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You can access the Preferences window by clicking on the Preferences button Gtk-preferences.png which is either in the bottom-left corner of the RawTherapee window, or the top-right one, depending on your Editor tab mode layout.


Shows details about the specific build you're running which you should include when filing a bug report, as well as information about the developers and contributors, and the GPLv3 licence under which RawTherapee is published.

General Tab


Editor Layout

RawTherapee's user interface layout can be adapted to suite your taste and needs, specifically pertaining to whether you would like to have more than one raw file open simultaneously, and whether you use one monitor or more. The following modes are available:

  • Single Editor Tab Mode
  • Single Editor Tab Mode, Vertical Tabs
  • Multiple Editor Tabs Mode
  • Multiple Editor Tabs Mode (if available on second monitor)

Remember that if you use multiple "Editor" tabs, each one takes a substantial amount of RAM. Only use multiple Editor tabs if you have quite a lot of RAM (exactly how much depends on what resolution your images are, which tools you use, how many other programs you run in the background, etc.).

A restart is required for these changes to take effect.

Position of Curve Copy and Paste Buttons

Curves include adjacent buttons for copying, pasting, opening and saving the curve, and some include buttons for picking a sample from the canvas and for setting numeric in/out values. This option lets you decide where these buttons will be positioned relative to the curve widget.

A restart is required for these changes to take effect.

Histogram in Left Panel

Position the main histogram in the left panel above "History", or in the right tool panel above the tools.

Show Filmstrip Toolbar

4- The filter and ratings toolbar, which can be shown in the Filmstrip.

The Filmstrip can optionally include the filter and ratings toolbar. It can be useful to see it while working in the Editor tab, though it does take valuable vertical screen space. Use this option to show or hide it. Note that you can also toggle its visibility from the Editor tab by using the "Toggle the visiblity of the Filmstrip's toolbar" keyboard shortcut.

Single-Row File Browser Toolbar

Enable this option if you have a high resolution screen to merge all the toolbars at the top of the File Browser tab into one. If you have a low resolution screen, doing so would make icons overlap, so disable it.

Use Tab Icons Instead of Text

The toolbar tabs (Exposure, Details, Color, etc.) by default use icons, which make them compact. You can optionally use text labels instead of icons.

Hide Vertical Scrollbar

If using Windows or macOS, you can hide the vertical scrollbar from the toolbox to save a little horizontal screen space, scrolling is still possible using the mouse scrollwheel. This option is disabled in Linux due to a GTK+ issue. Now that RawTherapee uses GTK3, the vertical scrollbar auto-disappears, so this option is no longer necessary and may be removed.

Tool Collapsed/Expanded State

If you have a few favorite tools which you would like to always see expanded, you can expand them now, hide the rest, then return here to Preferences, disable "Automatically save tools' collapsed/expanded state before exiting", click "Save tools' collapsed/expanded state now", and click "Ok" to close the Preferences dialog and commit your changes.

Alternatively, if you would instead like RT to remember which tools are collapsed and which are expanded at the end of every editing session, then enable "Automatically save tools' collapsed/expanded state before exiting".


Select a language for the user interface. "Use system language" will try to auto-detect your language based on environment variables. You can override the auto-detected language by selecting one manually.

If you would like to help by updating one of the translations or creating a new one, see this post:

A restart is required for these changes to take effect.


The Image Editor tab showing: (1) the preview background, (2) the crop mask, (3) lockable color pickers and (4) buttons which toggle the color of the preview background between black, white and theme-based.
  • Choose a theme for the user interface. Most interface elements will use the new theme as soon as you hit "OK", but some will only refresh after you restart RawTherapee.
The way human vision perceives colors depends on various factors, of particular importance to this paragraph are the properties of the area which surround the observed region. The way you perceive the colors of a photograph viewed on screen depend on the colors of the area surrounding the photograph. You can read more about this in the CIECAM02 article. In order to mitigate the errors the user makes while adjusting a photo, RawTherapee ships themes which use neutral background colors. While all of the themes are based on shades of grey, the theme which is most tailored to avoiding affecting human perception is "TooWaGrey - Average Surround", available from version 5.2.1 onward.
  • Choose a custom main font, and a font for the Lockable Color Picker in the Image Editor tab, marked "3" in the screenshot.
Some users will find the default font size too small or too large due to their screen resolution and DPI setting. You can fix that by changing the font size.
  • "Crop mask color/transparency" adjusts the color and transparency of the area outside of a cropped region, marked "2" in the screenshot. By clicking on the colored button, a new window appears where you can select a standard color or click on "Custom" to specify a new color. The vertical axis adjusts hue, while the horizontal axis adjusts transparency. Partial transparency is useful as it allows the cropped-off part of the photo to remain somewhat visible (2), so that you can move the crop around to find the best composition (hold the Shift key and move the crop with the mouse).
The Image Editor tab showing: (1) the Navigator panel, (2) the Navigator guide which marks the area currently visible in the main preview when zoomed-in.
  • The "Navigator guide color" lets you adjust the color of the frame (marked "2" in the second screenshot) visible in the Navigator panel (marked "1") when the main preview is zoomed-in.

Clipping Indication

When clipped shadow Warnsh.png/Warnhl.png highlight indication is enabled in the preview, areas which are clipped in at least one channel are painted a solid color. The shade of this color depends on how strong the clipping is. The threshold values determine when clipping is considered to begin. The clipping indicators are calculated on the final image in the output color space as selected for that image in the Color Management panel.

Pan Rate Amplification

Imagine a high resolution image is opened, and you are zoomed to 100%. In order to move the image around (it's called "panning") you would have to make multiple mouse movements (or have a very large mouse pad!). RawTherapee saves you from this by using "pan rate amplification" - when set to 5, RawTherapee multiplies every pixel you pan by 5. If you'd normally move the cursor 500 pixels in one comfortable mouse movement, you will have panned 2500 pixels with this option set to 5.

The effect is most visible when you are zoomed in, and least visible when zoomed out.

"Remember the zoom % and pan offset of the current image when opening a new image" only works in "Single Editor Tab Mode" and when "Demosaicing method used for the preview at <100% zoom" is set to "As in PP3".

External Editor

RawTherapee can send the processed image directly to an external program, e.g. an image editor, an image viewer or a script. This is done using the Image-editor.png "Edit Current Image in External Editor" button in the Editor tab under the main preview - see the Saving article. It is here in Preferences where you can customize which program the processed image is to be sent to when you click the button.


Rt54 external editor linux geeqie.png

  • GIMP - This option tries to run the following executables in the following order: gimp, gimp-remote. They should be accessible using the $PATH environment variable.
  • Custom command line - Write the full path to the executable including the executable. You may need to enclose the whole line in double quotation marks if you need to pass arguments, see the example. Variables such as ~ and environment variables such as $HOME are not supported.
    • "/usr/bin/geeqie --remote"
    The above command opens the image in a single instance of Geeqie. Note that you need to enclose it in double quotation marks because you're passing the "--remote" option.
    • /home/bob/programs/luminance hdr/luminance-hdr
    The above command opens the image in Luminance HDR. No arguments or options passed so no quotation marks needed.


Rt54 external editor macos pse.png

  • GIMP - This option tries to run the following in the following order: open -a GIMP, open -a GIMP-dev.
  • Photoshop - This option is hard-coded to "open -a Photoshop".
  • Custom command line - Write open -a "External Program" where "External Program" is the name of the program to be used to open the image. Surround the name of the program in quotation marks if it contains one or more space characters.
    • open -a "Adobe Photoshop CS6"
    The above command opens the image in Adobe Photoshop CS6. Note that you need to enclose it in quotation marks because it contains space characters.
    • open -a "Affinity Photo Trial"
    The command above opens the trial version of Affinity Photo. It too needed to be enclosed in quotation marks due to the spaces in the name.
    • open -a "/My stuff/Programs/Pixel Mixer"
    The command above opens a program called "Pixel Mixer" in the "My stuff" folder. We have reports that it is not necessary to write the full path to the program even if it does not reside in the standard /Applications/ folder.


Rt54 external editor win pse.png

  • GIMP - Point RawTherapee to the folder which contains the bin folder which in turn contains the GIMP executable, gimp-2.*.exe. If you use an unofficial version of GIMP where the executable does not have that name, you may need to use the command line option instead. This option tries to run the following files in the following order: gimp-win-remote, gimp-2.12.exe, gimp-2.11.exe, gimp-2.10.exe, ..., all the way down to gimp-2.0.exe
  • Photoshop - Point RawTherapee to the folder which contains the Photoshop executable, Photoshop.exe.
  • Custom command line - Write the full path to the executable including the executable. Don't worry about spaces or about escaping backslashes. Environment variables such as %ProgramFiles% are not supported.
    • C:\Program Files\Gimp-2.9\gimp-2.9.exe
    • C:\Program Files\Digital Light & Color\Picture Window Pro 6.0\pw60.exe

Image Processing Tab

Default Processing Profile

Specify which profile RawTherapee is to use when opening a raw and non-raw photo.

To have processing profiles you have made yourself appear in the list, save them to the "profiles" sub-folder within the "config" folder. You can find out where it is on the file paths page.

The default processing profile for raw files as of RawTherapee 5.4 is "Auto-Matched Curve - ISO Low".

The default processing profile for non-raw files (such as JPEG, TIFF or PNG) is best set to "Neutral". The "Neutral" profile just loads the photo as it is, without applying any changes.

The special entry "(Dynamic)" activates the support for Dynamic Processing Profiles.

When you right-click on a thumbnail and select "Processing profile operations > Reset to default" RawTherapee will apply whichever processing profile is selected as default for that image type. If the default is set to "(Dynamic)", then RawTherapee will generate a dynamic profile when you "Reset to default".

Custom Processing Profile Builder

Executable (or script) file called when a new initial processing profile should be generated for an image. The path of the communication file (*.ini style, a.k.a. "Keyfile") is added as a command line parameter. It contains various parameters required for the executable or script to allow a rules-based processing profile generation.

This feature is very powerful; for example it allows you to set lens correction parameters or noise reduction based on image properties. It is called just once on the first edit of the picture, or called manually from the context menu when right-clicking on a thumbnail in the File Browser or Filmstrip

Note: You are responsible for using double quotes where necessary if you're using paths containing spaces.

Processing Profile Handling

  • Processing profile saving location
    Choose whether you want RawTherapee to store the processing profiles next to the input file (the default behavior), to a central cache, or both.
    It is a good idea to save the processing profiles next to the input files, as that lets you easily backup and handle your photos and their associated processing profiles.
  • Processing profile loading location
    RawTherapee will look for processing profiles alongside the images, and in the central cache. If a profile exists in both places and they are not identical, this setting allows you to choose which one should have the deciding say.


Specify the location of your Dark-Frame, Flat-Field and HaldCLUT Film Simulation folders.

Crop Editing

This section lets you decide which guides are shown when the crop is _not_ being manipulated. "Original" means the guide type currently selected, so for example if you would like to see the "Rule of Thirds" guide while dragging a crop, and to have the guide automatically disappear once you are done dragging the crop, then set this option to "Frame" or "None".

Once a crop is in place, RawTherapee can automatically zoom the cropped area to fit the screen if you enable this option.

Dynamic Profile Rules Tab

Here you can define your custom rules for creating Dynamic Processing Profiles.

File Browser Tab

Image Directory at Startup

At the top you can define the image directory to use at startup. It could be the RawTherapee installation directory, the last-visited directory, the home directory, or a custom directory.

File Browser / Thumbnail Options

These options determine which information is visible in the thumbnails and how it should be displayed.

Context Menu Options

Adjust the grouping of the right-click context menu in the File Browser (and Filmstrip).

Parsed Extensions

Choose which files are recognized as images and displayes in the File Browser. All supported extensions are set by default. They can be deactivated by unchecking the relevant box. If a desired extension is missing you can easily add it by using the plus button.

Cache Options

These options influence the speed of thumbnail loading and generation. These options are quite self-explanatory.

Color Management Tab

Use the "Directory containing color profiles" button to point RawTherapee to the folder which contains color profiles.

Standard locations where color profiles are stored:



Set the "Default color profile" to the ICC file you generated when calibrating and profiling your monitor. You can have RawTherapee try to auto-detect the profile by using the "Use operating system's main monitor color profile" option, which relies on the _ICC_PROFILE X11 atom being set correctly. It supports only one monitor - if you have multiple monitors connected, it will always take the main monitor's profile.

Rendering intents and black point compensation are explained below.

The monitor profile must be of the "device" class in the RGB colorspace.

On macOS all displayed colors will be in sRGB space, and then, if necessary, converted by the native macOS color pipeline to match the screen calibration, if any. This means that you cannot choose a monitor color profile on macOS. Colors will be displayed correctly, even over multiple screens, but if you have a wide-gamut screen RawTherapee's displayed colors will still be limited to sRGB. This will however not affect output, i.e. you can still produce images with colors outside the sRGB space. For more information, see:

Printer (Soft-Proofing)

You can select here the color profile of your own printer or your print service in order to simulate the rendering of the printed image.

The printer profile must be of the "output" class in either the RGB or CMYK colorspaces.

See below for Black Point Compensation.

Rendering Intents

The "Rendering intent" drop-down lets you choose how the ICC profiles are used for translation between gamuts or color spaces. When in the "Monitor" section, the "source" is the color space within which lies the image data at the end of the pipeline before being put into the monitor profile's color space, and the "destination" is the selected monitor profile's color space. When in the "Printer (Soft-Proofing)" section, the "source" is the image data at the end of the pipeline, and the "destination" is the selected printer profile's color space.

Relative Colorimetric
Colors from the source which lie outside the gamut of the destination color space will be shown using the nearest in-gamut color without affecting other in-gamut colors. The white point will be corrected. This is the default option and works with all profiles.
Colors from the source which lies outside the gamut of the destination color space will be compressed into the destination's gamut at the expense of also affecting in-gamut colors. How the compression is performed is up to the gamut mapping contained within the color profile - it usually involves desaturation, and sometimes even hue shifts. The perceptual intent only works with LUT profiles which contain the required gamut mapping tables - most ICC profiles do not, and in those cases "relative colorimetric" will be silently used instead (this is standard behavior across most software).
Absolute Colorimetric
Similar to relative colorimetric, but the white point will not be corrected. For this reason, it is used when you want to match paper whiteness to screen. You might want to use it when proofing, but not otherwise.

Black Point Compensation

When enabled, the Black Point level of the input image is moved to the Black Point level of the output image in a color transformation (e.g. from working profile to display profile). It means that the luminance channel alone is compressed or expanded to match the output capabilities. This feature will keep details in the shadows (avoid flat dark areas) at the expense of less color correctness.

Batch Processing Tab

Batch processing is the capability of editing several images at the same time in the File Browser tab. That is why there is a tool panel in the "File Browser". It looks the same as the tool panel in the Image Editor tab, but since it lets you tweak many files at once we refer to it as the "batch tool panel". The checkboxes here have three states:
[ ] Disabled
[✓] Enabled
[-] Values differ across selected images.

Batch editing is done by selecting more than one image by using the Shift or Control key in the File Browser, then you can edit those images with the tools in the batch tool panel on the right. The way the sliders' values are used to modify the image depends on the options set in this "Batch Processing" tab.

When you select a single image, the sliders get the values of the processing parameters of that specific image. These can be the values of the default profile or the values from your last edit session of this photo. If your image is currently being edited in an Image Editor tab, the editor's values will be reflected in real time in the batch tool panel, and vice versa, so take care what you're doing.

When selecting more than one image in the "File Browser", the action of the tool sliders depends on that tool's batch processing mode. Tools which are not listed function as if they were in the "Set" mode.

The "Add" Mode
This mode may also be understood as "relative". Modifying sliders which are set to the "Add" mode will result in the value of the modification being added to the existing value. For example, if you select two images by holding the Ctrl modifier key, one image which has an Exposure#Exposure_Compensation Exposure Compensation of -0.5 EV and the other which has +1.0 EV, moving the "Exposure Compensation" slider up to +0.3 will result in setting a value of -0.2 EV for the first image and +1.3 EV for the second one.
Using the "Reset" button will move the slider to its default (zero) position and will then bring back the initial value of that slider for each selected image.
The "Set" Mode
This mode may also be understood as "absolute". Modifying sliders which are set to the "Set" mode will result in the value of the modification being set, irrelevant of what the existing value was. If we use the same example as before, moving the slider up to +0.3 EV will result in setting a value of +0.3 EV for both images (one value for all images).
Using the 'Reset' button will move the slider to its default position (different for each slider), and will then reset this parameter for each image.
Overwrite Existing Output Files
The option "Overwrite existing output files" sets RawTherapee to overwrite existing images. When disabled, existing images will not be overwritten; instead, an index number is appended to the image being saved.
e.g. If "output.jpg" exists and the option is not checked, the new image will be saved as "output-1.jpg".

Performance Tab

The "Performance" tab is only for people who know what they're doing. It lets you poke under the hood and tweak the parameters of some tools. These parameters take part in the balance between speed and stability.

Maximum Number of Threads for Noise Reduction

The Noise Reduction algorithm in RawTherapee is very powerful. It is also quite CPU and memory intensive. People with weak hardware who experience crashes caused by running out of RAM may find that tweaking this parameter prevents those crashes, at the cost of longer processing time.

Noise Reduction has a baseline requirement of 128MB of RAM for a 10 megapixel raw photo, or 512MB of RAM for a 40 megapixel one, and additionally 128MB of RAM per thread. The more threads run in parallel, the quicker the computation, but higher the memory requirement.

Most modern CPUs run two threads per physical core. Find out what CPU you have and how many cores it has, multiply that by two, and you get the maximum number of threads it would make sense to run simultaneously. Let's call this number Tmax. You would not benefit from running more threads than this - in fact you would likely suffer a small speed penalty.

Setting this parameter to "0" will let your CPU figure out what Tmax is, and use that. If you experience crashes due to insufficient RAM, then you can calculate Tmax yourself and use a number lower than that.

Sounds Tab

The "Sounds" tab lets you set an audible notification when a lengthy operation ends. It is currently only supported on Windows and Linux.

The "Queue processing done" sound is played after the last Queue image finishes processing. The "Editor processing done" sound is played after a lengthy in-editor operation that took longer than the specified number of seconds is complete.

Sounds can be muted either by disabling the "Enabled" checkbox or by setting fields with sound file references to blank values.

The "Queue" and "Editor processing done" text boxes can either point to wave (.wav) files, or can specify one of the following values:

  • SystemAsterisk
  • SystemDefault
  • SystemExclamation
  • SystemExit
  • SystemHand
  • SystemQuestion
  • SystemStart
  • SystemWelcome
  • bell
  • camera-shutter
  • complete
  • dialog-warning
  • dialog-information
  • message
  • service-login
  • service-logout
  • suspend-error
  • trash-empty
  • possibly the name of any file in /usr/share/sounds/freedesktop/stereo/ without the path or extension.

RawTherapee relies on libcanberra to produce sounds. In case of issues in Linux, you can trigger a sound to play from a terminal by invoking the following command (replace "bell" with any of the above):

canberra-gtk-play -i bell