Your original raw file will never be altered by RawTherapee.
There are several ways of saving an image from the Image Editor tab:
- Save immediately from the Editor tab,
- Save via the Queue,
- "Edit Current Image in External Editor" (described in its own article).
In the Editor tab, if you click on the little hard disk icon at the bottom-left of the preview image, or hit the Ctrl+s shortcut, you can "Save immediately". This works as a standard "Save As" dialog. You can select the name and location for the output file (RawTherapee will automatically add the extension based on the chosen format), choose the output file format and bit depth, set the compression level, choose whether you want the processing profile saved alongside the output image, etc. The last option lets you choose whether you want to "Save immediately" or "Put to the head/tail of the processing queue". If you choose to "Save immediately", RawTherapee will be busy saving your photo as soon as you click "OK", so it will be less responsive to any adjustments you might try doing while it's busy saving, and it will also take longer to open other images as long as it's busy saving this one. For this reason it is recommended that you use the queue if you want to tweak other photos right away.
The Save window will by default open the location you saved to the last time you used this window. For your convenience, a shortcut to the folder containing the source image is automatically added to the bookmarks panel on the left side of the Save window. If you want to save the image to the source folder, clicking on this bookmark will save you having to manually click through to navigate to that location.
A shortcut for the OK button is Ctrl+Enter.
Put to the Head / Tail of the Processing Queue
If you click on the gears icon or in the "Save" window choose "Put to head or tail of the processing queue", your image will be kept in a queue of files to be processed, so RawTherapee can make the most of your CPU and be responsive while you tweak your photos. Once you're done tweaking and adding them to the queue, you can have RawTherapee start processing the queue while you go and enjoy some tea. The benefit of putting it to the queue using the "Save" window is that you can individually change the file format, name and destination of each image, whereas putting images to the queue without using the "Save" window will use the settings from the "Queue" tab.
If your original raw file was called "photo_1000.raw", the default processed file name will be "photo_1000.jpg" (or .tif or .png). There is an option in the "Save current image" window: "Automatically add a suffix if the file already exists". When checked, you can make different versions of one raw, which will be saved as "photo_1000.jpg", "photo_1000-1.jpg", "photo_1000-2.jpg", etc. The same applies when you send different versions of the same image to the Queue.