I've been asked how to install Aperture presets many times since Apple Aperture 3 shipped. Especially since I published my collection of 3 black & white presets for Aperture. (UPDATE: I've published a new collection of black & white presets). So, I thought I'd write a quick article with simple step-by-step instructions so I have somewhere to point people.
Installing Aperture 3 presets is a simple process that takes less than a minute once you know what to do. I'll keep the instructions as simple and straightforward as I can, so without further ado, here's how I do it:
Installing adjustment presets in Apple Aperture 3:
There are only 2 steps involved once you have Aperture open. However, before you start ensure you know where you saved the presets you want to install! More than one photographer has asked me where to find them, so it's worth mentioning. If you downloaded the adjustment presets from the web with Safari, they'll probably be in the Downloads folder since that's the default. If not, try your Desktop.
Aperture's adjustment presets have the icon above and use a ".AdjustmentPresets" extension. For example, if you download my black & white presets you'll get a file called "Ponzanelli-Black-White-v2.AdjustmentPresets.zip". Double-click it to decompress it and you'll get the preset file called "PonzanelliBlack-White-v2.AdjustmentPresets" with the presets icon.
OK, with that out of the way, here are the steps.
Step 1: Open the Edit Presets Window in Aperture
To access Aperture's Presets menu you need to have the Adjustments tab selected. Once there, click on the Presets button, then select Edit Presets... at the bottom of the drop down menu as shown in the photo above.
This will open up the Adjustment Presets window where you can manage your presets.
The Adjustment Presets window is important, as it'll allow you to organise your presets into folders, rename them (both folders and the actual presets), delete them, and even view which adjustments each one is made up of.
In the image above you can see on the right column what adjustments my B&W Preserve Shadows preset is made of. This shows my preset makes adjustments to the following bricks: White Balance, Exposure, Enhance, Curves, Highlights & Shadows, Color, Black & White, and Vignette.
Believe me, this window will be your friend once you start accumulating a serious number of presets. It's easy to get carried away and end up with way too many in a completely disorganised way. Luckily, as with the management of your photographs, Aperture 3 gives you great flexibility to organise your adjustment presets.
Step 2: Install the adjustment preset in Aperture
From the Adjustment Presets window, click on the gearbox icon in the lower left (see photo below). A new menu will appear with a few options. This is where you can create folders, called Preset Groups, to organise them as well as delete and duplicate.
To install the preset, click on Import. A standard Mac OS X window will open giving you access to your hard drives. From here, find the preset you want to install and click OK.
That's it. Your new preset(s) is(are) now installed in Apple Aperture and ready to use.
By the way, if you want to Export your own presets to share with others, just click on Export from this same window.
If you're interested in reading more about Apple Aperture, head over to the Aperture area on the site.