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Bri-Toon

How to transfer all preferences

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I was going to post this in the Designer beta section, but I thought it would make sense to post it here instead since it could apply to any Affinity product. I also think it will help plenty of others to know as well. So my question is, how do you go about transferring all preferences such as custom keyboard shortcuts, styles, brushes, fonts, workspace, and etc. from the previous commercial version to the current beta? When a new beta is released, all the preferences are set to default, and I recall there was a way to match your previous setup. I just don't remember it.


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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21 minutes ago, Bri-Toon said:

When a new beta is released, all the preferences are set to default, and I recall there was a way to match your previous setup. I just don't remember it.

All my preferences are saved from one beta release to the next, but they are totally separate from the preferences for the commercial version.

I'll have to defer any answer about transferring from commercial to beta until I'm at my computer.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.742 Beta.

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Okay. I look forward to your answer.


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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5 hours ago, Bri-Toon said:

Okay. I look forward to your answer.

Just checked what forums you've posted topics in, and as you seem to be a Mac user I probably can't help you very much.

On Windows, though, in %Appdata%\Affinity\Designer (or Photo) there are folders named 1.0 and 1.0 (Beta). Below each of those there are additional folders.

Note that I have not tried the following procedure, as I'm happy with my Beta preferences as they are, and I know that when I upgrade my 1.6 installation to the retail version when the beta is done, my 1.6 preferences will survive and be present in 1.7.

However, if I were trying to transfer all the settings from 1.0 to 1.0 (Beta) I would first make sure that Designer (or Photo) was not running. I would then make a backup of the complete 1.0 (Beta) folder in case things don't go well and it becomes necessary to revert. This is important!

I would then copy the Settings, user, and Workspaces folders from 1.0 to 1.0 (Beta), and also the preferences.dat file. Or I might copy the contents of 1.0 into 1.0 (Beta), replacing any existing files of the same name. That way, if there are new files in 1.0 (Beta) that don't exist in 1.0 they wouldn't be lost.

Then I would start Designer (or Photo) and hope (and try to verify) that everything is OK.

This approach is risky and I am not certain it would work. I can think of two scenarios for getting the files updated when you install 1.7 on top of 1.6, to include new functions:

  1. The installer updates them when run.
    or
  2. When Designer 1.7 (or Photo 1.7) starts, and notices that the various user preferences files, etc. are at the 1.6 level, it updates them before continuing.

If scenario 1 is true, then replacing the 1.0 (Beta) files with the 1.0 files will probably cause some kind of loss of function, making this process unfeasible. If scenario 2 is true, then everything should be fine. Only Serif would know, and without guidance from them one can only experiment and see what happens.

For a Mac I believe a similar set of files exist, but they are located somewhere else. Others have commented on that in these forums before. The risks are probably the same for Mac and Windows. Make sure you make a backup of any files or directories you're modifying!

A safer approach: This Serif video shows how to export many of the settings, brushes, etc. using functions provided by the Affinity applications. Following the instructions in that video to make backup copies using 1.6, and then importing them into 1.7, should be safer. I don't think it will transfer as much as the approach I listed above, but it should have fewer risks.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.742 Beta.

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Hi Walt, thank you for taking the time of figuring out the best approach for me. I like the idea of exporting and backing the different preferences. I never knew that was an option or for the keyboard shortcuts to export settings. I'm thinking I might do that. Thanks.


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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24 minutes ago, Bri-Toon said:

Hi Walt, thank you for taking the time of figuring out the best approach for me. I like the idea of exporting and backing the different preferences. I never knew that was an option or for the keyboard shortcuts to export settings. I'm thinking I might do that. Thanks.

The export/import functions are great, but there are many settings that aren't covered by this mechanism.

On Windows, and I suspect on Mac as well, most of the settings are stored in .XML files. Here is a list of the settings files for both the release and beta folders (the filenames in red are different between the two folders):

image.thumb.png.d4a7b9008d336394a9bd65e1c290751d.png.:

These files are just text, so you can examine them and copy settings from one to another. 

If you are comfortable with text editors (as opposed to word processors :)) you can copy settings from one file to another, or copy the entire file from the release version to the beta and see what happens. As long as you follow Walt's excellent advice and back up the files you want to change first you can always get back to where you were when things go wrong.

I've did this extensively when I first started playing with the beta without problems (I haven't used the beta in some time as I'm still in heavy leaning mode with AP). Note, however, that I am a retired software developer and thus very familiar with these things. If you are not confident in your abilities I would recommend you not proceed down this path.


Windows 10 Pro, XP-Pen Deco 03, AP & AD

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6 hours ago, casterle said:

On Windows, and I suspect on Mac as well, most of the settings are stored in .XML files.

In the Mac App Store versions, these files are stored in some compact proprietary binary coded format, not as text according to some XML schema. Most have a ".propcol" extension & a few a ".dat" one. There are also various alias files (I think to allow access to data from other sandboxed apps), a "shortcuts.affshortcuts" file, a Caches folder with various documents, & so on.

Also, while the retail (& trial?) apps store the settings in per user Library/Container subfolders, for some reason the betas are stored in per user Library/Application Support subfolders. 


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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Hi Casterle, thank you for your answer. And yes, there are settings hidden deep in the software folders of the operating system, but I like to stay extra cautious when working around them. I'm not too familiar with the settings, and a single slip-up can do a lot of damage. Anyway, you said that there are settings in the Affinity export functions that are not covered?


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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16 minutes ago, Bri-Toon said:

Anyway, you said that there are settings in the Affinity export functions that are not covered?

For example, Affinity does not provide a way for you to export your Workspace setup (location of studio panels, which studio panels are open), the Tools you have configured, the Toolbar buttons you have configured, and probably others that I'm too lazy to look for right now :)


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.742 Beta.

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23 minutes ago, Bri-Toon said:

.I like to stay extra cautious when working around them. 

I understand. Mucking about with these files is certainly not for everyone. 

25 minutes ago, Bri-Toon said:

 Anyway, you said that there are settings in the Affinity export functions that are not covered?

I was trying to say what Walt said better :).


Windows 10 Pro, XP-Pen Deco 03, AP & AD

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51 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

For example, Affinity does not provide a way for you to export your Workspace setup (location of studio panels, which studio panels are open), the Tools you have configured, the Toolbar buttons you have configured, and probably others that I'm too lazy to look for right now :)

There is also no guarantee that whatever the betas store for all these items will be appropriate for the retail apps once they are updated to the 1.7 versions. If nothing else, the sandboxed versions of the apps (from the Mac or Windows stores) are likely to have at least some differences from the betas & the Affinity Store versions, maybe enough to cause issues if all the beta setup files are copied over to the retail updates.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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6 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

For example, Affinity does not provide a way for you to export your Workspace setup (location of studio panels, which studio panels are open), the Tools you have configured, the Toolbar buttons you have configured, and probably others that I'm too lazy to look for right now :)

I see. Thanks for explaining.

6 hours ago, casterle said:

I was trying to say what Walt said better :).

Haha. That's okay. I appreciate it.

5 hours ago, R C-R said:

There is also no guarantee that whatever the betas store for all these items will be appropriate for the retail apps once they are updated to the 1.7 versions. If nothing else, the sandboxed versions of the apps (from the Mac or Windows stores) are likely to have at least some differences from the betas & the Affinity Store versions, maybe enough to cause issues if all the beta setup files are copied over to the retail updates.

Good point.


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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I would + 1 to a sync option to be included in future versions. I often work from home and have my panels laid out differently on both studio and home desktops and my MacBook Pro, so I often find myself in a muddle. 

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To combat the problem of getting things set up in new versions I created a doc that lists everything I have needed to do.  It has worked well for me for the last several changes.  I just add any new items when I make changes.  Following is an excerpt.

2075136778_ScreenShot2020-03-20at10_28_26AM.png.ca04ec312f406a52f94b268d613d43e8.png


iMac (27-inch, Late 2009) with macOS Sierra

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You know, I had an issue with this for 1.7, so I backed everything up this time around, but it appears I didn't have to do that. 1.8 transferred everything over without the need of me having to reimport everything. I don't know what went differently. I can't guarantee the same for others though.


The website is still a work in progress. The "Comics" and "Shop" sections are not yet ready. Feel free to connect with me and let me know what you like or what can be improved. You can contact me here, on my contact page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account. Thanks and have a great day!

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