Altium Designer allows you to transfer your settings between instances of Altium Designer using the Save and Load features of the Preferences dialog. All preferences can be loaded, or you can choose a subset of settings to load. You also have the ability to import preferences from any previous build of the software that you have installed. The first time you run the new release, Altium Designer will attempt to import your settings from your last version - ensuring the new release opens with the same look and feel you developed in the previous release, even down to the last opened workspace and panel positioning!
Importing Preferences and User Setup at Startup
We all have a certain way we like to work with Altium Designer. From the minute the installation finishes and we launch the software, we begin to massage the workspace and its preferences, where possible, to our personal liking. Certain panels grouped here, others set to popup over there. Some tweaks to menus and toolbars to offer further streamlined expedience. Over time we refine things a little further, for example setting favorite preferences and specifying particular object defaults. Quite simply, we personalize our working environment. Pass by many installations and you will no doubt see a varied preference to the look and feel of a workspace. Once you have crafted the environment to your liking, there's an almost unsavory distaste about working on somebody else's installation – there's no place like home, as they say. Ultimately, our particular setup provides a finely-tuned, well-honed electronics design workspace, primed and charged ready to take on the challenge of designing that next intelligent electronics product!
Installing the next release of the software used to mean applying all of those personal touches again, including loading a saved copy of the preferences. This can often be a laborious exercise, and there is always at least one setting that is inevitably forgotten – "I could have sworn that used to display that way before!". Not anymore. With Altium Designer, help is at hand, courtesy of the ability, at startup, to import preferences and copy across user settings from the most recent previous release of the software that you currently still have installed on your computer. Just like a Formula-1 driver pulling in for a quick pit-stop, installing the next release leaves you with your familiar trusty environment just the way you like (and already had it setup in that previous release). No having to manually load preferences or drag those panels back to where they should be, you're good to go – ready to drive off instantly and get on with the more important job – designing!
To make use of this feature, simply click Yes in the Import Settings dialog that appears when you first launch your newly installed release of Altium Designer.
Some of the settings from an old release may be specific to that release and you may not want to import them. For instance, if you use the libraries provided with Altium Designer, you probably want to make use of the new libraries rather than the old. If you want control over which settings you import, click on the link to show the list of options pages. The dialog will expand to display the options pages and you can choose which pages to import.
Importing Preferences at Anytime
You do not have to import preferences at startup. Preferences can be imported from another previous build/release at any time. However, the benefit of importing at startup is that you get your working environment looking exactly the way you left it in your previous installation. Importing preferences at a later stage will only 'restore' a subset of this environment.
To import preferences from a previous installed release of the software, simply click on the button, located at the bottom of the Preferences dialog (DXP»Preferences). The associated menu will list all previous builds/releases currently installed on your computer, and that can be imported from.
Simply click on the required build that you wish to import from. You will see the Import Settings dialog where you can choose which settings to import. Click Yes to import the selected settings.
Saving your Preferences
Preferences can be saved and loaded using the Save and Load buttons located at the bottom of the Preferences dialog. Click Save and you will be prompted to specify a file to save as. Your preferences will be stored in a compressed format. Click Load and you will be prompted to choose a preferences file from which to load Altium Designer settings. After choosing a preferences file, you can choose which settings to import and click Yes to import the selected settings.