Sublime Text uses .sublime-settings files to store configuration data. Settings control many aspects of the editor, from visual layout to file type settings.


Settings files use JSON and have the .sublime-settings extension. The purpose of a .sublime-settings file is determined by its name. For example, Python.sublime-settings controls settings for Python files, whereas Minimap.sublime-settings controls the minimap settings, etc.

Types of Settings

As mentioned above, there are several types of .sublime-settings files controlling several aspects of the editor. In this section only file type settings are explained.

File Settings

A hierarchy of .sublime-settings files controls settings specific to a file type. Therefore, the location of settings matters. As it’s always the case when merging files of any kind, Sublime Text gives the top priority to files in the User package. See the section Merging and Order of Precedence for more information.

In addition, there’s yet another layer of settings that overrides the others: the session. Session data is updated as you work on a file, so if you adjust settings for a file in any way (mainly through API calls), they will be recorded in the session and will take precedence over any .sublime-settings files. Calls to obj.settings().get() always return the value in effect for obj.

When untangling the applicable settings for a file at any time, one must also keep in mind that Sublime Text adjusts settings automatically in some situations. For example, if auto_detect_indentation is on, the value a call to view.settings().get('tab_size') returns might appear unexpected, especially if you’ve explicitly set tab_size moments earlier.

Below, you can see the order in which Sublime Text would process a hypothetical hierarchy of settings for Python on Windows:

  • Packages/Default/Base File.sublime-settings
  • Packages/Default/Base File (Windows).sublime-settings
  • Packages/User/Base File.sublime-settings
  • Packages/Python/Python.sublime-settings
  • Packages/User/Python.sublime-settings
  • Session data for the current file
  • Auto adjusted settings

Global File Type Settings

There are two types of global settings files affecting file types:

  • Base File.sublime-settings and
  • Base File (<platform>).sublime-settings.

Base File is always in effect for all platforms, whereas Base File (<platform>) only applies to the named platform. Multiple Base File and Base File (<platform>) files can coexist with the exception of Packages/User. From Packages/User, only Base File will be read. This is so there is only one global file that overrides all the other ones.

Legal values for <platform> are: Linux, OSX and Windows.

Settings Specific to a File Type

If you want to target a specific file type in a .sublime-settings file, give it the name of the applicable syntax definition for said file type. Note you have to use the syntax definition’s file name, not a scope name. For example, if our syntax definition was called Python.tmLanguage, we’d need to call our settings file Python.sublime-settings.

Settings files for specific file types usually live in packages, like Packages/Python, but there can be multiple settings files for the same file type in separate locations. Similarly to global settings, one can establish platform-specific settings for file types. For example, Python (Linux).sublime-settings would only be consulted under Linux. Also, under Pakages/User only Python.sublime-settings would be read, but not Python (<platform>).sublime-settings.

Regardless of its location, any file-type-specific settings file has precedence over every global settings file affecting file types.

Where to Store User Settings

Whenever you want to persist settings, especially if they should be preserved between upgrades, place the relevant .sublime-settings file in Packages/User. This is the recommended place to store user settings.

You can nevertheless save settings files under other subdirectories of Packages. For example, Packages/ZZZ/Python.sublime-settings would override Packages/Python/Python.sublime-settings by virtue of alphabetical order. However, Packages/User/Python.sublime-settings would continue to have the highest precedence for the Python file type settings.