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Troubleshooting 101: Replace, or "trash" your InDesign preferences

Feb 24, 2014 3:17 PM

When InDesign starts to behave strangely, the number one suggestion for troubleshooting is to replace (or trash, reset or restore) the application preferences. This will remove corrupt preferences and replace them with a new set of default preferences, and often end bad behavior.

 

There is a quick and easy method for doing this using the keyboard: close and relaunch InDesign, and IMMEDIATELY hold down Ctrl + Alt + Shift (Windows) or Cmd + Ctrl + Opt + Shift (Mac), and respond in the affirmative to the dialog asking if you really want to replace the preferences. There are two downsides to this method, however. First, you must be extremely fast on the keyboard (if you don’t see the confirmation prompt, you were too slow), and second, anytime you replace the preferences you will lose most program customizations, and using the keyboard method leaves you with no backup to restore them when the problem turns out to be something else.

 

My preferred method is to CLOSE INDESIGN and do a “manual” prefs replacement, which consists of finding and renaming the two files which make up the preference set: InDesign Defaults and InDesign SavedData. BOTH of these files should be replaced at the same time. You can delete them, but renaming or moving them will give you the opportunity to copy them back in the event that new prefs doesn’t cure your issue. When you restart ID, the program will look for these two files, and when they are not found, a new default set will be written.

 

NOTE: The InDesign team is collecting corrupted preference files to investigate related issues.

Please share your corrupted preferences files with the team here: http://adobe.ly/1jv2b7N

 

These are normally hidden files, so you will need to set your system to show them. They will be found in various places depending on the OS, and the version of InDesign. (Edit: For Mac users running OSX 10.7 or newer, you can learn how to show hidden files here: Access hidden user library files | Mac OS 10.7 Lion)

 

InDesign Defaults:

Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\<USER>\Application Data\Adobe\InDesign\<Version #>\<language>\  (Note: Prior to version 6 [CS4] the language folder is not used).

Windows Vista or Windows 7: C:\Users\<USER>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\InDesign\<Version #>\<Language>\ (Note: Prior to version 6 [CS4] the language folder is not used).

Macintosh: Hard Drive/Users/<USER>/Library/Preferences/Adobe InDesign/<Version #>/<Language>/(Note: Prior to version 6 [CS4] the language folder is not used).

 

InDesign SavedData:

Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\<USER>\Local Settings\Application Data\Adobe\InDesign\<Version #>\<Language>\Caches\ (Note: Prior to version 6 [CS4] the language folder is not used).

Windows Vista or Windows 7: C:\Users\<USER>\AppData\Local\Adobe\InDesign\<Version #>\<Language>\Caches\  (Note: Prior to version 6 [CS4] the language folder is not used).

Macintosh: Hard Drive/Users/<USER>/Library/Caches/Adobe InDesign/<Version #>/<Language>/ (Note: Prior to version 6 [CS4] the language folder is not used).

 

In some earlier versions of ID, InDesign SavedData may also be found in the first directory.


 

As mentioned above, when you replace your preferences you will lose customizations beyond those things that are set in the preferences dialogs. These include Document and Print Presets you might have created. If you haven't made backups already, you should go, prior to replacing the preferences, to the "Define" dialogs for printer and document presets and custom stroke styles, and select all of your custom entries, the click the save button and put the file someplace safe. After resetting preferences using the keyboard or by renaming/deleting the old files and restarting InDesign, these customized settings can be re-loaded with a single click once again in the Define dialogs. 
  
PDF presets can be backed up in the same way, but they are stored in a different location and will not be destroyed by a simple preference reset. Other customizations that you should not lose are workspaces, keyboard shortcut sets, and find/change queries.

 

As a further step I strongly recommend that you make a copy of these two files when you have a working customized set. Store them in a safe place and you can use them to overwrite a corrupt set so no further editing or reloading will be required. Users of InDesign CS4 can use a free script from InTools.com to backup and store multiple sets of preferences: In-Tools Scripts » Preference Manager Script

 

Edit: Corrected Mac Path per Jongware's post below.

 

UPDATE: I just ran across a situation in which overwriting the InDesign Defaults and InDesign SavedData files failed to restore functionality to the tools on a single user account on a multiple user system (the other account was fine). This is an absolute first and I've been using the technique for years, including replacing these two files on this system which is used by the student newspaper where I was a professor, in order to customize or restore preferences every semester. What did work was to use the keyboard method first, then close InDesign and manually replace the two files to restore the prefs to the proper settings.  -- Peter

 

Message was edited by: Peter Spier

 

Message was edited by: Peter Spier

 

Message was edited by: amxyz

Branched to a new discussion.
 
Replies 1 2 3 ... 5 Previous Next
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 8, 2009 7:14 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    I'll give it a try when I'm not working on this project. Nothing except "Help" is misbehaving.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 20, 2010 2:49 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    The correct path for "InDesign Defaults" is

     

    Macintosh: Hard Drive/Users/<USER>/Library/Preferences/Adobe InDesign/<Version #>/<Language>/

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 20, 2010 7:02 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Yup -- that's okay.

    Today, this solved the problem of a phenomenally slow ID (which didn't really bother the operator) that on top of that started to crash at random (which did started to annoy him, after the third or fourth time). So far, it seems both are fixed.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 28, 2010 5:40 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Are you able to Direct or Make the preference files be saved somewhere else?

    We have roaming profiles in our business and these preference files get to big and it dosnt let the user log of (With the GP we have in place only 20MB is allowed on the desktop)

    So we were hoping that there is some way we can get the progam to save the files maybe somwhere else on the PC or of our choosing?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 9, 2010 4:18 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    I am having this problem here at our newspaper on our lead advertising compositors computer. We are relatively new to ID. We've only used it for one year. She had reported to me that her ID was "crashing" often and she was losing her preferences. I started running Disk Warrior every week and thought that was fixing it because I assumed it was a font problem. She just told me last week that the problem was still occuring. I read this information on our forum and also referred to other information and deleted the preferences files and was elated to find the problem seemed to be cured. She went an entire issue of the paper with no problem.. which is a big deal... until tonight... and the software closed on her as we went to press.     So she was cured for less than 3 days.

     

    My question is... how long should it be between crashes? Absolutely no one else in the office has had a single issue since we installed over 1 year ago and at least one other person does as much as she does on their computer. Should I uninstall and reinstall the software or is this preference problem a fact of life and we should just learn the recovery technique and just "do it." I might mention that there are no physical or file problems on her computer as reported by Disk Warrior.

     

    I would appreciate any advice you might give me as how to proceed with this problem.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 23, 2010 9:14 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Struggling along here... Still working on our lead compositor's computer who has the problem with the continuous crashing of InDesign.

     

    After deleting her folders of preferences she had no problems for several days. Thought she was cured. Then she had a return to problems. She used the the boot method of deleting proferences and did okay for a while. Then she had a very busy day for us where her software misbehaved (crashed) continuously all day.

     

    We kept a log of what she was working on when it would close and it was always different graphics and files.

     

    I ran DiskWarrior and did find that there is a corrution in a system header file that cannot be fixed. So I have created a new user for her.

     

    This has created a motley of problems for her and today she is ready to kill me.

     

    Tell me WHY of her 790 fonts that I copied from her old user to her new user her Bodoni Bold will not work? I have copied it into Local/library/Fonts AND User/Library/Fonts (although I know that isn't necessary since I know she is the only user on the machine) I have repaired disk permissions three times.

     

    When I test it, it works for about two seconds and disappears.

     

    AND, using her new user id, so many of her files on the NAS are Read/Write by administrator only from her old user.... I have no idea how that happened. None of our other designers files have been locked by their user id!

     

    So, even though she knows her software is going to crash, she has logged in using her old id until I can overcome her font issue and find a way to universally unlock all of her files...

     

    Any words of widom for me??

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 22, 2010 6:29 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Mac OS X 10.5.8 - ID CS4 6.0.4

     

    I have tried a few times now trashing both InDesign Defaults and InDesign SavedData.

     

    ID crashes every time I re-open the same document (which I was hoping to finish today, after ten day's work!) so I beginning to think it may be something in that document, because it crashes every time I try to go to a particular spread (either scrolling or by 'Cmnd J').

     

    Can you advise a course of action - delete the suspected spread and insert a new one?

     

    Many thanks.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 22, 2010 6:41 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    No, I haven't.

     

    Do you recommend the INX or the IDML route?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 22, 2010 6:44 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Sorry - forgot to ask - would you recommend doing either of these before I try deleting what seems to be the

    offending spread? Or delete the spread first and see if I still have the problem?


     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 22, 2010 7:54 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Regrettably neither INX or IDML worked so I've deleted the offending spread.

     

    Thanks for your help.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 27, 2010 6:04 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Thanks Peter, worked like a dream.


     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 27, 2010 7:52 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    I am running InDesign CS3 Version 5.0 on a MacBook Pro. I followed your instructions and renamed InDesign Defaults and InDesign SavedData. This has not improved the super-long time it's taking to open an InDesign file. I'm seeing some updates that I haven't been prompted to install - 5.01, 5.02, 5.03 and 5.04 - should I do this? NOTE: I am pretty much a novice at troubleshooting and fixing, but I CAN follow directions. Thanks for any help you can offer.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 27, 2010 8:13 AM   in reply to Herma123

    Absolutely install the 5.0.4 update!

     

    Bob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 27, 2010 8:24 AM   in reply to Bob Levine

    This is probably a LAME question - do I need to reboot before I open InDesign

    ? The program still shows it as Version 5.0.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 27, 2010 8:46 AM   in reply to Bob Levine

    Never mind that last response - I just went ahead and opened InDesign and it came up as 5.04. SO, it worked fine opening a file from my desktop. But it's STILL SPOOLING to open a 3.3MB file from the company server. Our IT person suggested I turn off Airport/wireless so that it's ONLY going thru my network connection to retrieve the file, which I did - but still spooling...

    Makes me think the problem's not InDesign but just getting through to the server?

    I realize you're not the IT/Networking expert; I guess I'm just thinking out loud.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2010 1:33 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    This worked great for me! Thanks


     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2010 2:45 PM   in reply to klas designs

    I should have looked here earlier, I had the first problem with Indesign that I have had in years, and I forgot the keyboard shortcut to reset the preferences. Putting your elbow on the bottom left corner of the keyboard doesn't actually work.

     

    I do appreciate the info on backing up the preferences

    Jay

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 9, 2010 5:18 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Hi,

     

    I don't see a folder for InDesign in my Adobe folder. Is this a problem? Thanks.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 9, 2010 6:40 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Hi

     

    Search Results.jpgThanks. I searched and had the results as shown in the attached image. The 6th result ('Presets") led me to 8 XML files. What should the preferences look like?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 10, 2010 5:26 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Thanks, but I have indeed set Folder Options to 'Show hidden files, folders, and drives' as well as un-checked the 'Hide protected OS files' choice.

     

    This is what my Adobe folder looks like. No hidden files, although now hidden system files are showing up all over other folders:

     

    Adobe Folder.jpg

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 10, 2010 5:31 AM   in reply to monosierra

    Win 7? It's right there -- in your User's folder, not invisible or hidden inside Programs or anything.

     

    there!.png

     

     

    (Ed. It seems you don't have InDesign installed! At least, not under the name you are logged in as.)

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 10, 2010 6:19 AM   in reply to [Jongware]

    It's really strange - I do have InDesign installed as part of the wholw CS4 suite and the installation was done in one session under one username. Every other CS4 program is showing up - except InDesign. Could it be a KeyAccess issue?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 10, 2010 7:31 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Hi,

     

    Thanks for thr advice.

     

    No startup/spash screens at all. Just the hourglass for a bit before the cursor changes back to an arrow  and ID shows up in the Windows Task Manager.

     

    This is a school-licensed version of CS4 so I have to run a VPN Client and KeyAccess (both supplied by the school, which I assume is the latest version) in order to run CS4 programs.

     

    Just uninstalled (YouUninstaller, CS4 Cleaner) and reinstalled without any hiccups yesterday. All other programs running fine.

     

    Stopped themes in services.msc but nothing happening either. ID simply shows up in Task Manager, using 28,644K of memory.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 11, 2010 12:07 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Thanks. I did so today, but they're equally baffled. I uninstalled and reinstalled ID (not the whole CS4 suite) and the same problem persists. So now I've tried the following methods:

     

    1. Clean re-installation of entire suite: Uninstalled with You-Uninstaller and CS4 Cleaner. Reinstalled with no hitches.

     

    2. Trusteer Rapport: Never installed, not an issue.

     

    3. KeyAccess: School is using latest version.

     

    4. Delete preferences: No preferences folder as ID has never launched successfully.

     

    I'm flummoxed as to what exactly is stopping ID from launching. It can't be the license, since all the other programs launch fine. I suspected the new fonts I've installed, but once again, this is only an ID issue. Having uninstalled and reinstalled ID alone, I'm pretty sure the problem lies in some kind of compatibility issues with ID specifically.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 11, 2010 7:30 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Sigh. Just removed all the fonts I installed and still nothing.

     

    I'm considering just buying CS5. However, I fear that the same problem with persist - at a higher cost!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 24, 2010 10:26 AM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Thank you fort this vey helpful message. It solved a number of vexing problems that popped up recently.

     
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