Preferences include settings such as panel positions, measurement options, and display options for graphics and typography. Preference settings specify how InDesign documents and objects behave initially.
This section covers preference settings in the General tab of the Preferences dialog box. For information on other preferences, search for the appropriate setting.
In the When Scaling section, you can determine how scaled objects are reflected in panels and how the content of scaled frames behaves.
Select Apply To Content if you want the point size to change when a text frame is scaled. (See Scale type.) If this option is selected when a graphics frame is scaled, the percentage size of the image changes, but the frame reverts its percentage to 100%. (See Scale objects.)
Select Adjust Scaling Percentage to display the original point size with the new point size in parentheses when you scale text. If this option is selected when you scale graphics frames, the percentage size of both the frame and image changes.
If you change settings when no documents are open, your changes set the defaults for new documents. If a document is open when you change settings, the changes affect only that document.
Similarly, if you change settings when no objects are selected, your changes set the defaults for new objects.
If you use the same page size and language for most of your documents, you can change these defaults with no document open. For example, to change the default page size, close all documents, choose File > Document Setup, and select a desired page size. To set a default dictionary, close all documents, choose Edit > Preferences > Dictionary (Windows) or InDesign > Preferences > Dictionary (Mac OS), and select an option from the Language menu.
When InDesign is behaving erratically, deleting preferences (also referred to as “trashing preferences” or “removing preferences”) often solves the problem.
It’s a good idea to make a backup copy of the preference files called InDesign Defaults and InDesign SavedData. Instead of removing your preferences, you can copy these backup files over the problematic corrupt preference files and not lose any customizations.
Mike Witherell provides a detailed list of which files are affected when you restore preferences in Adobe InDesign Presets (PDF, English only).
Windows: Start InDesign, and then press Shift+Ctrl+Alt. Click Yes when asked if you want to delete preference files.
macOS: While pressing Shift+Option+Command+Control, start InDesign. Click Yes when asked if you want to delete preference files.
Various program preferences and default settings are stored in the Adobe InDesign preferences files. These files, including the InDesign Defaults file, are saved each time you exit from InDesign. For manual deletion or renaming, the location of the preference and cache files are as follows:
Replace [#] with the product version as 15.0 or 14.0. Replace [language] with your choice of locale like en_US or jp_JP.
~/Library/Preferences/Adobe InDesign/Version [#]
~/Library/Caches/Adobe InDesign/Version [#]
||~/Library/Preferences/Adobe InDesign/Version [#]
||~/Library/Caches/Adobe InDesign/Version [#]
Re-creating the InDesign preference files restores settings to their defaults, so you lose custom settings associated with the old preference files.
Creating paragraph and character styles. (See Add paragraph and character styles.)
Creating object styles. (See Object styles.)
Creating table and cell styles. (See Table and cell styles.)
Creating PDF export presets. (See Customize Adobe PDF presets.)
Creating print presets. All the attributes in the Print dialog box are included in the style. (See Print a document or book.)
Creating trap presets. (See Trap presets.)
Creating transparency flattener presets. (See Flatten transparent artwork.)
Creating table of contents styles. (See Create TOC styles for multiple lists.)
Saving the workspace configuration.
Creating document presets. (See Define document presets.)
Creating stroke styles. (See Define custom stroke styles.)
In general, change the feature settings in the dialog box, and then save the settings. Styles and presets are stored in the document in which they are created. You can use the settings from another document by importing or loading the styles and presets from that document. In addition, most presets can be exported or saved to a separate file and distributed to other computers.
Mike Witherell provides a detailed list of presets in Adobe InDesign Presets (PDF, English only).
You can also share styles and presets across all documents in a book file. For more information, see Synchronize book documents.