Resetting Illustrator Preferences

4 minute read • Last updated 2019-10-11

If you experience an issue with Adobe Illustrator, including with any Astute Graphics plugin, you may be asked to reset your Adobe Illustrator preferences. This can be done by following the guidelines below.


Note that this process will reset all your panels, etc. in Illustrator, but these may be re-applied and set to your workflow manually once more.


Why would I want to reset my Illustrator Preferences?

It's good practice, very easy to do and solves a lot of issues with Illustrator and Astute Graphics' plugins.


What do I need to do after resetting my Illustrator Preferences?

The main task after resetting the preferences is the need to open, stack and reposition your panels (available under the Window menu).

If you have set up your Illustrator Preferences (Illustrator [CC] > Preferences > …) in a unique way, you will also be required to re-establish these.

Typically, all this can take a few minutes.


Can I restore previous settings?

Yes, as long as you first make a backup of the preferences file you can always return to your previous preferences.


How will resetting Illustrator's Preferences affect my plugins?

Firstly, it will not affect your licensing or trial period. Therefore, resetting will not mean you need to re-apply your software license keys.

However, following a preference reset, it will mean that your SubScribe and DirectPrefs free plugins will display the "About" window on restarting Illustrator. SubScribe will repeat this 3 times in total, DirectPrefs only the first time.


How do I reset my preferences?

Follow Adobe's official guidelines here. Alternatively, read on…

There are two levels of resetting your preferences, the first and more commonly known is to:

·       Windows users: Press and hold Alt+Control+Shift as you start Illustrator

·       Mac OS users: Option+Command+Shift as you start Illustrator

Your current settings are deleted.

The second method is to:

1.     Quit Illustrator

2.     Manually locate your Adobe Illustrator Prefs file

3.     Delete it


How do I back up and restore up my Illustrator Preferences?

To back up your Adobe Illustrator Prefs file…

·       Quit Illustrator

·       Locate the Adobe Illustrator Prefs file

·       Copy it to somewhere safe

To restore it…

·       Quit Illustrator

·       Locate the correct folder

·       Copy the previously backed-up Adobe Illustrator Prefs file back into the folder

Restoring this file will revert your panels, window positions, native Illustrator and Astute Graphics plugin preferences.


Locating your Illustrator Preferences file

The file is named Adobe Illustrator Prefs

Adobe document the location of this file here. But here is a quick guide on how to find the folder which contains the Adobe Illustrator Prefs file…

Mac OS users:

1.     In the Finder menu bar, follow Go > Library (this may be hidden so hold down the Alt key to reveal)

2.     Open the Preferences > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator [version*] Settings > [local language] > … folder

Windows users:

Users > [username] > AppData > Roaming > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator [version*] Settings > [local language / 32/64] > …

*Depending on your Illustrator version this folder will be named as follows:

·       Adobe Illustrator CS6 Settings = CS6

·       Adobe Illustrator 17 Settings = CC (initial CC release in 2013)

·       Adobe Illustrator 18 Settings = CC2014

·       Adobe Illustrator 19 Settings = CC2015

·       Adobe Illustrator 20 Settings = CC2015.3

·       Adobe Illustrator 21 Settings = CC2017

·       Adobe Illustrator 22 Settings = CC2018

·       Adobe Illustrator 22 Settings = CC2019


For the full Illustrator version/naming list, please refer to the Illustrator Wikipedia page.


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