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Speed Up Lightroom

1 - Computer


For the minimum computer requirements, go to system requirements | Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.


A faster processor (CPU, chip) is beneficial.


More installed physical memory (RAM) will also speed up Lightroom.

Don't confuse RAM memory with hard drive "memory."

The size of RAM memory is measured in gigabytes (GB), and the speed, in megahertz (MHz).

RAM memory comes in different "flavors," such as SDRAM, DDR2, and DDR.

RAM modules are called DIMMs.

Desktop computers have at least four DIMM slots, and laptops have at least two.

If you're using 32-bit Windows 7, 3 GB appears to be the maximum that can be used by Lightroom.

Check to make sure you're using the latest driver for your graphics card.

To see the specifications of your computer, and the hardware, do the following.

Windows 7

1) Click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of your screen.

2) In the Search box, enter System Configuration.

3) Click System Configuration in the search results.

The System Summary describes the processor and the Installed Physical Memory (RAM).

4) To see the graphics card, double click Components, and then double click Display.


Go to Apple Menu > About This Mac > More Info.


Try the Crucial's System Scanner and Memory Advisor™ tools.

2 - Backup the Catalog

If your Lightroom catalog becomes corrupted, you'll save a lot of time if you've been consistently backing it up.

If you haven't already, go to Backup the Catalog.

You'll need to go to Preferences and to Catalog settings.

3 - How to Go to . . .

. . . Preferences

Go to Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Lightroom > Preferences (Mac).

Or, press Ctrl + ,.

. . . Catalog Settings

Go to Edit > Catalog Settings (Windows) or Lightroom > Catalog Settings (Mac).

Or, press Ctrl + Alt + ,.

4 - Speed Up Importing

To speed up importing, do the following when you import some photographs into Lightroom.

Your photograph files have JPEG previews.

They're embedded in the files, or are in sidecar files.

You can specify how Lightroom creates previews when importing.

There are four choices.

As you go from Choice #1 to Choice #4:

• Importing takes longer.

• The space occupied on your hard drive by the previews increases.

The import-speed and hard-drive space differences are small between the first three choices.

Choice #4, 1:1, slows importing substantially, and takes up a lot of hard drive space.

Many photographers use the default choice, Minimal.

That's because Lightroom can create a larger preview whenever its required.

Choice #1 - Minimal

Lightroom creates a small preview from the existing embedded/sidecar preview.

Choice #2 - Embedded & Sidecar

Lightroom makes the best possible preview from the existing embedded/sidecar preview on the memory card.

Color Management

The above two choices are not color managed.

The two choices below are color managed using the ProPhoto RGB color space.

Choice #3 - Standard

The Standard preview is what you see when you click Fit on the zoom bar in the Loupe view.

Choice #4 - 1:1

1:1 previews are what you see in the Develop module when you click 1:1 (100%).

1:1 previews display sharpening and noise reduction.

Choose One of the Four Choices

When you're importing some files, do the following.

1) You've done one of the following.

• You've connected your camera to your computer, and have turned it on.

• You've connected a card reader with a card.

• You've selected a folder to import.

2) Press g to make sure you're in the Library module.

3) Click Import in the lower-left corner.

4) Open the File Handling panel on the right side.

5) Choose one of the following on the Renders Previews menu.

• Minimal

• Embedded & Sidecar

• Standard

• 1:1

6) Finish the import process.

5 - Preview Display

You can set the size and quality of the previews that Lightroom displays.

Use the size and quality that corresponds to your monitor's specification and to your needs.

Do the following.

1) Go to Edit > Catalog Settings (Windows) or Lightroom > Catalog Settings (Mac).

Or, press Ctrl + Alt + ,.

2) Click the File Handling tab.

3) Choose the preview size and the review quality.

• For Standard Preview Size, the default setting, 1440, is fine for most monitors.

If you have a very large monitor, try 2048.

• For Preview Quality, the default setting, Medium, is fine for most monitors.

If you have a very large monitor, try High.

All three quality levels are in the upper range of JPEG quality.

6 - Render Previews

As described, you can speed up importing by having Lightroom create Minimal previews.

The downside to this choice is that Lightroom will have to make larger previews when you're editing.

Lightroom will display a Loading notice.

You can have Lightroom render all of the previews while you do something else.

Do the following.

1) Select the previews.

2) Go to Library > Previews.

3) Select either Standard or 1:1 previews.


Library > Previews

7 - Save More Camera Raw Cache Settings

The preview of a raw file that Lightroom creates in the Library module is rendered from the JPEG preview in the sidecar file associated with the raw file.

When you go to the Develop module, Lightroom creates a higher-quality preview from the actual raw file—not from the JPEG preview.

The rendering of this better preview takes some time.

The cache file that stores these previews is, by default, only 1 GB.

If you increase the size, Lightroom can store more previews.

When you go to the Develop module, the preview will be more likely to be ready and waiting in the cache folder.

Do the following.

1) Go to Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Lightroom > Preferences (Mac).

Or, press Ctrl + ,.

2) Select the File Handling tab.

3) Increase the size of the camera raw cache.


Camera Raw Cache Settings