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David Blatner: Have you ever launched InDesign and found a whole panel is just blank or maybe it has no buttons in it or some other really weird problem affecting the program? Well the first thing that you should do is quit and restart InDesign. But if that doesn't clear up your problem, the solution is almost always do we build your preferences files. Let me show you two ways to do that. First, I'll quit out of InDesign. I don't need to save this particular file and I'm going to re-launch InDesign. In this case I am going to do that by just double-clicking on the application file here in this folder and as soon as I launch it, I'm going to hold down all my modifier keys on the keyboard.
That means on the Mac I hold down Command, Option, Control, and Shift and on Windows I would hold down Ctrl, Alt and Shift. Hold them all down immediately after launching the program. And if you hold it down fast enough you will see this dialog box appear. Do you want to delete the InDesign Preference files? In this case I say yes I do. Now if you didn't hold those modifier keys down fast enough you won't see that dialog box and InDesign will launch normally. So just go ahead and quit and try it again, holding those keys down a little bit faster.
In this case I know that InDesign has deleted those preference files and started me off with brand-new fresh ones with no preference corruption or anything like that in there. But there's a problem. The problem is I've lost all my preferences that I had set up. For example, normally when I first launch InDesign I set up a few preferences that I want to be the defaults in the program. For example here on the Mac I like turning on the application frame and maximizing that. You don't need to do that on Windows because there's always a maximized application frame in Windows, but here on the Mac I like turning that on.
Also I'll go to my Preferences dialog box and I'll do things like turn on my Apply Leading to Entire Paragraphs. That's just a preference that I like having turned on all the time, so I make that change while no documents are open, therefore it will change all subsequent documents. But those kinds of preferences are exactly the kinds of things that get lost when you rebuild preferences. So here's what I am going to do. I set up the preference just the way I like them, then quit InDesign-- very important to quit InDesign because InDesign only writes those preferences to disk when you quit InDesign.
So I quit. Now I am going to go find those preferences files. I'll show you how to do this on both Mac and Windows, Mac first. Here I'll open up new folder and then inside my user folder I'll open the library and then inside Preferences folder here I'll find the Adobe InDesign preferences. So I'll open that up then I'll see my Version folder. Depending on what version of InDesign you're running you'll see a different number here, but I'll open that up and depending on what language you're using you'll find a different named folder here. This is the US English folder. I'll open that up and finally we find the InDesign defaults file.
That's where those preferences were saved into. You'll also find some other files in here. For example your shortcuts sets or your custom workspaces but the one I really care about right now is InDesign Defaults. I am going to take this and I'm going to duplicate it out onto my Desktop. You can save a copy anywhere, onto a thumb drive or a server or any other folder, just as long as you have a duplicate of your preferences file with all those settings just the way you want. That way in the future if I ever have some kind of problem and I want to delete those preferences, I can just come in here, grab that, throw them away, and then duplicate my nice clean one back in here.
When I restart InDesign it will start off with the preferences just the way I had them. When I restart InDesign it'll start up with the preferences just the way I wanted them. Now let me show you where those hidden files are on the Windows side. Windows Vista and Windows 7 hides InDesign's preferences files. They are in a hidden folder called AppData. So in order to see that you must first go to the Organize menu and choose Folder and Search Options. Inside this dialog box you can choose View an then turn on Show hidden files, folders and drives.
Without that you'll never find the AppData folder. There it is. So I'll double-click on AppData, double- click on Roaming and keep going inside Adobe and then InDesign and then inside your version number. Remember the version changes depending on which version of InDesign you use. Inside there, there is a language folder. This is my US English language and here is my InDesign preferences file called InDesign Defaults. I can back that file up by copying it into another folder. In this case I'll simply right click and drag it onto my Desktop and then choose Copy Here.
Now that copy has all of my clean preferences in it. It's easy to forget that InDesign has always hidden support files running behind the scenes. But these files are often the key to troubleshooting whenever things go wrong.
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