How to transfer preferences on Mac OS X

How to transfer preferences between different user accounts on Mac OS X.

Dr Vipoir tends to get asked this quite frequently so it is high time that he wrote a note on the subject.

Okay, picture the scene: you have just set up Openlab on OS X under your administrator account. You create a new account, start Openlab from this account and many of the things you originally configured are not present. This is because this new account is using a different set of user-level preferences, in fact when you start Openlab for the first time it creates a new set for you. Ultimately this is a good idea as each user might want to set up their Openlab accounts slightly different. It would be nice however to give them a kick start and get them up to speed by using the preferences that have already been configured in another account.

Now I’ve got that off my chest this is what you need to do:

Firstly make a copy of the user-level preferences from the administrator account or the account that you want to use as a ‘donor’.

Log in to that account.

Go to the Macintosh HD … Users … the account home directory … Library …Preferences

In the above screen shot I have logged into the account ‘test2073’.

In the Preferences folder you will find a folder called ‘ Openlab Prefs ƒ’. This contains the User level preferences for Openlab.

Click once on this folder to select it then go to the Edit menu and copy it. Now we want to copy this to a location that is accessible to all accounts. The ideal location for this is:

Macintosh HD … Users … Shared.


Once in this location paste in the preferences (Edit … Paste).

Now switch to the new account you have just created. Once you are in the new account go to Macintosh HD … Users … Shared.

Make a copy of the ‘Openlab Prefs ƒ’ folder using “Edit …Copy”, then go to:


Macintosh HD … Users … the account home directory … Library …Preferences. Paste in the copy of the preferences using “Edit … Paste”.

When you start up Openlab in this account the preferences, at least initially, should be identical to the preferences in the ‘donor’ account.

Before we finish just a word of caution, be careful when you are copying and pasting preference files as they hold a lot of configuration information, just be sure that you are targeting the Openlab preferences folder that you want to populate the other accounts with.