With the CC releases, Adobe introduced a settings syncing feature allowing users to upload and download keyboard settings, output modules and other preferences. This can be pretty useful if you work between multiple systems and want your personalized settings to follow you. I’m old enough to remember when we freelance editors would arrive to a facility with a floppy disc containing our Avid keyboard settings. Plus, leaving your settings on a system was a fun “I was here” marketing strategy. If you had “Wes Plate” in your list of users on your Avid, you were something special <grin>.
But this isn’t your father’s floppy disc, this is the Cloud!
If it were up to me, the Adobe Apps would remember my Sync Settings password longer. In my experience I have to enter my password after every application launch. After you’re signed in and you choose to sync your settings you are presented with this dialog.
Do you want to take the settings stored on your local machine and upload them to Creative Cloud (overwriting what is there)? Or do you want to overwrite your local settings with the version stored in Creative Cloud?
What I don’t like about these two options is I can’t say for sure which version is newer. Many kinds of preferences are set once and then left alone, but in my experience keyboard shortcuts are evolving. When I last used my Mac Pro I may have set a keyboard shortcut for a newly-learned command, but did I remember to upload my changes to Creative Cloud? Did the change I made to my MacBook Pro’s settings based on settings downloaded from the Cloud or did I forget to download before I started making changes here?
I have no idea which of my two systems or the Creative Cloud has the most up-to-date settings for my keyboard. I really want Premiere Pro to just “sync” the settings. Do it Dropbox-style. All settings are synced all the time. And if I make a change on my laptop it is immediately stored in the cloud and my Mac Pro automatically receives the update. It should be invisible to me. I want whatever changes I make on one machine to be available wherever else I sign in and to always be up-to-date.
I have an idea for how you can do this today.
I mentioned Dropbox. I wondered if the keyboard settings file that gets updated locally could be synced by Dropbox even though it isn’t inside the Dropbox folder. I’ll bet some enterprising editor can make that work, but I was not successful. Plus, even if it had worked for me it was complicated. I wanted an easy solution I could easily explain to others. Also I don’t really want to go installing my enormous Dropbox on someone else’s machine when I’m only looking to sync one file.
The following screenshot shows the file that gets updated whenever I change my Premiere Pro CC 2014 keyboard settings. The settings files are in a folder called “Profile-CreativeCloud-” and the keyboard settings are stored in a platform-specific folder.
How to keep two arbitrary folders synced between multiple systems? I decided to try BitTorrent Sync.
BTSync is a peer-to-peer folder syncing application that runs on both Mac and Windows. I have used it to sync files between me and other production companies while editing remotely. Like Dropbox the synced folders stay automatically up-to-date, but there is not a cloud server and in my experience the transfer speeds for BTSync are much better than Dropbox.
Here’s how I synced the keyboard settings between my MacBook Pro and my Mac Pro using BitTorrent Sync.
Install and launch BitTorrent Sync. Click the Add folder button then navigate to the folder that contains the keyboard settings and click Open.
Next you’re asked to assign some settings. Should the “peers” that you’re syncing with have Read-only or Read & Write access to the folder? Choose Read & Write so that your syncing and setting updated and happen no matter which system you’re on. You might want to turn off the peer approval security feature, you’ll see why later.
Then you click on one of the sharing buttons along the bottom. You’ll receive a very long URL that you can open on the other system that you want to stay in sync with. Just open that link and you’ll have the chance to download BitTorrent Sync if you don’t already have it.
If the peer system already has BTSync, you can paste the URL into the Enter a key… dialog found from the gear button in the top right.
Click Next and BTSync will ask you where on the peer system you will store the synced files. Click the Change… button and then navigate to the Profile-CreativeCloud- folder on that computer.
After you click Open, click the Connect button at the bottom of the window to complete the connection. BTSync will probably warn you that the Mac folder already exists, you want to proceed.
When I set up this share I left on the default option to require peers to be approved. So next I need to return to the first computer and accept the request. This could be bad if I didn’t have access to that other computer when setting up the peer. So you may want to turn off the security option.
That’s it! Now, any change I make to my Premiere Pro keyboard settings on my laptop automatically appear on my tower and visa versa.
There is an obvious downside to this: both computers need to be turned on and connected to the internet.
Otherwise this idea seems to have some merit, though I hope in a future update Adobe improves the Sync Settings feature to have this kind of behavior by default.
What do you think? Do you have other ideas for syncing settings between systems?
BTW, you will want to know how to turn this off if you’re working on someone else’s system. Open BTSync and from the far-right menu button choose Disconnect. Syncing will no longer occur.
Here’s a video demonstrating how I set this up. It is not a perfect solution, but it is an idea for now.