Changing my default setting for cropping to "unrestrained"

One function I always seem to use in editing my photos is the CROP tool. I guess I’m not all that smart, because invariably as I’m thinking about the image, I go to the tool and start to use it, and all four sides of the image start changing. I guess that’s useful for a lot of people, but I need to change the crop setting to “unrestrained”, then un-do what was done, and only then get to crop the image the way I want.

Is there any way to change the default setting for the crop tool to “unrestrained”?

I see there are already threads about this, but they go way beyond the simple thing that I would like to do, and I’m getting so used to it by now that I shouldn’t complain too much. It’s perfectly adequate the way it is now, but if there’s a way to make unrestrained the default, I would prefer that.

Hello mikemyer,
take the preset which is applied automatically - it is the one you have set in preferences - change the crop tool to “unconstrained” and save this preset with a new name.
Now go go preferences and choose it as your default preset.


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I’ll try to help you. First, you are smart. If you most of the time want to use the crop tool, it means you are smart enough to leave enough “air” around your subject when you take the photo. This “air” is used to correct the horizon if necessary, and also verticals etc if you used a wide-angle lens. Using the crop-tool unrestrained is creative. Not all pictures should be 2x3. So, u r smart.

Look at the right. Geometry, crop, make it white, Aspect ratio, press the white triangle to the right to reveal options, drag the vertical slider up, and voila, “Uncostrained” is revealed. (click it). I think DXO should let the top option be available without having to drag the slider up, but now you know.

The simplest approach, Mike, is to hold down the Ctrl-key while grasping any of the Crop-controls - and PL will switch to Unconstrained automatically.

John M


John - will this change the “default” setting, because that is what MIke wants?
In other words, will it be kept to “unconstrained” even if I close and restart DPL


No, it’s not changing the default - - but it gives you a quick shortcut to Unconstrained anytime you want it … whilst also allowing you to have your favourite crop-factor set as your default = = Best of both worlds.

John M

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Thanks, but I’m not sure I am being so “smart” about it… to me, crop is just one more factor like shutter speed and aperture, that changes from picture to picture. It’s just one more tool that allows me to create the effect that I’m after, and yes, I have learned to shoot wider than I otherwise might, so I have room to crop if the photo isn’t level. Personally, I like vertical lines being vertical, even if the camera is pointed slightly up or down, so I need room to allow me to straighten them (That’s one more thing I love about this software, as it is so easy to correct - much more so, than the tools I have in Lightroom. As I recall, everything became active as soon as I installed Viewpoint.)

Yes, I am using the right triangle to bring up “Unconstrained”, but I would have preferred that to be my default choice unless I wanted to change it. As you suggested, I clicked on GEOMETRY and a long list of things showed up, some with check marks, others without. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with that list - haven’t learned that yet. I added a check mark for “vignetting”, but I’m not sure what difference the check mark makes…?


John-M, I’m on a Mac. Did you mean control-key, or command-key?

If I click on the down-arrow to the right of “Aspect Ratio”, I can select anything I want, including “Unconstrained”, but it does the same thing regardless of what I’m doing with the control and command keys. For me, once I change it to any setting, I guess I’d like it to stay that way, unless/until I change it to something else. As it is now, every time I move to the next photo to edit, I need to do this again. And again, and again… no big deal, but it’s annoying to me, as I usually forget until it does something I didn’t want it to do. If I’m editing ten images, maybe when I move to the next image it could remember the choice I made?

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I’m on Windows, Mike - - where it’s the Ctrl-key. I don’t know what the Mac equivalent is (?) … @sgospodarenko: Would you please assist us with this.

John M

as said above, I guess the easiest is to save it as a preset and you are done.

Aha! OK, if it is the CONTROL key on Windows, it would be the COMMAND key on a Mac. The Mac also has a ‘control’ key, but that’s different.

No rush, but please explain what is supposed to happen, and when we’re supposed to press the key, and what the result is supposed to be?

See here.

Most probably yes, but we need a confirmation from @akarlovsky.

Svetlana G.

One more time. I have an image open in PL3 which I am editing. I click on the “crop” tool at the top of my screen, which brings up the horizontal and vertical lines over the image to help me while I adjust the crop. In the right panel, I see the main line for CROP, with three choices below it, CORRECTION, ASPECT RATIO, and the line below them that says “TOOL” with the crop icon next to it.

For ASPECT RATIO, it says “Original”, with a drop-down arrow at the right that allows me to change to change from “ORIGINAL” to “UNCONSTRAINED” and several pre-sets.

I now press and hold the COMMAND key.

Nothing that I can click on changes the setting from ORIGINAL to UNCONSTRAINED.

You want me to “grasp any of the crop controls”. Not sure what you mean by “grasp”, but clicking on everything, one at a time, has no effect on my crop setting. For me, the ONLY way to change it is to go into the drop-down menu.

Maybe I’ve accidentally set something incorrectly, or maybe there is some thing else I’m doing wrong. I’m lost. Nothing works, other than doing it the way I’ve gotten used to doing it.

I have no idea how to do any of this as a “pre-set”. I’m perfectly happy with every image opening with nothing pre-set, and doing it all manually - that’s how I’m learning how to use PL3.

I’m far too stubborn for my own good. I decided that the best way to learn PL3 is to stop using anything else for editing, and it’s working, but slowly. …and the crop setting is just a minor annoyance to me. If it never gets fixed, that’s OK too.

Maybe I should make a screen capture of my window, and then you can suggest what it is that you want me to do.

More questions later, I want to do this one issue at a time.

Hello Mike,
I am on a Mac like you. It sounds like you started only recently with DPL. As a first step I highly recommend to read the manual as a first step.
In regards to presets. DXO will apply a preset automatically because it need to convert your raw file so that you have a picture on the screen which you can edit. There is a preset “No correction” which applies only the basics neeed to get a picture on your screen but it is a “Preset”. Lets go step by step.

In your preferences there is a setting where you can determine which preset DXO should use by default. I guess it is on DXO-Standard. Please check and let us know.

I also highly recommend a tutorial written by Pascal - a forum member:


i think your ready to create a personal preset.
1 set your palettes and tools to your personal liking.
Like smartlighting on 15% active or just 15%but inactive.
Crop default on unrestrained.
See what you would like as starting point.
2 i think right mouse click, windows, and then make preset of these settings.( i am not behind my dxo pc.)
Rename to mike’s preset.
3 go to preferences, and select on default preset your own.
Now all new raw files your ingest will be treated with your preset.

Or if you prefer to start from scratch for each photo, simply apply the “No corrections” preset then set crop to unconstrained. Now create “Mike’s preset” in the preset editor using “Create preset using current selections” and name it “Mike’s preset”. In preferences choose Mike’s preset as the default preset applied to RAW files or RGB files or both. Restart Photolab and all your files will appear with no corrections but unconstrained will be available immediately when you click on crop.

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Instead of starting from scratch, can I keep everything just the way it is now, but add the instructions as to how I want to crop? I’m enjoying PhotoLab 3 as it is, and part of that is probably the standard preset I am now using. While I would like to learn all about these settings, I don’t want to start from the very beginning.

At the top right of my window, I can click on “Presets”. That brings up four General Purpose Presets to choose from. My immediate question is how do I know which one is active? I assume it is the Standard Preset, but without anything being highlighted, how would I know that?

Time to stop for a while and take the other advice about reading the manual. I assume DxO PhotoLab 3 has a section in the manual about how to use Presets. Will start there, if I can find it.

Mark, I have no desire to start from scratch. The starting point is to find out what I’m using now. I did find the Preset Editor in the left pane. Not sure yet what to do with it. It’s also past midnight, so this will be a project for tomorrow.

(Just see if you like my preset or make your own and delete this one.)
i did my “general preset” and then only changed the crop default to unconstrained:
Mikes General preset unconstrainedcrop.preset (7,2 KB)
use the import button and your done:
10 sec work. :slight_smile:

I did the same with portrait of DxO but then a partial version which only effects the contrast for skin:
i used the dxo version and unchecked all things which i didn’t wanted to effect, so i can use this on any moment to check if i need the skin mode (less detail on skin tone.
(contrast and color accentuation and fine contrast is changed. so you need to have filmpack for the fine contrast.)
Partial portret skin preset generic v3.preset (1,1 KB)

About Filmpack @mwsilvers did a good job for creating presets of filmpack emulations so you can preview the effect in the “apply preset” section.
show video of presets click here