I am fully aware I can open a Lightroom DNG in Photoshop or Open a Lightroom DNG as a Smart Object In Photoshop, however in both cases the link between the original DNG and the Photoshop file is broken. In the former case, Photoshop renders the DNG (losing its RAW editability) and in the latter it embeds the RAW data within the Photoshop file and allows it to be edited as and when using ACR, but this data is now baked into the PSD.

However, what I really want is a way to place a Lightroom DNG in a Photoshop document in the same way I could place (for example) an Illustrator file. So that what is rendered in Photoshop is a live version of the DNG, meaning any edits I make to the DNG in Lightroom are echoed in Photoshop. I have no interest or need in using ACR or editing the DNG from within Photoshop. All I need is for changes made in Lightroom to be reflected in Photoshop. I can do this with a variety of other file formats, but seemingly not using a Lightroom DNG.

2 Answers 2


A DNG file is not am image that can be manipulated in Photoshop. It must be converted using ACR or Lightroom into a format that can be manipulated. Typically ACR converts it to PSD or TIF for example. Therefore, you can not 'embed' a DNG, nor can you expect changes in a DNG to be reflected in a Photoshop file, because there is no DNG in the file.

Just like a film negative is essentially useless on its own, so is a DNG. Like the film negative, it is not a 'photo'.

  • Firstly, I don't want to 'embed' a DNG. As I make clear in my question I want to link it into a PSD. Secondly, you are wrong about not being able to expect changes in a DNG to be reflected in a Photoshop file (see my answer). Oct 27, 2015 at 19:27

It is possible, but you need to make sure you either have Lightroom set to save Metadata to your DNGs:

Lightroom > Catalogue Settings > Metadata > Automatically write changes to XMP

Or save the metadata to the DNG manually.

  1. Select the DNG in Lightroom and choose Edit in Photoshop. This will open the image in a PSD set to its dimensions

  2. Delete the image (We just used it to get the PSD to the right dimensions).

  3. From your PSD choose File > Place Linked and select the DNG from your Lightroom catalogue. The thumbnail won't show the changes, but ACR will open and you will see the changes applied.

  4. Don't change any settings in ACR and click Open

  5. The DNG will be rendered as a Linked Object which you place in the document

You can now make changes in Lightroom and see the PSD update to reflect them

  • This is not a linked DNG, but instead a linked PSD, which you can edit in Lightroom
    – cmason
    Oct 27, 2015 at 19:53
  • @cmason It's exactly what I asked for in my question. The DNG is linked into the PSD. You can't edit the PSD in Lightroom. The PSD doesn't embed the RAW data from the DNG, but maintains a dynamic link to it, updating and re-rendering the image within the PSD if it detects changes have been made (by Lightroom). The process will work without step 1) but it means creating a PSD and setting its dimensions. The PSD never needs to know about Lightroom, saved to or edited in Lightroom. Oct 27, 2015 at 19:56

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