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///How to Upgrade to Lightroom 5

How to Upgrade to Lightroom 5

How to Upgrade to Lightroom 5 You have taken the plunge and bought Lightroom 5. In the video below, I show you how to upgrade. I discuss how you can find your old catalog if necessary, how to ensure that your new Lightroom 5 catalog is named appropriately and that your presets come along, and how to remove  your old catalog and software.

For higher quality video, hit Play, then click on the sprocket wheel in the bottom right and choose 720/HD.

(For those of you more experienced users wondering why in this video I have users who store their presets with their catalog rename their catalog later, it is because if you do it in the upgrade dialog, it will put the catalog in a new folder, which will separate your presets (i.e. your Lightroom Settings folder) from this new catalog. If you choose to go this route, copy your Lightroom Settings folder into this new catalog folder.)

Related articles:

Adobe Releases Lightroom 5

Lightroom 5 Videos: Highlights + Individual Features




2017-07-09T19:10:20-07:00 June 9th, 2013|69 Comments


  1. […] Laura Shoe has a video on updating your catalog. […]

  2. […] the next attempt. If you’re a bit tenuous about the process, here’s a link to a video by Laura Shoe to ease the […]

  3. Miguel June 10, 2013 at 6:11 am - Reply

    Great video, although the first time i run LR5 the “Upgrade Catalogue Wizard” didn’t came up, so I wasn’t able to do the upgrade from LR4 on the Mac.

    I realize that for people that run Lightroom 5 Beta suffer from this, all they have to do is delete previous LR5 Beta catalogues and do as you explain in the video.

    Thank you and regards,
    Miguel Garcia

    • Laura Shoe June 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Miguel — you’re right – I forgot to cover this scenario!

  4. Gregg Mack June 10, 2013 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Hey, thank you very much for posting this procedure. I just downloaded LR5, and will follow your directions!

  5. Paul Guden June 10, 2013 at 11:11 am - Reply

    Great video. I have LR4.4 and LR5 beta installed. I don’t want to keep anything from LR5 beta so should I uninstall LR5 beta before installing per the video.

    • Laura Shoe June 10, 2013 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      Hi Paul, sorry I forgot this scenario. I would delete the beta catalog, uninstall the beta, and then double-click on your LR 4 catalog to launch LR 5 with it.

      • Paul Guden June 11, 2013 at 10:31 am - Reply

        Thank you. Worked almost flawlessly. I keep my LR Catalog in a Dropbox Folder and that causes an error if Dropbox is trying to copy anything in the LR Folder while you are trying to upgrade to LR5. You get an error window that tells you it is unable to upgrade the catalog. Turning off Dropbox did the trick.

  6. anon June 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    mmm – you might wish to name the previews folder to match the renamed catalog – you have the ‘5’ in the wrong place!

    • Laura Shoe June 10, 2013 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      Thanks, anon … the old “do as I say, not as I do applies here, I guess. 😉

  7. Thomas Baker June 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    When I installed lightroom 5 on my iMac, I am not presented with an option to upgrade the catalog from lightroom 4. Perhaps a complicating factor is I had the beta version of lightroom 5. How do I merge the catalog? Thank you

    • Laura Shoe June 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm - Reply

      Hi Thomas, I would find your LR 4 catalog, double-click on it to launch LR with it and upgrade that catalog, and then from within LR, go to File>Import from Another Catalog, and select your LR 5 beta catalog to merge it in.

  8. NR vonstaden June 10, 2013 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    ….I have all my previous catalogs in my Mac picture folder all the way back to when it was called libraries…can I trash these? All of them?

    • Laura Shoe June 11, 2013 at 10:25 am - Reply

      Yes, NR, you can delete all your catalogs from old versions of Lightroom.

  9. Bob Taylor June 11, 2013 at 6:47 am - Reply

    You also did not deal with multiple catalogs. I assume that all catalogs need to be updated. Is there a place within LR5 to do these individually?

    • Laura Shoe June 11, 2013 at 10:24 am - Reply

      You have to open them individually (File>Open Catalog), Bob.

  10. mark nunneley June 11, 2013 at 9:09 am - Reply

    i had the trial version too….i now have installed the Lightroom 5 but i dont get the promp to upgrade. Laura how to we proceed if we dont get the prompt?

    • Laura Shoe June 11, 2013 at 10:23 am - Reply

      Hi Mark, find your Lightroom 4 catalog (the .lrcat file) and double-click on it.

  11. brad bortner June 12, 2013 at 2:35 am - Reply

    I am so glad I found this tutorial. I ran into the issue of lightroom 5 not finding the old catalogue, and was being prompted to import all my photos. What a mess that would have been. I’m kind of shocked that Adobe did not have instructions about this. Thank you!

    • Laura Shoe June 12, 2013 at 4:23 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome, Brad!

  12. […] Laura Shoe has an excellent video, and many thanks to Jim Wilde for the guest post below, which covers the extra points to look out for if you used the beta for ‘real work’. […]

  13. […] I found this excellent video which definitely should help you a lot  : […]

  14. Dave Roberts June 18, 2013 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    I upgraded to LR5 is it safe to now uninstall LR 4.4 ?

    • Laura Shoe June 19, 2013 at 9:23 am - Reply

      Yes, Dave!

  15. Thomas Shue June 21, 2013 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    Nice video, I think you covered it nicely. If you are ever interested in being a guest blogger, I would love to have you. Sincerely, Thomas Shue

    • Laura Shoe June 23, 2013 at 10:12 am - Reply

      Thank you, Thomas! Now if I could just find the time!

  16. Maury Gollob June 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura,

    I purchased the LR 4 up-grade, but never installed it. Should I upgrade LR 3 to LR 4 before installing LR 5?

    Thanks, Maury

    • Laura Shoe June 26, 2013 at 5:40 pm - Reply

      No need, Maury.

  17. Fred vercauteren June 26, 2013 at 12:10 am - Reply


    i have LR 3.6 (never switched to 4 ) can i still upgrade to 5?
    and if so same procedure?

    • Laura Shoe June 26, 2013 at 12:04 pm - Reply

      Yes, you can upgrade directly to 5, Fred, and same procedure.

      • Fred June 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm - Reply

        thanks for your quick answer, i did not switch to lr 4 because , i had heard it was a real “hussle”, but now i am happy to change to 5 with your procedure


  18. Marty G June 26, 2013 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura

    Many thanks for the useful video. I don’t know what happened – everything worked perfectly and first time!

    Many thanks


  19. Lynnette June 29, 2013 at 7:09 am - Reply

    I wish I had read all the comments before starting my upgrade. When I installed Lightroom 5, it replaced/opened with the Lightroom 5 Beta catalog, and I am importing all the pictures from Lightroom 3 and Lightroom 4 catalogs. It would have been so much quicker to open in Lightroom 4 and import from 5 Beta. Oh, well.. This will work, just takes longer.

  20. Fred June 30, 2013 at 4:53 am - Reply

    Has anyone has experience running LR5 on max os 10.6.8? snow leopard
    just read that is not supported anymore

  21. Ken Jancef July 1, 2013 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    I saw a previous comment about uninstalling Lightroom 4.4. I have been using the Release version of Lightroom 5 since it was available, so I am safe to assume I can uninstall 4.4 with no issues? I just wanted to make double-sure…


    • Laura Shoe July 9, 2013 at 1:10 pm - Reply

      Yes, Ken. If you haven’t yet upgraded your LR 4.4 catalog and you’re not sure where it is, before uninstalling 4.4 I would launch it and go into Catalog Settings, which will show you where it is.

  22. Vic Sendell July 3, 2013 at 1:40 am - Reply

    Hi Laura,
    Trying to view your ‘How to upgrade to Lightroom 5’ video but I get the reply that it doesn’t exist? Any chance I’m doing something wrong?
    I have always enjoy your presentations as you make then easy to understand.

  23. Vic Sendell July 3, 2013 at 3:44 am - Reply

    OK, problem fixed – very clear explanation. Thanks

  24. Jon July 6, 2013 at 11:36 am - Reply

    Many thanks for this tutorial. Laura Shoe is certainly a gifted educator.

    • Laura Shoe July 6, 2013 at 6:34 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Jon!

  25. Ed Knuff July 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    Thank you!

  26. Ed Knuff July 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    You have a new fan and possible customer.

    • Laura Shoe July 13, 2013 at 11:37 am - Reply

      Great to hear, Ed!

  27. Kelly FitzSilva July 13, 2013 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Hello, I actually still have LR 2. Can I upgrade directly to LR 5 from that? Also, I am buying a new computer and would like to know if I can download the ‘upgrade’ version of LR 5 directly to the new computer without ever installing the old LR 2??

    • Laura Shoe July 13, 2013 at 11:24 am - Reply

      Hi Kelly, yes, you can upgrade directly to LR 5. You won’t have to install LR 2 first — to verify that you are eligible for the upgrade, LR 5 will ask for your old and new serial numbers. Note that LR 5 most likely won’t run on your old computer, as it requires Mac Lion or Mountain Lion PC Windows 7 or 8.

  28. David July 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    I have LR 3.4 installed and operational. Can I download and install the trial version of LR5 and still preserve LR 3.4 for later use? I guess what I am asking, can I have both versions on my computer at the same time and run only one at time?

    • Laura Shoe July 23, 2013 at 10:24 am - Reply

      Hi David, I thought I answered this, so sorry if I didn’t – yes, you can have both on your machine, and as you say, run only one at a time.

      • David August 5, 2013 at 4:38 pm - Reply

        Many thanks.

  29. fred July 29, 2013 at 7:02 am - Reply

    i upgraded LR , an with each catalog i opened “he ” asked to upgrade,
    i did check if keywords and cpoyrightsetting were “converted” ok for both catalogs,
    but now i notice that my personel presets did not come along, how to proceed ? to get the in the lr5?

    • Kelly July 31, 2013 at 6:12 pm - Reply

      Hello, forgive me if I’m commenting on a thread rather than starting a new discussion (I’m not sure how to do that). My question is about a technical issue that I’m experiencing in LR 5. When I make a cropping adjustment, it re-sets to a different crop of its own, after I move back and forth from the photo (I’m using the cursors to Go To Next Photo and Previous Photo). It doesn’t happen on all images, just a random few. I have been on the phone with LR techs and even had a tech share/ take over my computer to try and figure out the problem. Nobody was successful in fixing it. Is this a BUG in the LR 5 software? Has anyone heard of this? What can I do to fix it?

  30. chris August 6, 2013 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    Thanks Laura!
    This really helped and the transfer of 65,000 photos went flawlessly as far as i can tell. i started it when i went to bed and it was done when i woke up!

  31. Ray September 5, 2013 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura, I downloaded the trial version. But there’s no ”Basic Module. What didn’t I do? Thanks

    • Laura Shoe September 6, 2013 at 3:27 pm - Reply

      Hi Ray, if you mean Basic panel in the Develop module, right-click on one of the other right-hand panel names, and choose Basic. It’s disturbing to hear that the trial may be shipping with that hidden!

  32. Margi November 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura, find your page by chance. Looks great. Am thinking of doing an update to Maverick, and I really need to update my LR to 5 (currently 3.4.1 – oops very out of date)… so I am at a loss what to do first. At present my Mac op system is 10.8.5. Thanks if you can advise me. I don’t want to install LR5 and then not be able to use it.

    • Laura Shoe November 18, 2013 at 9:59 am - Reply

      Hi Margi,

      I don’t think it will matter which you do first, but I would suggest updating your operating system first.


      • Margi November 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm - Reply

        Thanks for replying, Laura. You are kind. Will do it all next week. cheers.

  33. Ben Licera November 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura,

    I just upgraded from LR4 to LR5. Thank you for your very informative video.

    I typically save a copy of my Lightroom Catalog to my external HD whenever I have done some considerable post processing, I shoot dance theaters and concerts and high school dance competitions. So it is not unusual that I’ll have 2,000 or more images after each event, from which I might pick 200-300 images and post process them. I only have one massive Catalog…. 🙂

    My question is; Is it OK to delete the previously saved catalog(s)?

    Thank you,

    Ben Licera

    • Laura Shoe December 2, 2013 at 2:10 pm - Reply

      Yes it is, Ben. I keep a handful or two and delete the rest.

  34. PAUL December 17, 2013 at 1:19 am - Reply

    Hi Laura,

    I currently have LR v4 and bought full version 5, not an upgrade. (Waiting for shipment.) Does your video tutorial apply to my situation? Can I use my Version 4 catalog in the same manner as described in your video? After following your instructions, can I then delete LR 4 after version 5 is installed?

    Thank you for your response.

    • Laura Shoe January 4, 2014 at 11:28 am - Reply

      Hi Paul,

      I thought I answered this last month, but it appears not. Yes, my video tutorial applies, and once you have Lightroom 5 up and running successfully you can uninstall Lightroom 4 and delete the Lightroom 4 catalog.

      • Paul January 4, 2014 at 6:45 pm - Reply

        Thank you for your response. I purchased your LR4 DVD some time ago and I’m reviewing your excellent tutorials again.

  35. Joanne Green February 8, 2014 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    Just upgraded to LR5 using Laura’s video – another great video!

  36. Josiane December 3, 2014 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura,

    How can I copy my LR4 Catalog to a external HD? Do you have a tutorial explaining that?
    BTW, I purchased LR5 full version today and can I use your tutorial in the same way since it’s not an upgrade?

    Thank you.


  37. ME April 15, 2015 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    No sound

    • Laura Shoe April 15, 2015 at 3:28 pm - Reply

      That would unfortunately be an issue on your computer, ME. Try increasing the sound, or going into sound preferences and adjusting the volume there. Beyond this I’m not sure what to suggest, other than googling for help, with something like “no sound on YouTube videos”.

  38. Sylvia Smith August 20, 2016 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Sorry if this has been answered before. I would like to uninstall my copy of LR 5 from an old Mac Book Pro laptop to install on a new Mac laptop. I do not see an “uninstall” button in the applications file. Do I delete the program, as I have read in forums, so that I can install on the new laptop?

    Thank you. I just watched your 8/20/2016 webinar, it was terrific, as usual!

    Sylvia Smith

    • Laura Shoe September 10, 2016 at 10:02 am - Reply

      Yes – if in Applications you find just a Lightroom program file, and not a folder with an “Uninstall” file within it, then you can just delete the program.

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