A Visual Guide to InDesign Preferences
It's no "secret" that InDesign has a boat load of preferences. Press command/ctrl+k and you're met with a dialog box offering eighteen sets of preferences. I was going to count how many individual settings there were, but even I'm not that much of a geek. Suffice to say, there's a lot. One key thing to remember as you traipse through all those settings: some are application-wide and will affect your interactions with all documents, others will only affect the current document. You need to close all open documents to make changes in document-specific preferences apply to new documents (otherwise you'd just be changing the preference for the current document).
So how can you tell which ones are document-specific?
One way you can tell that a preference is document-specific is that when you change it, you can see that event in your Undos in the Edit Menu.
Another clue is that when you change a document-specific preference on a new or freshly-saved document, an asterisk appears in the title bar (or tab) indicating a new unsaved change was made.
Of course, some of us prefer pictures #punintended. And after revealing the Secrets of the Control Panel, I thought it would be fun to create another visual guide. So I put together a PDF with screenshots of all 18 sets of preferences in InDesign CS5.5 and highlighted the document-specific ones, like so:
A Visual Guide to InDesign CS5.5 Preferences (PDF 1.3 MB)