Adobe InDesign System Defaults Setting and Removing

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31 October 2016

Do you find yourself constantly changing your document starting typeface or always needing to add company brand colors to the swatches panel each time you start a new project.  If you have answered yes to any of these scenarios, then it is time to change your ‘system defaults’ to allow you to start each project with the options you need, thus saving you valuable time on each project.

Changing System Defaults

Changing your system defaults is an easy process, follow the steps below to change your defaults.

Step One: Open InDesign
Open InDesign but do not start a new document.  Just leave it idle on the opening program screen.

Step Two: Change Your Defaults
You will be amazed how many of the panels you still have access to without ever opening or starting a new project.  For example, if you open the swatches panel, you can add or delete swatches.  This will enable you to add in your brand colors or any other color palette you find yourself referencing on a continuous basis.

By opening your Paragraph Styles panel, you can set your [Basic Paragraph] style that InDesign provides you on each new file you create.  Imagine the time you will save if you started 5 projects a day and you modified those changes each time.

InDesign Interface

InDesign Interface

After opening InDesign, be sure no documents are opened.

Resetting System Defaults

Okay, we have all been there.  We get click happy or accidentally remove items that we did not intend to remove and we just want things back the way they were to start with a fresh slate.  Or during training sessions, I prefer to have participants reset their defaults so we are all on the same page with the information we are looking at during training.

Restoring the system defaults is an easy process, with the exception you have to have some fast key presses.

Step One: Close InDesign
You want to be sure InDesign is completely closed down.  On PC you want to click on the red x in the top right corner and if you are on a Mac you want to go under the InDesign – Quit to completely close the program


Time for Some Fast Presses

On a Windows machine, set your fingers on one hand to hover over top of the Ctrl, Shift and Alt keys

On a Mac, set your fingers on one hand to hover over top of the Command, Control, Shift and Option keys

Step One:
Use the mouse to double click on the InDesign icon or single click if it is on your task bar and IMMEADIATELY press down on the keys referenced above.

Step Two:
You may release the mouse, but be sure to keep the keys pressed until you get a Dialog box from InDesign.exe asking if you want to delete the preference files.  Click ‘Yes’ and InDesign will open using the original system defaults.

“Imagine the time you will save by changing your defaults.”

InDesign Delete Preferences

Hold down the keys until this message appears during the ‘resetting’ process

Change the screen setting to easily see the differences of black colors used in your project.

Additional Insights

By ‘Resetting’ your system defaults, you will also lose any of the the Document Presets you have customized.  If you have several presets that you reference for recurring projects, you will need to reenter all those as you create new projects.

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