I made a customer text variable with no files open hoping to make it available to ALL my files. Well, that backfired... when I open an existing file I can't see any variables unless I go and make a new one.
The text variables only show up when I make a new file.
Any way to fix this?
That is how any preference, including variables, work. All new files inherit these items, existing files are left alone. If you need those variables in existing files, you can import them from an existing file that has them...which would be any new file that would contain them.
For the above, go to Type, Text Variables, Define, then load, navigate to any document that has them, make sure the variables you want to include into the existing/former document are checked. If there will be a clash, you can choose what to do.