Version of InDesign You're Reviewing:CS4
Mac or Windows?:Windows
I started working with InDesign back in 2006. At the time I was studying graphic design at Erie Community College, and I was able to purchase the Adobe Creative Suite 2 in 2007. CS2 was great for learning at that point in my life. Skipping CS3, I was able to upgrade to CS4. I don’t know anything about CS5 or 6, so this review of InDesign is based on CS4.
The whole Creative Suite is absolutely awesome! The best thing is that these programs, however diverse in their individual functions, are so integrated—as a suite. Trying not to drift into the other programs though, I will say that InDesign is the best desktop publishing (DTP) program that I have ever worked with. There were some great new features added throughout the suite when CS4 came out. Particularly in InDesign, there’s improvements such as the redesigned Links panel, Smart Guides, the ability to place multiple graphics as a contact sheet, etc. but the most important new feature of InDesign is Live Preflight. Of course, you have to do a preflight check before sending anything to a professional printer, but there’s less worry with InDesign checking itself for errors as you work. You can even customize what the program looks for and save preflight profiles based on your own workflow.
Another feature that I cannot live without in InDesign is the Object Layer Options. You can place the same Photoshop image any number of times with each one being different based on turning on or off layer visibility—right there in InDesign. Also, you can place InDesign files in an InDesign document. When you do this, the placed document is not directly editable, but you can go to Edit > Edit Original. Just like editing a Ps or Ai graphic that opens the respective program, that original ID file will open in a new window.
I’m not sure if these were all “new” in CS4, but they’re not new anymore anyway. I just know that there is absolutely no substitute for Adobe InDesign in my graphic design/desktop publishing workflow!
How Does InDesign Compare to Other Software?
QuarkXPress is a decent program in itself. However, the problem for Quark is that it is by itself. InDesign, being part of the creative suite, is made to work hand-in-hand with Illustrator and Photoshop.
Other programs like Serif PagePlus or Microsoft Publisher, etc. are also good programs to work with, but for professional quality and workability, there is really no comparison to Adobe InDesign.