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How to Export RAW Files From Lightroom

Published: 23/06/2021

With Lightroom, you have everything you need to work on your images. However, it works uniquely. For instance, instead of saving your files conventionally, you have to export them. Here, we will demonstrate how to export RAW files from Lightroom. Once you learn this technique, it will certainly become a regular part of your Lightroom workflow. 

How to Export RAW Files From Lightroom

Lightroom offers a large range of tools and features for all your image editing and processing needs. Either you want to create, edit, organize, adjust, save, or share your images, you can do that efficiently using Lightroom. Be it edited photos or RAW files, the chances are that you would want to share or use them elsewhere.

To save your files or publish them on any other platform, you would have to export them. We will be explaining the step-by-step procedure of exporting RAW files from Lightroom. You may find this procedure long and tiring at first. However, once you get familiar with it, it will seem very simple and easy.

Exporting RAW Files From Lightroom

There may be multiple scenarios where you would want to export RAW files from Lightroom. You may want to display the RAW images on any platform, you might want to save them for later use, or you may need to make some changes to your RAW images in terms of their size or name. 

Whatever it may be, you might be looking for ways to export your RAW files from Lightroom. Thankfully, Lightroom allows you to do that by following a simple exporting workflow. Here are the steps to follow in order to export your RAW images from Lightroom:

  1. The first thing would be to select the files that you want to export. To do this, go to the library module and select any number of images from your entire catalog. You can either select one image, some random images, or a complete group of images. Here is what you need to do:
  • If you want to export only one RAW file, simply select that one file.
  • If you want to export randomly selected files from the collection, then select one of those files, and then press the CTRL or Command key. Now, with the CTRL or Command key held down, select the files you want to export one by one.
  • If you want to export a whole list or group of RAW files, then select the first file from the list, and then press the Shift key. Then, click on the last file on the list. This will select every file in that particular group.
  1. Once you are done selecting the file or files that you want to export, the next step to do is to initiate the export command. You can do this using different ways:
  • Navigate to the menu bar present on the top of your Lightroom interface, and click on File. This will open a drop-down menu for you. From this menu, select ‘Export’ to open the Export Dialog.
Lightroom Export Dialog box
  • Another method is to right-click on any of your selected images. This will produce a popup menu for you. From this menu, navigate to Export > Export.
Exporting RAW files from Lightroom
  • The third method of initiating the export command is by clicking on the Export button present on the bottom left side of your Lightroom interface.
Export button in a Lightroom interface
  1. As you click on export, a dialog box will appear. This is called the Export dialog. Using this box, you will have to configure the export settings for your files.
Export dialog box in Lightroom
  1. Here is a breakdown of the export dialog:
  • Export Location: This tab allows you to set the final location for your exported file.
  • File Naming: This tab helps you ensure that the file of your name remains consistent from the source to the destination.
  • Video: The video panel section comes into play when you have selected videos for exporting from Lightroom.
  • File Settings: Here, you can determine the format of your image file, depending upon your requirements.
  • Image Sizing: This panel allows you to make changes to the size of your files. If you want your exported file to have a different size than the source file, then you can do that through this tab.
  • Output Sharpening: This panel allows you to adjust the sharpening of your exporting file based on its destination. 
  • Metadata: The metadata panel allows you to have significant control over the amount of metadata included in your exported files.
  • Watermarking: You can add watermarks to your files through this panel.
  1. When you export RAW files, you do not have to worry about all the tabs present in the export dialog. Here, we will only have to configure some of the tabs, depending upon our requirements. 
  2. First, we will open the tab for Export Location. Here, we have to select the location of the files where we want to export them.
Selecting options in the Export Location tab
  1. Then, go to the ‘File Naming’ tab. Here, you have to maintain the exact same file name with the same extensions. 
  2. The other important tab that holds vital importance while exporting RAW files, is the ‘File Settings’ tab. Go to this tab, and make sure to select ‘Original’ for your image format. This will ensure that your images are kept RAW.
Selecting "Original" as your image format
  1. Apart from these three tabs, the other sections do not hold much importance when you are exporting RAW files.
  2. Now, click on ‘Export.’

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do I Need to Export Images in Lightroom?

When you are done working with your images in any program, your next step is usually to save them. Saving a file ensures that you have it as a backup, and you can use or share it anytime you want. Likewise, the export functionality in Lightroom refers to the saving operation on any other program.

Lightroom works differently. Any work you do in the Lightroom workspace gets stored within the program. If you want to share it or keep it, you would have to export it. That is the reason why you have to export your files when using Lightroom.

What Is the RAW File Format?

The RAW file format is the most common file format for images. These are the images that are captured with cameras, scanners, or any other devices that record visual images. The RAW file format makes sure that your image remains in its original form and maintains all its elements.

Will Exporting RAW Files From Lightroom Affect the Quality of My Images?

Exporting RAW files from Lightroom will not affect the quality of your images. Lightroom is essentially a non-destructive image processing program. Either you edit an image or want to keep your RAW file intact, you can do it easily without affecting your image quality.

Do I Have to Configure the Export Dialog Each Time I Want to Export a File?

No, you do not have to configure the export dialog for every image that you export. That is because Lightroom allows you to save your export configurations in the form of presets. When you configure your export dialog for one image, you can also save it as an export preset. 

Consequently, the next time you want to export an image with the same settings, simply go to File > Export with Preset and select the preset that you want to use. Alternatively, you can also find the default as well as user export presets on the left column of your export dialog.

What Is the Best Resolution for Exporting Images in Lightroom?

The best resolution for exporting images in Lightroom is 300 pixels per inch (PPI).


Now you know how to export RAW files from Lightroom. You will soon see that exporting RAW files from Lightroom will become a permanent part of your Lightroom workflow. Once you learn this technique, all your editing and post-processing tasks will certainly become a lot easier and quicker.