help, Phil

Yeah, sorry, I really need to write the docs. If you want to vary some develop settings (e.g. exposure) across a set of photos, make whatever adjustments you want for the first and last photos, then select those two and all the photos in between, then invoke the fade dialog… the plugin will incrementally adjust the settings you select, for the photos between the first and the last, to ramp them between the first and the last. —Jeffrey

— comment by Phil on July 1st, 2015 at 6:11pm JST (2 months ago) comment permalink
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