About preferences and defaults

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.

Set general preferences

This section covers preference settings in the General tab of the Preferences dialog box. For information on other preferences, search for the appropriate setting.

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > General (Windows) or InDesign > Preferences > General (Mac OS), and then choose the type of preferences you want to specify.
  2. In the Page Numbering section, choose a page numbering method from the View menu. (See Display absolute or section numbering in the Pages panel.)
  3. In the Font Downloading and Embedding section, specify a threshold to trigger font subsetting based on the number of glyphs a font contains. This setting affects font downloading options in the Print and Export dialog boxes.
  4. 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.

  5. Click Reset All Warning Dialogs to display all warnings, even the ones you’ve already checked not to display. (As warnings appear, you can select a check box to prevent the warning from appearing again.)

Set defaults

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.

Change default settings for new documents

  1. Close all documents.
  2. Change any menu items or panel or dialog box settings.


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.

Specify default settings for new objects in a document

  1. With document open, choose Edit >Deselect All.
  2. Change any menu items or panel or dialog box settings.

Restore all preferences and default settings

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).

  1. Do one of the following:
    • (Windows) Start InDesign, and then press Shift+Ctrl+Alt. Click Yes when asked if you want to delete preference files.

    • (Mac OS) 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 locations of the preference files are as follows:

  • Mac OS

    InDesign SavedData

    Users/[user]/Library/Caches/Adobe InDesign/Version [version]/InDesign SavedData

    InDesign Defaults

    Users/[user]/Library/Preferences/Adobe InDesign/Version [version]/InDesign Defaults

  • Windows XP

    InDesign SavedData

    \Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Application Data\Adobe\InDesign\Version [version]\Caches

    InDesign Defaults

    \Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Adobe\InDesign\Version [version]

  • Windows Vista or Windows 7

    InDesign SavedData

    Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\InDesign\Version [version]\Caches\InDesign SavedData

    InDesign Defaults

    C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\InDesign\Version [version]\InDesign Defaults

About InDesign styles and presets

You can store settings for reuse, including settings for the following items:

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.