The Develop Module

Use Develop for non-destructive adjustments to pictures, both in RAW format and in other bitmap formats. Develop has the same basic layout as the other main sections of the program. The Navigator panel is on the left; press F6 to show or hide it.
The modes in which Develop can be displayed are shown on the top bar in the middle of the window: Ikona. MapIkona. BrowserIkona. Preview, and Ikona. Full View.
With the default settings, a preview of the current picture is shown in the main, middle part of the window, but depending on the currently active mode, a map or thumbnails of all the pictures in the folder can be shown there instead.
The right-hand portion of the window shows a panel with a histogram, basic picture information, toolbars for controlling basic functions, and also controls for individual edits’ settings. Press F8 to show or hide this panel.
The “Filmstrip,” with thumbnails of the current folder’s files and folders, is shown at the bottom. Press F9 to show or hide the Filmstrip.

Destructive Image Edits and Non-destructive Image Adjustments

By default, the Develop module works in what we call non-destructive mode. That means that the original picture always stays untouched, and all adjustments to it are recorded to supplementary files saved alongside the file being edited. None of the picture’s original data, and none of the changes, are lost if you move to another picture, leave the Develop module, or even exit Zoner Photo Studio. When the picture is opened in the Develop module, the changes from before are read back in and applied again to the original, unedited picture. You are thus right where you left off in your adjustments, including the ability to undo a change or even all of your changes.

However, Zoner Photo Studio also lets you use the Develop module in destructive mode. To switch ZPS into this mode, click the small triangle button next to the Save button at the top of the right panel.  This shows a menu for choosing a saving mode.

In the Save destructively mode, actual picture editing is the same as in non-destructive mode. The only difference comes when you’re finished editing and move on. At this moment you are asked whether you want to save all of your edits to the original file.

Warning: Answering yes to this query irreversibly changes the original file!

Confirming that you have finished your edits to the file also causes all of your individual editing steps to be forgotten. It is not possible to go back to them, or to remove any changes that were stored into the picture.

The Picture Display

Use this preview to visually double-check edits while you work. To zoom in or out, use the mouse wheel. Single-left-click to switch between two key zoom levels: 1:1 and Zoom to Fit. Alternatively, use the slider above the picture display, or use the items in the View menu. To turn on blowout highlighting, click the button for this in the histogram window at the top right. For RAW images, normally a low-quality preview is quickly shown as you shift the editing sliders, and then the full-quality preview is shown a little later.

The Side Panel

Use the controls in this panel on the right side of the window to check and change the development settings for the current picture. The controls here are divided into groups. When any setting in a group is changed, a checkmark and an arrow button appears in the group’s header. Use the checkmark to deactivate that whole group. Click the arrow button to return the settings in the group to their defaults.

The contents of the Side Panel can vary depending a given picture is in RAW format or in another bitmap format. For non-RAW formats, some groups are absent and some controls are inactive. If a RAW image has been edited in an older version of Zoner Photo Studio, then the controls here change in order to reflect that older version and to ensure that the picture is developed correctly.


Adjustments made to a picture can be saved as “Presets.” Click the Save button here to show a window for naming your new preset, and then a second window for setting which settings groups will be stored. Turn on Changed Items Only to save only those settings that have been changed from their defaults. In this case, when the preset is later applied, only the saved settings will be affected; the others will remain unchanged.

You can work with the settings for the current picture using the commands in the Settings menu under the main menu:

  • Copy Adjustments to Clipboard  this copies the current picture’s settings to the Clipboard
  • Choose Adjustments to Copy – use this to set which settings to copy
  • Paste Adjustments from Clipboard – this pastes settings from the Clipboard into the current picture
  • Apply Default Adjustments – this saves the current settings to a preset with a name of your choice
  • Reset Adjustments – removes all Develop-module adjustments from the selected picture or pictures.
  • Paste Adjustments from Previous File – (holding down Alt) – this takes the adjustments that were applied to the last selected photo and applies them to the current photo.
  • Apply to Following Files – (holding down Ctrl) – this takes the adjustments that you used on the current photo and applies them to all the photos that are after it in the sorting order.
  • Apply Adjustments to All Files – applies the current settings to all files in the folder
  • Make Current Edis the Default – use this to create your own custom default settings. These are automatically applied to pictures when they are first loaded into Develop.
  • Manage Default Adjustments… – shows a listing of all your saved default adjustments. Adjustments can be removed.
  • Set Newest Processing Version – if you have been working on a photo in an older processing version of the Develop module, you can use this command to set it to the newest processing version.

Stored Presets are listed in the Side Panel, in the group named Settings. Move the mouse over a preset to see a small preview how it will affect the picture. Click a preset to apply it.

Copying Adjustments to Multiple Pictures

To apply settings to multiple pictures at once, mark those pictures in the Filmstrip, right-click one of them, and then in the right-click menu, use the item named Paste Develop Module Adjustments. You can also use the Browser’s right-click menu for work with settings.

Saving Changes

As long as you are in non-destructive mode (the normal mode), you don’t need to save changes, or confirm them while you work. They are saved automatically when the next picture is loaded, when you switch out of Develop, or when you exit the program. To make advanced edits that are not available in Develop, switch to the Editor. However, changes in the Editor are not non-destructive, and it will no longer be possible to use Develop to modify the original edits. Therefore, we recommend that you save the picture under a new name in the Editor rather than saving it back to its original name.

In destructive mode, after confirmation, changes are saved directly to the original picture.

Adjusting Batches of Pictures

Non-destructive adjustments can also be made to multiple selected pictures at once. The following functions and settings are available: Automatic enhancement, Crop, White Balance, Exposure, Color. However, since each picture may have different settings, the settings are applied relative to a picture’s existing settings. Thus during batch adjustments, the values are added together with the existing settings for individual files.

More information

Zoner Photo Studio Step By Step. Part 3: How To Work With the Develop Module

Zoner Photo Studio X Step by Step. Part 4: Where Next in the Develop Module?

ZPS X Editing School: Try Editing a Nighttime Portrait

ZPS X Editing School II: Developing an Autumn Portrait Step by Step

ZPS X Editing School III: Make Cinematic Edits to Your Photos

3 Practical Examples of How to Edit Car Racing Photos