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  • Ed Dozier

Using ON1 Photo Raw 2023 from Inside Lightroom

Let’s say that you really, really love editing in Lightroom, but there are a couple of features that ON1 Photo Raw 2023 has that you envy. Even if you don’t have the official “plug-ins” from ON1, but you have the executable, you can use it from Lightroom.

None of my photo editors seem to have everything that I need, so I often invoke a feature of one editor from another editor, and then return to the original editor. It’s not quite as easy as using plug-ins, but it gets the job done.

The setup procedures in Lightroom to use the ON1 editor aren’t very straightforward, but this guide should help set you straight. I love my stand-alone version of Lightroom, but other editors know a few tricks that I want to take advantage of.

Select ‘Preferences’ from the Edit menu

Begin by locating the ‘External Editing’ tab in the Preferences dialog of Lightroom. Inside the ‘Additional External Editor’ section, click on the ‘Choose’ button.

Locate your ‘ON1 Photo RAW 2023.exe’ location

Browse to where the ON1 Photo RAW 2023.exe program is located, and then click the Choose button. In my computer, it’s located on the ‘C’ drive, under the ‘Program Files\ON1\ON1 Photo RAW 2023’ folder.

Configure the file to send to ON1

Select the file type, the color space, bit depth, or whatever you want to customize for the file that Lightroom will send to the ON1 editor. This file will contain all of the edits that have been done while inside Lightroom.

Save the new Preset settings

Click the down-arrow of the ‘Preset’ control, so that you can give it a custom name. Select “Save Current Settings as New Preset…” This preset will remember all of the settings that you have specified for the file.

Give the new Preset a name

Preset configuration is now complete

Review the settings that you want the photo files sent to ON1 to have, along with the Preset name you want to use, and finally click OK. If you change your mind later, you can go back here and change to a different file format, color space, resolution, etc. for this custom preset.

This configuration setup only needs to be done once in Lightroom. Afterwards, you can just use the ON1 editor whenever you want.

Now, you’re ready to start using ON1 from Lightroom. After you finish your edits in the LightroomDevelop’ module, you invoke ON1.

Right-click the photo, then select “Edit In”

Right-Click the mouse button while the pointer is on your photo, and then select “Edit In | ON1 2023 editor”, or whatever name you chose to give the ON1 “Preset” when you configured it.

Edit a copy with adjustments

You should see a dialog like that shown above. You’ll want to tell it to use a copy that retains the adjustments you have already made inside Lightroom. Click the Edit button.

Lightroom will get busy and make a copy of the edited photo in the file format you specified, with all of the specifications you wanted. After the file is ready, Lightroom will then call the ON1 Photo RAW 2023 program and pass it the file.

ON1 editor starts running with your photo

After a few moments, the ON1 editor will execute, and you should see your photo appear in the Edit module. As shown above, the correct file format specified from the Lightroom Custom Preset’ should be shown for the photograph.

Go ahead and use those special ON1 editing features, such as sky-swapping or AI-enhanced noise removal.

After finishing the ON1 edits, click ‘Done’

Save Photo dialog

After clicking ‘Done’, you’ll get the ‘Save Photo’ dialog; make sure you save it in the same file format that it got sent to ON1 from Lightroom. Just click ‘Save’ when ready.

Yes, replace it

Since the Lightroom and ON1 editors aren’t really communicating with each other, you get the dialog shown above. Click ‘Yes’, because you DO want to replace the original Lightroom version that was created and then shipped over to the ON1 editor.

Back in Lightroom with the ON1 modifications

Back in Lightroom, you’ll be in the Develop module with the ON1-edited photo. You can quit the ON1 Photo RAW 2023 editor at this point.

Two versions of your photo

The filmstrip inside Lightroom now contains the old photo version, with its original file format, and the new photo in the file format that was specified for the ON1 editor. The new photo will be located right beside the original photo on disk.


Like I said, it’s not very straightforward to invoke ON1 from Lightroom, but it does get the job done. My stand-alone version of Lightroom doesn’t know how to do the artificial intelligence tricks of my ON1 Photo RAW 2023, but this is a way for it to get some of those benefits.

This general technique of course works for calling other executables as well, but your mileage will vary.



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