by Julieanne Kost

 Comments (8)


June 14, 2013

In this video tutorial (Smart Previews in Lightroom 5), you’ll learn how to create lightweight, efficient Smart Previews to work with offline images in Lightroom – including the Develop module!


  • By Joe Hudspeth - 6:52 AM on June 14, 2013  

    Thanks Julieanne. Thanks explains it! Man am I ever excited about this version. This is great!

  • By Bryn Forbes - 9:12 AM on June 16, 2013  

    Thanks for the video Julieanne.

    If I have built smart previews, can I get away with only building minimal “standard” previews? or will viewing performance in the library module suffer?

    Since I have a high resolution monitor I had been building the 2048 pixel standard previews, but since I’d love to be able to work with my back catalog offline, I’d rather not duplicate the size required for previews.

  • By Bryn Forbes - 10:06 PM on June 16, 2013  

    I decided to torture my computer and created 53000 smart previews, and a new drive and then disconnected the originals and I posted about it here it’s useable but not ideal as there is a pause with a gray screen while it builds a standard preview from a smart preview and saves it to the disk and thumbnail loading is a bit slower as well. But in the end being able to take my 830,000 image catalog on the road with me… priceless… or at least more than $79 🙂 If I run out of room on my lightroom catalog disk I can just delete the previews folder whenever I need to, keeping the smart previews and just rebuild the folders I need to work with I guess. further cementing my computer’s feeling that it’s overworked 😉

  • By René Stout - 12:20 AM on June 19, 2013  

    Hello Julieanne,

    I found a way to speed up my old laptop using this feature:

    The new feature in Lightroom5 which allows you to work with off line pictures proves to be very handy on my four years old Windows7 laptop.
    Working with raw files slows my laptop down to creeping speeds. I did the following to use the smart previews without using an external drive

    1. Install Truecrypt ( Truecrypt is Free open-source disk encryption software for Windows 7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux.

    2. Create a Truecrypt partition. Mount the ‘disk’. Make sure you assign it always to the same character, for instance: L:.

    3. In Lightroom, import your raw files to that L: disk. Turn the Off line mode on for all the files.

    4. When the import is complete (for me that means: after a very long break), dismount the disk in Truecrypt. This has the same effect as disconnecting an external drive: Lightroom can’t see the original files anymore and starts working with the much smaller Off line images.

    This results in a dramatic increase of processing speed.

    5. When you’re done selecting (pressing the x-button) and developing, mount the Truecrypt disk again and delete the files.

    For me this procedure makes me like my laptop again 🙂

    Please tell me your findings.


    René Stout

  • By Bryn Forbes - 2:42 PM on June 20, 2013  

    when you actually do need to access the raw files in the truecrypt partition, you’ll be slowed down by the CPU having to decrypt the files. You could instead, just keep the pictures in a folder say “RAWIMAGES” and then rename the folder to “RAWIMAGES~” when you want lightroom to think they are offline. However, just as a warning if you use “automatically save changes to xmp” your xmp files will not be auto saved using any sort of offline technique.

  • By Timo - 5:24 AM on July 3, 2013  

    Thanks for the video.

    How about the other way round:

    Using a Macbook during your travels. Loading new photos onto the Macbook and start working on them. Back home loading the new files inkl. the adjustments onto the main system at home.



  • By Carl Grooms - 11:10 AM on August 11, 2013  

    my main computer is a desktop with 32 megs ram and lots of hard disk space. my laptop only has a smaller hard drive and 4 megs of ram.

    is there a way to generate smart previews to use on my laptop while i am on the road? i hope that makes sense.

    i soo appreciate all the educating you do.

    thank you,