I am using Lightroom 4, Photoshop CS6, and InDesign CS6 on a Mac (Lion). I thought Lightroom's EXPORT function wrote edits into the photo file, BUT although Photoshop recognizes the Lightroom edits in exported files, InDesign does NOT, nor does Finder or Preview recognize the edits in the exported files. Where is the information in modified non-raw files after export, and how can one transfer Lightroom files usefully to external programs, even to Adobe's own family of software other than Photoshop? Thanks.

  • \$\begingroup\$ ĞThe export is a result. The other programs get the edits in that they are applied to the pixels that form the exported image. Can you clarify what kind of additional info you are wanting to be preserved? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Nov 11, 2013 at 9:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ InDesign is really meant to work with imported photos as layout objects, not to further edit them. Finder and Preview aren't even from Adobe. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Nov 11, 2013 at 9:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks mattdm. But I don't understand your comments. If, as you say, the edits are applied to the pixels in the exported image, then the image IS an altered version of the original, and should be seen as such by another program. There is no sidecar, and no catalog for the exported image, then, and any program which subsequently reads that image should NOT KNOW what the original image looked like, whether it is InDesign (Adobe), or non-Adobe readers such as Finder or Preview. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lowell
    Nov 11, 2013 at 23:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks mattdm cont. InDesign is being used, as you noted, for manipulating photos as layout objects. However, InDesign sees the WRONG image after export from Lightroom. InDesign, Preview, and Finder all see images exported from Lightroom as though they were the originals in Lightroom, unchanged by the exporter. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lowell
    Nov 11, 2013 at 23:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ They were exported from Lightroom to a different directory, dedicated to them for that purpose, from which they were imported into an InDesign layout. Unfortunately, for me, what is then displayed by InDesign is not the modified image I expected, but appears to be identical to the original as it had some time ago been imported into Lightroom. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lowell
    Nov 12, 2013 at 5:22

1 Answer 1


If you export a RAW image as a RAW image, LR will just copy the file, and I believe puts the edits into the sidecar .XMP file. If the software you are loading the image into understands the .XMP (i.e. Photoshop) it will use the data. Some software may be able to handle the RAW file but not the XMP.

If you want to export an image to a non-Adobe program you must use a format other than RAW, such as PNG or TIFF (preferred). In that case LR applies the edits in memory and writes the edited pixels to the output file.


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