Why should I use LrDevSettingsCompare

We developed this plugin to get to know how presets work: why does this particular preset such a pretty job, what is the magic behind the other preset? Our plugin compares the BEFORE with the AFTER and just shows the differences. By analyzing these differences we hope to learn how to create better presets.

Project information

Norman Wehrle (Lead)
Matthias Saft
Logo Design
Mathias Griessen
Support, Bugs and Featurerequests
Translations of this document
German (original)

Usage overview

There are just a few simple steps:

  1. Install the plugin (most likely this has already been done if you read this)
  2. Optional: configure the plugin (there are reasonable defaults already)
  3. Optional: configure a reference preset
  4. Choose exactly one or two photos
  5. Click the menu entry in the dropdown menu


The Plugin has reasonable default settings but you can customize some interface settings to meet your personal taste or to meet your screen resolution. A comparison between a photo and a reference preset is not possible out of the box, but you can configure a reference preset in the plugin manager. Here you will find also links to create a bug report or to read the local help file.

Menu entry


If you choose DevSettingsCompare on the lefthand side, you can configure the following settings on the right:

Enable Debug Mode
This option is intended only for developers to increase the software quality. If you activate this option there will be more log entries in the logfile and missing translations will be marked. Maybe you will activate some undocumented features that are not thoroughfully tested. recommendation: do not activate
Summarize tonecurve changes and retouchings
If you change the tone curve, some or many points in the graph will change. If this detailed information is not important for you, enable this option. In future realeases of the plugin this option will also prevent detailed (but mostly useless) information about local changes (e.g. brush or repair). recommendation: activate
Differences needed to switch to tabbed GUI
We implemented 2 different user interfaces: a big table which shows all differences at first glance and a tabbed interface that has a tab for each development block. Depending on the number of differences one view is more appropriate than the other. With a lot of differences the table would be to large to be rendered on the screen. The value configured here defines when to switch between table and tabbed interface. recommendation: approx. 20
If you don't want to see the table at all but the tabbed interface, set the value to 1.
From Preset
You don't only can compare 2 photos with eachother, you can also compare the selected photo with a reference setting. By pressing this button, you can set a development preset as reference. After pressing the button an input dialog appears, wherein you can enter a preset name. The dialog completes preset names automatically.
From photo
By pressing this button you define the development settings of the currently selected photo as reference setting.
The reference setting will be cleared. Until you define a new reference, you won't be able to compare a photo with the reference settings.

Compare 2 photos with eachother

Select both photos

You can select the photos in the gridview (G), Loupeview (E) and in the development module (D). For the last two mentioned views you have to use the filmstrip for selection.

Gridview selection

Filmstrip selection

Comparison view

Menu entry

Table view

The view's layout is straight forward: in the leftmost column you can see the names of the development settings, in the middle column you can see the value of the active photo and in the right column you can see the values for the other (selected, but not active) photo. The development settings are grouped by the development panels you can see on the right in lightroom's develop module.

Tabbed view

The columns rendered are the same as in the table view. The difference is, that the development setting are not grouped by headlines but each block will be rendered on it's own tab.

Preview before click

There is a gimmick hidden in the table head, that may be upgraded in future versions of the LrDevSettingsCompare. If you click on the tablehead in the 2nd or 3rd column you will see a preview of the clicked photo in the lightroom navigator. This gimmick is not available if you compare a photo with a saved reference.

Preview after Click

Compare a photo with a saved reference

The comparison between a photo and a reference is similiar to the comparison between two photos. The only noteworthy difference is, that you only have to select one photo in the gridview or in the filmstrip. Beforehand you have to configure a reference in the plugin manager. If you compare a photo with a reference the tableheader won't be clickable - the preview in the navigator does not change.

A good idea would be to set the reference settings to the development settings that lightroom applies automatically at startup. Unfortunately we need a little extra help from you: you have to save these import-settings under a meaningful name.

Save the import-preset as named preset

You use lightroom out-of-the-box to create the preset. Select a recently imported or unchanged photo and click the [+] icon in the panel "Preset" to the left. Name the preset as whatever you like.

Find the icon in the UI

Dialog for preset creation

It is important to really save all the settings to the preset. This can easy be done if you use the button "Check All".