How to Set Default Controls in Aperture's HUD

by Derrick Story

A question I'm constantly asked is: "How can I set my favorite image adjustments as the defaults when I open the Heads Up Display?" For a while, I didn't know the answer myself until I found this post by Jacob Lauemøller in the Aperture Discussion Forums. The answer is a simple edit to the AdjustmentDefaults.plist file.

The procedure is simple. Close Aperture. Go to your Home Folder > Library > Application Support > Aperture. Make a copy of the AdjustmentDefaults.plist file and stash it in a safe place. Open your original version in the Property List Editor or any good text editor such as TextWrangler.

The control that most people want to add as the default is Edge Sharpen. To do so, add a new sibling after the last string and type RKProSharpenOperation (in the Property List Editor), or if you're using a text editor, just add a new string tag and type in RKProSharpenOperation after the last string in the list. You can refer to the examples below. The top example is using the Property List Editor and the bottom example is with a text editor.

Property List Editor

Text Editor

Restart Aperture, find an image to edit, open the HUD, and you will see Edge Sharpen as part of the default list. Jacob lists other strings you can add too:

  • RKRedEyeOperation (Red Eye)
  • RKStraightenCropOperation (Straighten)
  • RKCropOperation (Crop)
  • RKDustRemovalOperation (Spot and Patch)
  • RKChannelMixerOperation (Monochrome Mixer)
  • RKNoiseReductionOperation (Noise Reduction)
  • RKSharpenOperation (Sharpen)

As with any other hack, back up your original data, proceed with care, and experiment at your own risk. (Have fun too!).


2007-01-22 11:56:06
I used this in the recent past but couldn't enable the monochrome mixer in the same way. This seems to be a common problem - the panel can be added to make it visible by default but then does not work when you enable it which is less than ideal.
2007-01-22 13:00:47
Hey Steve, You're absolutely right, at least in my testing after reading your comment. The Monochrome Mixer does show up, but it isn't functional. So, alas, it shouldn't be added to the default list. Thanks!
2007-01-22 13:02:58
Same here with the Monochrome Mixer. I also used the tip to rearrange my presets also. I moved the White Balance function up the list towards the top.


Mike W
2007-01-22 14:56:14
I heard or read somewhere that Apple has set the order of HUD adjustments so that they are applied in proper sequence, ie sharpening should always be applied last.
2007-01-23 00:37:43
I believe the adjustments are applied in the most appropriate sequence regardless of the order in which you (a) display the controls and (b) apply them.
2007-01-23 20:24:20
hi all, i have same problem with the monochrome issue - has this been solved in any way by anyone?!?!? on the other hand i am still missing the script edif to get in th emenu also the colour monochrome - the edge sharpen and sepia tone... is there a scrip for these too or they do not work similar to the monochrome..

thanks mel...

2007-01-24 07:53:06
Woah, this is GEEKY! Apple needs to add a preset manager in the next update. Thanks though, I needed this.
2007-01-24 07:59:44
I haven't heard yet of a solution for the Monochrome Mixer default, but Edge Sharpen definitely works and can be added to the default menu.
Allen Rockwell
2007-01-26 22:11:29
Very nice little hack. I've been wanting the Edge Sharpening to show up by default ... now it does. Thanks.
Flat Stanley
2007-02-03 13:21:11
A very nice tweak indeed. But before I try, please could someone answer some important questions:
Does this tweak add the new adjustment pallettes to the Adjustment Panel or HUD with the new adjustment turned ON by default or turned OFF by default? If you add Edge Sharpening or Noise Reduction palletes to the Adjustments Panel or HUD manually, they are turned ON by default.

If it adds them turned ON by default then presumably the next time I open Aperture ALL my images in the library will have these new adjustments applied to them?

Will that override any adjustments to Edge Sharpening etc that I have already made?

I have many images where I don't want these extra adjustments applied. Do I need to remove the unwanted adjustments from every image manually? Is there a batch process that could do this? (i have 1000s of images)

If I were to reverse this tweak at some point in the future and remove the entries from the adjustmentdefaults.plist then would that remove the Edge Sharpening etc pallette from EVERY image? Even those where I had added it manually and I still want it applied?

Ah questions questions questions

2007-04-24 01:34:12
THX 4 this hack!
now i´m happy with aperture