I opened a RAW image in Adobe Camera Raw, did some cropping and colour adjustments, and then opened it in Photoshop to work on it further.

When i returned to Bridge, I realised that the original RAW image had little icons on it with crop and adjustment symbol! The original had been changed and now I don't have the untouched raw file anymore.

What am I doing wrong? I thought edits in Camera Raw would not affect the original RAW file. Do i need to make some setting changes?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not an Adobe user, but I think that the answer here is that it's not actually making destructive changes, just remembering what changes you did make. You should be able to undo them with no loss. (And, the changes are probably stored in an XMP sidecar file.) \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Dec 3, 2012 at 6:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Check the date on the file to see when it was last changed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rene
    Dec 3, 2012 at 8:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ If the image is DNG, it will record the changes in the DNG file, but these can be undone. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Dec 3, 2012 at 14:14

3 Answers 3


Anything you do in Camera Raw is non-destructive. It will save the changes in an XMP file so that adjustments are applied when you view the file and edit it. But you can manually undo them anytime you want.

The easiest way is to simply delete the XMP file.

Or you can open the raw file in ACR and undo the changes. For example, select the crop tool, then right click and clear crop.

I think the quickest way to undo everything is to find the little pop up menu on any of the right-hand panes, click on it and select Camera Raw Defaults, which should restore it to the original state. If you select Previous Conversion you'll get the most recent edits back.


If you hit cancel after the changes (and opening in Photoshop) or hit your escape "ESC" button then it will not alter the original RAW file, but if you click "Done" then it will make the changes to your original image


Your RAW file has not been changed. The little icon you see tells you that you have made some edits to the image but those edits have not been permanently applied to the RAW file itself, they are stored in the XMP file.

When you open the file in Camera Raw it will automatically apply those edits so you see the image with the changes applied. You can choose to save a jpg or a tiff with those edits applied and that will make a new file that is different then the RAW and have the edits applied permanently to those respective files

Or you can choose "open image" and it will open in Photoshop with those edits, and you can make other changes, then saving it from photoshop will save it as a PSD file with the camera raw edits AND any changes you made in Photoshop.

If you open that same original RAW file in another photo editor that does not read the XMP file you will see that the edits are not applied to the file.

When in camera Raw you can chose to revert the RAW file back to the default settings for the file by selecting the drop down menu to the right of the word basic in the basic editing window. "Image settings" is the edits you have made and "Camera Raw Defaults" is without the edits.

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