How to Export PNG Files from Lightroom CC (2015)

lightroom png export

Exporting PNG files from Lightroom is not supported natively, but there is a working solution that will allow you to do this. PNG files are fantastic for uploading to Facebook. They retain much more detail and seem to bypass the heavy compression issues that Facebook poses to photographers.

One of the most popular articles on Nature TTL looks at how you can upload photos to Facebook at their best quality, but creating a PNG file of your photo usually involved the dull task of processing it through Photoshop. However, I have now come up with a working solution as of December 2017.

The Plugin for Exporting PNG Files from Lightroom

Born from an open source package that does “all manor of things to images,” Magic Export is a plugin for Lightroom that will successfully export PNG files for you through the export window.

You can download the plugin from the fnord software blog, or use this direct link to the file. Plugins are essential for providing workarounds within Adobe software.

Installing the Plugin

The plugin is easily installed. Firstly, move it somewhere where you aren’t going to accidentally delete it and stop it working. For example, leaving the file in your “Downloads” folder is probably not the best idea if you’re regularly clearing it. Make sure to unzip the file once it’s in the desired location (you can delete the .zip file once it has been extracted).

Then, open up Lightroom and navigate to “File > Lightroom Plugin Manager…”. Then, click the “Add” button in the bottom-left of the pop-up window. Select the plugin file and hit “Add Plugin.”

Exporting PNG Files from Lightroom

Click the “Export” button as per usual, but you’ll now see an option for “Magic Export” under the “Export To:” dropdown menu. Select this.

export png files from lightroom

Next, make the export adjustments like you would usually. The only thing you must do is leave the file as a PSD format.

At the bottom of the export window you will see a new Magic Export box. Here you can select PNG from the dropdown box, and select a bit-depth of 8 for the best results.

It works by exporting a PSD file, which it then quickly converts to a PNG automatically before deleting the PSD. If you open the folder where you are exporting the image to, you’ll be able to see the PSD appear and then disappear, leaving the PNG file in its place.

Is it working for you?

That’s all there is to it! Hopefully you will now have a smooth way of exporting PNG files from Adobe Lightroom, getting rid of the painstaking Photoshop export process.

This method has been tested using Lightroom CC (2015). Please do let me know in the comments if you cannot get this to work with the newer versions of Lightroom, although I think this should still work with Lightroom Classic CC.

Edit: Having had some comments from readers, it appears this won’t work in the newer Lightroom versions and is a solution for just the Lightroom CC (2015) software.

Will Nicholls is the founder of Nature TTL and a professional wildlife photographer and film-maker from England. Having been photographing since the age of 12, Will’s images have won a string of awards, including the title of “Young British Wildlife Photographer of the Year” in 2009 from the British Wildlife Photography Awards. Will is also the author of the book On the Trail of Red Squirrels.

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  • Nikolaus Wiener

    doesn’t work

  • demetri_d

    Seems to be working OK here … magic!

  • Karen Miller

    Didn’t work for me in Lightroom Classic CC, seems to have created a .dpx file?? I selected psd, 8 bit and srgb

    • Good to know. Thanks Karen. This was in the 2015 version of Lightroom CC that many will still be using. Not sure about a solution for Lightroom Classic CC – will look into it.

      • Karen Miller

        Great! It would be a really useful bit of functionality to have.

  • Thank you so much. This works well and I am using Lightroom 5.7.