Preference Files Explained

Mon, Apr 19, 2010

Learn, Tip

Almost every Mac OS X application allows you to customize its settings. These settings are saved in a Preference file. Because Mac OS X allows multiple users, an application will save your Preference file in the Library folder for your user name. To find it, look in /Users/[username]/Library/Preferences/.

Preference file names begin with “com.” and end with “.plist”. In between is the developer’s name followed by the application’s name. For example: or com.adobe.Photoshop.plist.

These are the Preference files to throw away when an application misbehaves so badly that a technical support person suggests you “trash its preferences file”.

A while back, I wrote another story about where QuarkXPress keeps its preference files, and where you should store yours: “Quark’s Preferences Folder: Where Should It Live?

This post was written by:

- who has written 1638 posts on Planet Quark.

Jay Nelson is the editorial director of, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.

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