How to Reset Your Data Source Definition (DDF) Settings

If you encounter a problem opening your Data Source Definitions (DDF) dialog window, selecting a different DDF, or if you see a warning that information in a DDF is not supported or is invalid, this generally means that your internal configuration file which stores all of your DDF information has become corrupted. It is rare when this happens, however, it is possible for this file to become corrupt when InDesign quits unexpectedly or when you force-quit InDesign repeatedly for whatever reason. This article tells you how to repair this condition.


To resolve this, you will need to quit inDesign and reset the DDF file in your DesignMerge configuration. This will reset all of your existing DDF's, including whichever settings are causing the problem.

Reset the file automatically

Follow the steps below to automatically reset this configuration file:

  1. Launch the InDesign application.
  2. Open the DesignMerge menu and choose Options > Support Utilities > System Maintenance.
  3. When prompted, click Yes to continue.
  4. On the System Maintenance dialog, select 3) Reset Default DDF and click Continue.
  5. A status message will appear indicating whether the file was reset or not. 
  6. You must restart Adobe InDesign now in order to force DesignMerge to create a new, fresh DDF file.

Replace the file manually

This method allows you to retain the original configuration file so that you can send it to us for our examination to see what became corrupt inside it and then provide you further guidance based on that information.

To remove the corrupt file, follow these steps:

  1. Start InDesign, open the DesignMerge menu and select Help > Open Settings Folder.
  2. Once the settings folder named Meadows has opened, quit InDesign, but keep the Meadows folder open.
  3. Inside the Meadows folder, you will see a DesignMerge folder. Open this folder.
  4. Inside the DesignMerge folder, you will see a file named Record Definitions. Move it to your Desktop.
  5. Start InDesign. DesignMerge will automatically create a new Record Definitions file.
  6. To confirm this resolved the problem, open your Data Source Definitions dialog. InDesign should not quit. On the Data Source Definitions dialog, open the Current DDF menu. You should see only one DDF entry, the Document DDF. Close the menu and, if available, click the New button that is on the Data Source Definitions dialog. Name the new DDF something unusual, for example, "Test", and then click OK to create this new DDF. Again, InDesign should not quit unexpectedly during these events. If InDesign does not quit, the problem has been resolved.
  7. Before you open any production documents and choose when prompted to have DesignMerge create the document's Missing DDF, send us the Record Definitions file that you placed on your Desktop. Recreating a DDF from a document could reintroduce this problem if the DDF information that was last saved in that document was the corrupted version of the information.
  8. To send us your problem Record Definitions file, archive/compress (ZIP) the file, open a Support Ticket on the Meadows Help Desk, and attach the ZIP file to your support ticket. We will examine your Record Definitions file immediately to let you know how best to proceed in order to avoid recreating this situation.

Each document also holds it's own copy of DDF settings, so you can always restore the original DDF settings if you need to.  You may also find it helpful to use the DesignMerge Export DDF Set feature from time to time to create a backup copy of your DDFs so that should you ever encounter a problem with your current set of DDFs, you can import the DDFs that you exported previously. For more information, see DesignMerge Documentation.