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Speed up Lightroom by using Smart Previews

Speed up Lightroom by using Smart Previews

Unless you have a monster computer, editing high-resolution images (or photos with lots of edits) can be slow and tiresome, whatever tool you are using. Fortunately, Adobe has just provided a simple fix for Lightroom users – editing the Smart Preview of an image instead of the full-resolution version. This was already what happened in Lightroom Mobile, or when you didn’t have the original image, but now you can easily enable the feature for all of your editing.

How to enable Smart Preview editing in Lightroom

First, make sure you have Smart Preview generation enabled when you Import images into your Catalog, and that you have updated to the latest version of Lightroom.

Next, simply go to Edit->Preferences, and on the Performance tab you’ll see a checkbox to use Smart Previews for your editing:

Finally, simply restart Lightroom and you’re good to go. Editing will be much quicker than before. As the warning points out, you may see some degradation in your editing preview, but any final output image will of course use the full-resolution original.

In my case, I have a very-high-performance desktop with a high-end GPU, so performance hasn’t been an issue for me. But for my laptops – especially my small Surface Pro 3 and my Cintiq Companion – faster processing is a welcome update.