Imagine an editor with multi-language support. You’re able to open multiple documents at once, and the language of each document can of course be different to the languages of other documents.

First of all, the editor itself has general settings which affect all documents, independent of language. For example, font settings or whether a status bar is shown or hidden. These I call “general settings”.

Secondly, there are language-specific settings, such as indention or special features peculiar to each language. I call these “language settings”.

Last but not least, there’s a third type of settings. At first glance, these appear to be applied across the whole editor again — that is, to all documents — but they really aren’t. They just determine the default look-and-feel for brand new or for newly loaded documents. The settings themselves can be changed individually for every document at any time.

As an example, consider a split-view layout.1 If you regularly use this layout, you activate it by default, but in some circumstances you want to be able to deactivate this feature for the current document only.

For the last type of settings, I’m looking for a concise word as header in the settings dialogue. On the one hand, these settings are common or ordinary, but this is too similar to the general settings, and the slight difference might not be obvious.

On the other hand, these settings are default settings, but I’m not satisfied with default. For one, the other types of settings are to some extent also default settings, and for another (in my humble opinion), that designation is more appropriate to values of controls such as combo-boxes, for example. But not to settings.

Finally, the last type could be named document settings or editor settings. But again, how these particular settings differ from general settings isn’t obvious in their respective names.

So, I need a word (or phrase) which fits here.

  1. A split view is often used when using a declarative language, like XAML. You can change the code in one part of the view, while the other displays the actual look.
  • I was going to suggest Document settings only to find you've discounted it. But if you have General settings and document settings, they must be different; document settings aren't general so probably apply to each document, as the name suggests.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 13:24
  • @AndrewLeach In my understand document settings are related to all documents, same like C# language settings are related to all C# languages. If I expect to change all documents containing C# language just by changing a setting in the C# languages settings, I also expect to change all document by changing a setting below document settings. This is kind of general settings imho and this is the reason I dismissed this naming. Am I wrong? (edit: to be continued...)
    – Em1
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 13:40
  • There's one important further argument that came to my mind just right now. Let's say I turn split view on in the settings dialog, create four pages and turn off for one page. What do one expect if I now turn split view off in the dialog? Yeah, layout of all open documents should change to "split view off"?! And I need to turn on for each page I still do want. But is this really what I want to do, since actually the layout is an individual look&feel of each. And for me it's same like tab and indention. I just tested with VS. If I change tab size to 8, not all documents are adapted.
    – Em1
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 13:48
  • "Template"? This is what Microsoft calls it...
    – SAH
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 2:17

5 Answers 5


I would say the best choice would be the combination: default document settings. This can be interpreted the default settings of the application related to documents, or the setting of the application related to the default document, which would be the blank document that loads when the editor is opened. I think either interpretation works for your purposes, unless I misunderstand.

  • Yes, both interpretations are fine. Only counter-argument would be that it is a bit too long. However, if there doesn't exist a concise word I will stick with this idea.
    – Em1
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 14:11

What about creating a descriptor portmanteau word, such as thisdoc and then use thisdoc settings for your label. If you can tolerate a longer version, it vould be thisdocument or this-document.


What's not clear from your description is whether these settings stay with the document even if you close and re-open.

If so, then how about 'document-specific settings'?

If not, I would suggest 'session settings', how does that fit?

  • I still not satisfied with anything starting in document, see also my comments to my question. Session settings are also not what I'm looking for, it's not clear what this 'session' is referring to. Documents == Sessions?
    – Em1
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 13:51

Why not just say page settings?


Mode settings is a possibility. In some editors, mode settings control whether syntax highlighting applies, whether HTML is listed or interpreted, which submenus are available, how text wraps, etc. A single file can be displayed at the same time in several buffers using different modes in each.

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