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Migrating vs. Syncing Settings in InDesign CC 2014

When InDesign CC 2014 was released, it introduced a new feature called Seamless Update. This feature migrates all the preferences and settings you’ve created in a previous version of InDesign into the 2014 release. But I’ve observed that many people are very confused over how this differs from another feature offered in InDesign CC and CC 2014—Sync Settings. This posting will help you sort out what each feature is used for, and how they work.

Seamless Update: Migrating Your Settings

The Seamless Update solves a common problem: You’ve set up a variety of presets and settings (including application preferences) on your previous version of InDesign. When a new version appears, you have to tediously re-create them again in the new version.

The Seamless Update feature requires that (1) you have another copy of the application (InDesign CS6 or CC) where you have some local settings you have created. This could be any of hundreds of different presets or settings you have set up in the application. (2) You’re installing a major update to InDesign CC. The 2014 release is such a major update.

The feature takes place automatically, without any intervention from you, the first time you launch InDesign CC 2014. If the settings migration from the previous version succeeds, you’ll see a message like this:

Previous Settings Copied

Previous Settings Copied

If for some reason, it fails, or if you decide to migrate the settings from the earlier version later, you can manually choose Edit > Migrate Previous Local Settings.

Sync Settings

The Sync Settings feature was introduced with InDesign CC 9.1. It has a different purpose. It’s currently used to backup only five specific InDesign settings to the Creative Cloud, or to a second computer which is tied to the same Adobe ID. These settings are:

  • glyph sets
  • menu customizations
  • keyboard shortcuts
  • custom workspaces
  • PDF presets

Here are some limitations: You need to have set up customized settings (not the default ones) before syncing to another computer. At least for custom workspaces, you can’t sync a changed custom workspace. Keyboard shortcuts cannot be synced between different platforms.

Unlike Seamless Update, Sync Settings requires that you initiate the process; it doesn’t happen automatically. It is limited to two computers using the same Adobe ID. The syncing happens via your Adobe Creative Cloud account. The settings are uploaded to Creative Cloud and then downloaded and applied on the other computer. So for it to work, both computers must be connected to the Internet and be signed into the Creative Cloud.

To set up your Sync Settings on a computer, choose Edit > [Adobe ID logged in] > Manage Sync Settings (Windows) or InDesign > [Adobe ID logged in] > Manager Sync Settings (Macintosh). Choose what you want to sync and also choose what to do in case of a conflict.

Sync Settings Preference

Sync Settings Preference

When you want to sync your settings, you can choose Sync Settings Now from Edit > [Adobe ID logged in] > Sync Settings Now (Windows) or InDesign > [Adobe ID logged in] > Sync Settings Now (Macintosh). You can also sync settings from the Sync Settings icon and menu on the status bar. Click Sync Settings Now.

Sync Settings Status

Sync Settings Status

Where the Two Features Overlap

When installing a major version of InDesign, if no settings have been created on your computer in an earlier version of InDesign CS6 or CC, and if you have created no settings yet in InDesign CC 2014, there is the possibility that you might be prompted to copy settings from those you have already stored in your Adobe ID account on Creative Cloud.

Steve Werner

Steve Werner

Steve Werner is a trainer, consultant, and co-author (with David Blatner and Christopher Smith) of InDesign for QuarkXPress Users and Moving to InDesign. He has worked in the graphic arts industry for more than 20 years and was the training manager for ten years at Rapid Lasergraphics. He has taught computer graphics classes since 1988.
Steve Werner

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3 Comments on “Migrating vs. Syncing Settings in InDesign CC 2014

  1. I just got a new iMac and am trying to transfer my settings from InDesign CC 2014 but they will not sync. After researching online, it seems many people are having the same problem. Is there a way that I can migrate those settings from one computer to another? I have file sharing open on both and can transfer files between the new iMac and the old MacBook Pro.

  2. Waiting for the ability to sync Preferences in InDesign. And I’m writing in late September—two-and-a-half months after you published this article! You can sync Preferences in other CC apps. When will Adobe get around to allowing us to do it in InDesign?

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