Sync Photoshop settings between computers with Dropbox

Creative Suite products are still siloed and lack features that would make them even better (and that's to say nothing of the bugs that still exist) and maybe the reason for this is lack of competition in the market (Adobe just buys them).

This is based on a Windows system. Mac will be similar but the file locations will be [your_username]/Library/Preferences/. Also on a Mac, Photoshop doesn't like the /Adobe Photoshop CS6 Settings/ folder to be a symlink. The only alternative is to create symlinks for all files within the folder except the folders containing the word 'optimized'

One of the features sorely missing from any computer using Creative Suite is the ability to sync your settings between machines or even back them up. The number of times you need to do a fresh install and then spend hours setting each product up to how you use it. Also, if you work from multiple machines then you can seamlessly sync any workspace or preference changes.

Things you'll need.

  • Dropbox - Sign up is free and you get 2GB of space to start. Plenty for this task.
  • Link Shell Extension - If you're on Windows you'll need some software to help create symbolic links.

Instructions

  1. Close all of the Creative Suite programs and open up windows explorer.
  2. Show hidden files, folders & drives (Organise ➞ Folder and search options ➞ View)
  3. Create a folder in your Dropbox called 'Sync' (or whatever you fancy).
  4. Open a new Windows Explorer window.
  5. Navigate to C:/Users/[your computer name]/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CS6/.
  6. Cut the folder 'Adobe Photoshop CS6 Settings' and paste it into your Dropbox 'sync' folder.
  7. Right click on the folder and select 'Pick link source'.
  8. Right click anywhere in the Adobe Photoshop CS6 folder and select 'Drop Link As ...' and choose 'symbolic link'.
  9. Do the same with 'Presets' in the same folder.
  10. Done. You can open Photoshop again.
  11. You should now see the dropbox icon in the taskbar trying to sync. This should happen every time you change your workspace, presets or keyboard shortcuts.

The process remains the same with whichever folder you choose to sync. The only barrier is finding the folders to sync. To sync Illustrator preferences with Dropbox the 'Adobe Illustrator CS6 Settings' folder is actually at the same level as 'Adobe Illustrator' rather than within it.

This is where that silo effect within Adobe becomes apparent.