May 26, 2010

Workspace import/export script for Photoshop

I sometimes hear requests for an easier way to migrate one’s settings from one version of Photoshop to another, or to share settings among users. To that end, Photoshop engineer Tai Luxon has whipped up a little script you may find handy:

I wrote a script to enable simple importing and exporting of Photoshop workspaces. This is a side project with limited testing, so the usual disclaimers apply. It should work in both CS4 and CS5 (although it is a little more robust in CS5), so you can use it to migrate workspaces from CS4 to CS5 in addition to using it to enable easier sharing of CS5 workspaces between machines/people. Please let me know of any snags that you run into and if this is useful.

To run the script, choose “File->Scripts->Browse…” from with Photoshop, then browse to the script’s location on disk.
[Update: Tai has revised the script to deal with an issue related to invalid font styles, and I’ve posted the revision at the link above.]

Posted by John Nack at 6:53 AM on May 26, 2010


  • MikeD — 8:11 AM on May 26, 2010

    It’s actually very easy: copy and Paste from one preferences folder the other, and it’s done.
    [Copying prefs in that way seems like a bad idea, I’m afraid. It’s certainly not something we test & fix bugs to enable. –J.]

  • Henrik — 8:36 AM on May 26, 2010

    Thanks, it’s a useful function anyway, wether by script or by just copying files. Would love to know if CS4 and CS5 workspaces are interchangeable (esp for people who update from CS4).

  • Jim Monaco — 8:54 AM on May 26, 2010

    Oooh, neat! On CS4, I get an error that says “Invalid font style ‘Italic’:210.”
    But it works in CS5. This is something that could be baby steps into a fully-integrated feature synced with CS Live to bring brushes, patterns, tool presets, actions, styles, etc into the cloud.
    [Believe me, I’ve been pushing that idea here for years. –J.]
    I know I could just do lots of copying and pasting…but this does make things a lot easier. Thanks for pointing us to it!

  • Herman — 8:54 AM on May 26, 2010

    :) Please tell me this includes a way to get rid of the top “PS / workspaces” bar at the top of photoshop? (/end of heckle… ;)
    [You know you can just slide it to the right, right? –J.]

  • Herman — 9:08 AM on May 26, 2010

    To be fair, you can drag it to the right quite a bit… that helps a lot!

  • Herman — 10:55 AM on May 26, 2010

    [foot in mouth moment]
    [Not at all; maybe we made the functionality too subtle. –J.]

  • Herman — 11:25 AM on May 26, 2010

    Now I’m curious! Do you mean the double line gripper that enables me to move [just] the workspaces part to the right? That one snaps back to keep revealing at least a single word… and it’s entire parent bar keeps visible unless I detach & drag it off screen… am I missing something?

  • Thomas — 12:14 PM on May 26, 2010

    [Believe me, I’ve been pushing that idea here for years. –J.]

    There is no distrust John.
    I believe that millions of users appreciate and benefit from your work.
    But, is there any answer on why someone enthusiastic and dedicated Product Manager at Adobe is getting the brakes from Adobe for these “many years”?
    [It’s not that anyone doesn’t want to do it; it’s just that other things have taken priority, for a whole variety of reasons. I’m glad to hear that people like the idea. Our job of course is to demonstrate that pursuing a solution here is the right thing for our business (i.e. that it’s more valuable to customers, as measured in terms of their willingness to pay, than other things we could build). –J.]
    Sure accomplishing that task is not “JDI”, but something REALLY worth bringin it on for the next 18 month cycle.

  • Rubén — 2:30 AM on May 27, 2010

    Wonderful!, just wondering why this is not a native feature in CSX suites, we need a way that enable us to export our settings (workspaces, shortcuts, presets…) in order to be able to work properly in other machines or simple to get easily updated from suite to suite…

  • Geoff Scott — 7:31 AM on June 01, 2010

    Go Tai Go!
    I will definitely give this a try.

  • Alain — 12:39 PM on June 02, 2010

    Merci beaucoup pour ce petit script .
    Transfert de CS4 vers CS5 ok

  • Wendy Amundson — 11:06 AM on October 02, 2010

    Is there a way to export a workspace from CS3 to 5?

    • Jeffrey Tranberry — 2:18 PM on October 02, 2010

      Unfortunately no. the Workspace files changed too radically between CS3 and CS4.

  • Mike — 11:03 AM on November 08, 2010

    1. Works great on Photoshop workspaces. But what about
    Illustrator and InDesign workspaces?

    2. In Photoshop CS3 under Selective Color, I was able to select
    white and black using command 7 and command 9. As of CS4 and CS5, I can’t select white or black using commmand + numeral (the command sequence ends at “command 8 = magenta”). Is there a way to fix this?

  • Michael — 8:40 AM on April 28, 2011

    Sure it’s a year or so later, but just discovered this and wanted to record my thanks, very useful indeed :-)

  • Hadji — 9:08 AM on June 02, 2011

    Great script! worked like a charm!
    Thank you!

  • Carlos — 8:20 AM on October 24, 2011

    I was looking for a way to export my workspace before a o.s. reinstallation, and found this script…thanks a lot for programming it and sharing it! This will help me save some minutes (and some headaches) after reinstalling.

  • Joe — 8:10 AM on December 20, 2011

    Thank you very much for this! ;) Just switched over to a new Mac and didn’t want to redo it on the new one. Appreciate the effort put into this. Thanks again. Worked great!

  • nikos — 2:35 AM on March 02, 2012

    Hi there, it’s absolutely amazing to be able to transfer-backup your workspace settings. I was wondering though if there is something similar to export backup and import preferences. I know that you could back them up before something happens but in case you haven’t that would come quite handy..If anyone knows a way to do that in CS5 please let me know..


  • Wedding Photography Sweden — 6:52 AM on March 07, 2012

    Did not work for me. :(
    From cs5 to cs5. Made a clone from one start-disc to another. Strange!!

  • Bruno — 2:32 PM on March 19, 2012

    This really is something very important. A perfect script, with your brand is clear. Congratulations JNack.

  • Austin DePalma — 8:26 PM on April 12, 2012

    CS6 Beta?

  • Grady Richardson — 8:49 AM on June 06, 2012

    Tried this to export my office workspace setting to my home system – didn’t work. It loaded the file and the workspace showed up on my home system, but it wasn’t the correct configuration. Both systems are CS6.

  • Jack Duganne — 4:29 PM on September 02, 2012

    I have been working with CS6 and the new function in the presets which is workspace import/export. It works badly and I stumbled many times in classes I teach at two local colleges. It was very buggy and would not work at all sometimes and the idea of having to restart Photoshop after acquiring the imported workspace was quite a disconnect from a fluid setup of Photoshop on workstations that remove settings once Photoshop is closed. I tried using your script for CS4 & CS5 and it worked flawlessly! I was delighted because it allows for the import of a workspace while Photoshop is open and does not require a restart for the settings to go into effect. Thank you for your brilliant addition to a continuous smooth workflow!

  • John Warren — 11:36 AM on April 30, 2013

    Does this only work by having the user browse for the file or can this be put in the Scripts folder and then chosen under File > Scripts …

  • Observador Celeste — 9:13 AM on May 22, 2013

    One comment:

    THANX!!!! Just that!!!

    I do not know for the rest of the world, but for me it was VERY useful, and it flawlessly did what it was intended for. Besides, it is free; so it’s only fair that I take the time to thank you.

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