Syncing Atom Settings Between Computers

Syncing Atom settings between multiple machines is useful in that you’re able to maintain all of your packages, settings, and so on regardless of the machine you’re on.

And yes, I’ve been talking about Atom a bit more as of late. I’m clearly a fan. But that’s evident, right?

If you maintain more than one machine, then it’s usually nice to have the same development environment configured between the two of them.

Here’s a method for syncing Atom’s settings between though it does assume you use Dropbox. If not, any service you use for sharing files can be used, but your actual steps will vary.

Syncing Atom Settings

Syncing Atom Settings

The gist of what we’re doing to do is:

  1. Move Atom’s settings into a directory in Dropbox.
  2. Make a symbolic link between Atom’s directory on the machine so that it references the settings in Dropbox.

It’s only two commands, but I think it’s worth understand what we’ll be doing before actually doing it. Note that I maintain an apps directory in the root of my Dropbox directory, so my commands are using that path.

From the Terminal, first enter the following command:

$ mv ~/.atom ~/Dropbox/Apps/Atom

Next, enter this command:

$ ln -s ~/Dropbox/Apps/Atom ~/.atom

And that’s it. Once done, you’ve moved your Atom settings into Dropbox and then created the symbolic link from where Atom expects to find its settings to where they are.

10 Replies to “Syncing Atom Settings Between Computers”

  1. Nice article! If you want another option, I recently built a package that syncs automatically your Atom settings and packages across multiple computers. A little bit like the bookmark synchronization mechanism in Google Chrome. You just log in with your Google account and the rest is automated. It’s called atom-package-sync. Let me know what you think of it! ;)

  2. Thanks for the tip. :-) I’m just checking out Atom, being a Sublime Text user for many years. As far as I tested it, Atom looks really promising.

    I did the same thing you described to sync Sublime’s settings and packages across several computers. Now I was a little bit shocked about the differences. Sublime’s shared folder in my Dropbox consists of about 60 files with a combined file size of about 8 MB. The shared .atom folder in my Dropbox already consists of over 27,000 files with a combined file size of 160 MB. And by now I only installed a bunch of autocomplete and linter packages. Compared to my Sublime Text configuration, my Atom setup is far from being complete.

    This huge amount of shared files is a pain in the butt. The first sync takes several hours because of the enormous number of small files. And each Windows startup takes even longer because the number of files in my Dropbox grew by 30%. This could be a show-stopper for me.

    1. Thanks for the tip. :-) I’m just checking out Atom, being a Sublime Text user for many years. As far as I tested it, Atom looks really promising.

      Sure thing. It’s fast and the packages that it has available are great.

      Sublime’s shared folder in my Dropbox consists of about 60 files with a combined file size of about 8 MB. The shared .atom folder in my Dropbox already consists of over 27,000 files with a combined file size of 160 MB.

      Indeed. It all has to do with the stack that’s used to great the packages (at least that’s what I can assume since I haven’t spent that much time working with either one of them in that much detail because, at the end of the day, that’s still a negligible amount of space when we’re used to GBs :).

      The first sync takes several hours because of the enormous number of small files. And each Windows startup takes even longer because the number of files in my Dropbox grew by 30%. This could be a show-stopper for me.

      Totally understand that. I’ve moved on from it (and you can read about it here) but as a basic text editor with a few additional packages, it’s not bad.

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