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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.

Note: When you start RawTherapee not just by clicking its shortcut but by passing an image's filename as an argument so that the image is opened directly, RawTherapee will run in " no-File-Browser mode". The Preferences button is missing when RawTherapee is in that mode. Getting rid of that mode is on the TODO list, see issue 2238. To access Preferences, be sure to start RawTherapee normally without passing any filename arguments.


Shows information about the original author of RawTherapee and the current version, details of the build, names of developers and other contributors and the licence under which RawTherapee is published: GPLv3

General Tab


RawTherapee lets you use the following modes:

  • 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 options to take effect.


Select a language for the user interface.

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

A restart is required to change the language of the GUI.


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.
  • "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.

External Editor

You can have RawTherapee send the processed image directly to an external program, e.g. an image viewer, an image editor or a script. You do this 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 is to be sent this processed image when you click the button.

  • Windows
If you use Windows, RawTherapee allows you to set up the path to GIMP, Photoshop, and to one other external program ("Custom command line").
The recommended way of setting the GIMP option is by pointing RawTherapee to the folder which contains the bin folder which 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.
For the Photoshop option, point RawTherapee to the folder which contains the Photoshop executable, Photoshop.exe
For the command line option, simply write the full path 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
  • Linux
If you use Linux, the GIMP option is hard-coded to look for the GIMP executable gimp anywhere.
For the command line option, simply write the full path including the executable. You may need to enclose the whole line in double quotation marks if you need to pass arguments, see the example. Environment variables such as ~ or $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.
  • macOS
If you use macOS, the GIMP option is hard-coded to open -a GIMP and the Photoshop option is hard-coded to open -a Photoshop
For the command line option, write open -a "External Program" where "External Program" is the name of the program you want 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.

Image Processing Tab

Default Processing Profile

Specify which profile RawTherapee is to use when opening a raw and non-raw photo. When you have made your own default profile, you can have RawTherapee use it by saving it 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 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

"Save processing profiles next to the input file": When checked, RawTherapee writes a PP3 file with all the edits you made to your photo next to the input (raw) file. This represents your work (e.g. sharpening settings used) and can be reloaded later.

"Save processing profiles to the cache": Instead of creating a PP3 file next to the raw, this option - when checked - writes the PP3 to the cache. When you check the last option only, chances are that you lose your work (the edits) when installing RawTherapee on a new PC for instance.

It's usually a good idea to only save the processing parameters next to the input file, since you can e.g. back them up along with the your raws.


Specify the directory on your hard disk for searching for the dark frame shots for long exposure noise subtraction. File with coordinates listing of the bad pixels must be placed in the same directory for auto correction.


Specify the directory on your hard disk for searching for the flat field reference images.

Film Simulation

Specify the directory which contains the HaldCLUT film simulation presets. See the Film Simulation article for more information.


The "Copy Exif/IPTC/XMP unchanged to output file" option changes RawTherapee's metadata handling behavior.

  • Enabled, it will copy Exif (including Makernotes), XMP and IPTC information from the input image into the output image unchanged. You will want to keep it enabled if you tag, rate, describe or caption your images in other software so that the image saved by RawTherapee will contain this information unchanged. However if you add, delete or change Exif or IPTC metadata using RawTherapee's "Meta" tab, then with this option enabled these changes will be lost - they will not be present in the saved image!
  • Disabled, RawTherapee will save only that metadata in the output file which is enabled in the "Meta" tab - by default all metadata is enabled. If you add, delete or change Exif (including Makernotes), IPTC or XMP metadata using RawTherapee's "Meta" tab, then disable 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

The "Color Management" tab lets you define the directory where ICC profiles can be found.


You should define here the ICC profile of your monitor when you've done a calibration. If you don't do it, the image will be displayed with wrong colors.

The option "Use operating system's main monitor color profile" is currently only supported on Windows, and it support only one monitor. If you have multiple monitors connected, it will always take the main monitor's profile (the one with the task bar).

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.

The Linux version does not support monitor profile auto-detection, but as long as you load the same ICC profile as used in calibration the colors will be managed and you will get full use of your wide gamut monitor, if you have one. If you have more than one monitor with different profiles you will have to choose a primary one for correct color and have the RawTherapee window there.

See below for Rendering Intent an Black Point Compensation.

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.

See below for Black Point Compensation.

Rendering Intent

The "Rendering intent" drop-down lets you choose how the ICC profiles are used for translation between gamuts or color spaces.

If the color gamut of your image is higher than that of your destination device (monitor or printer) then it is compressed a bit to fit the gamut of your device as far as possible. This might result in an image with reduced saturation, but the hue is still kept. It might look a bit dull. But this is not really that much visible as the color relations stay the same. This method is activated by default (recommended).
Relative Colorimetric
The colors existing in the color gamuts of both your image and your device are kept and displayed 100% perfect. If the color does not exist within the color gamut of your device the nearest possible value is taken. This might lead to some banding effects, especially visible in blue sky. The white point will be corrected.
Absolute Colorimetric
Similar to relative colorimetric. It tries to reproduce the exact colors recorded in the original scene. The white point will not be corrected. It is normally used, when the gamuts of your image and your device are nearly the same. Used when exact reproduction of specific colors is needed, e.g. fabric or logo colors.

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/

Sounds issues under Linux

RawTherapee relies on libcanberra to produce sounds.
If your sound installation works but that rawtherapee is unable to produce sound,
you can check directly that libcanberra is working correctly by compiling this sample:
canberra-gtk-play -i phone-incoming-call -d "hello world"

chmod +x

If the hello_world produces sound, you can check rawtherapee by setting "phone-incoming-call" in one of the boxes and try decoding an image.

Problems can arise if you installed pulseaudio, desactivated it (eg: relying on alsa), the hello_world will mostly produce an error message if this happends.