InDesign Preference Settings: Document or Application?

Here’s a quirky InDesign issue. When you change preference settings, some settings apply only to the current document, while other settings apply to all documents.

The bottom line is that if you want your preference settings to apply to all new documents you create, close all documents before changing settings.

If you want to know which specific settings are document-specific and which ones are application-specific, keep reading…


General (Application)Interface (Application)Type (Mixed)   Use Typographer’s Quotes (Document)   Type Tool Converts Frames to Text Frames (Application)   Automatically Use Correct Optical Size (Document)   Triple Click to Select a Line (Application)   Apply Leading to Entire Paragraphs (Document)   Adjust Spacing Automatically When Cutting and Pasting Words (Application)   Font Preview Size (Application)   Enable in Layout View (Application)   Enable in Story Editor (Application)   Smart Text Reflow options (Document)Advanced Type (Mixed)   Character Settings (Document)   Use Inline Input for Non-Latin Text (Application)Composition (Document)Units & Increments (Document)Grids (Document)Guides & Pasteboard (Mixed)   Color – Margins, Columns, Bleed, Slug, Preview Background (Document)   Color – Smart Guides (Application)   Snap to Zone (Document)   Guides in Back (Document)   Smart Guide Options – Align to Object Center, Align to Object Edges, Smart    Dimensions, Smart Spacing (Application)   Minimum Vertical Offset (Document)Dictionary (Mixed)   Language (Application)   All other options (Document)Spelling (Application)Autocorrect (Application)Notes (Application)Story Editor Display (Application)Display Performance (Application)Appearance of Black (Application)File Handling (Mixed)   Create Links When Placing Text and Spreadsheet Files (Document)   All other options (Application)Clipboard Handling (Application)

16 Responses to InDesign Preference Settings: Document or Application?

  1. Michael says:

    The Display Performance setting in CS3 was not consistent with this statement. Has it been fixed in CS4?

  2. Bob Bringhurst says:

    Yes, it looks like some of the Display Performance settings in CS3 were document-based. Hmm. I never noticed that change.

  3. Anne-Marie says:

    Very useful, Bob, thank you!It would be great if the UI could have some sort of indicator flagging the doc-specific items right in Prefs.

  4. Jochen Uebel says:

    @ Michael & Bob:As far as I can see the Display options of CS3 are consistant with this list. Which ones are not?

  5. Kay Tucker says:

    HiI had someone work in a document in CS. I make postscript files out of CS3. The document mysteriously makes indents. The style was set with First line left indent at -0p3.44. Which is weird because it’s align left text. Opened the doc in CS3 and the First line left indent is 0 but there is still an indent. There is no nested style. Open the document in CS2 and indent has disappeared and First line left indent is set at -0p3.44.I’m lost and didn’t know if anyone ever came across this problem.

  6. Terry says:

    when I try to open InDesign I get a note:Cannot load Adobe InDesign CS3 because it requires Shortcut Editor Dialog. Please install the shortcut editor dialog plug in and restar Adobe InDesign[Go to the user forums for this type of question: http://www.adobe.com/support/forums

  7. Cece Cutsforth says:

    How can I change the default preferences that are set at the factory? We have a college lab and are constantly having to trash the preferences. It takes a huge amount of time then to change the general preferences back to how the students need them (Inches on, Leading applied to all Paragraphs, No transformation values etc).__________________________– You should edit the preferences the way you want, and then copy the SavedData and InDesign Defaults files to a safe place. After your preferences are trashed, copy these files back to their locations. Read more about this process and other preference information here:http://www.jetsetcom.net/images/downloads/presets_8_mac_2009_02_04.pdfBy the way, you’ll get a quicker response in the user forums, where lots of experts answer such questions:http://forums.adobe.com

  8. Belinda Oaten says:

    hellohow do i download this dialog plug in i am in the middle of a college project

  9. Helena says:

    My InDesign attempts to use a font missing from my system as its default font. How can I change this default font to a font I have?

  10. Bryan Morse says:

    I noticed that when I open an InDesign (CS3) document from a different user—regardless of my own prescribed settings—the preferences change; specifically Units and Increments. Will this continue to happen upon opening previous user’s documents regardless?

  11. livan says:

    Did you find the solution? I got the same problem right now, if you got the solution, pls kindly let me know. Many thanks.

  12. Danielle says:

    Cannot load Adobe InDesign CS3 because it requires Shortcut Editor Dialog. Please install the shortcut editor dialog plug in and restart Adobe InDesign.I got this message and have no idea how to fix or install the plug in, i don’t even know where to find the plug-in or what it is. Please help!I went to http://www.adobe.com/support/forums and didnt find much information on how to fix it.

  13. Robin Collins says:

    I can not get InDesign CS6 to hold the inches setting I put in the general preferences under units and increments. It continues to revert to points when I open a new document. Does anyone know how to get the preferences to stay in inches?

  14. MOJO says:

    USED TRIAL INDESIGN CS6 FOR THAT MONTH I DID ALOT OF WORK AT THE END OF THE TRIAL COULNDT BUY THE NEW CS6 BECAUSE OF ITS HIGH COST I HAVE INDESIGN CS3 WONT OPEN THE DOCUMENTS I DID IN CS6 SAYS IM MISSING ALL KINDS OF PLUG INS COULDNT FIND HOW TO DOWNLOAD THESE PLUGINS OR WHAT TO DO
    PLS HELP
    AFTER ABOUT 6 MONTHS OF THAT AND SUDDENLY CS3 ME WONT OPEN AT ALL IT SAYS
    Cannot load Adobe InDesign CS3 because it requires Shortcut Editor Dialog. Please install the shortcut editor dialog plug in and restart Adobe InDesign.I got this message and have SHORT CUT EDITOR DIALOG SEEMINGLY INSTALED IN THE RIGHT PLACE. Please help!I went to http://www.adobe.com/support/forums and didnt find much information on how to fix it.

    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      Whenever you use a trial version, make sure that you save it in a format that can be read in your older version. In InDesign CS6, save the document as IDML. That IDML file can be read in InDesign CS5.5, CS5, and CS4–but not CS3. You need to find a copy of InDesign CS4 and save the file back as INX (similar to IDML). You can then open that INX file in InDesign CS3.

      To fix the other issue, have you tried removing preferences when restarting InDesign? If that didn’t work, have you tried reinstalling InDesign?

      Your best bet to find the info you need is to start a thread in the InDesign forum: http://forums.adobe.com/community/indesign