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Readers Respond: Top Reasons to Upgrade or Not Upgrade Your Desktop Publishing Software

Responses: 11

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In response to Easy to Use Software, Terence writes:
I notice many people here are confusing old software they may be familiar with, with easy-to-use software. ... I would recommend that you do a piece on the importance of using up-to-date software. ...

Good idea, except that I don't use the most up-to-date software myself in some cases. Cost. Familiarity. Upgrades that don't add features I need. Those are some of the reasons I might stay with the old and forego the new. So, I'm asking you, the reader, to make a case for or against upgrading and staying up to date with your desktop publishing software.

Platinum 16

Does everything it claims to do - super. Having read reports re 2011 - it seems buyer beware! Can also download more up to date fonts from internet.
—Guest Will not upgrade

Why not upgrade?

I would love to upgrade to Adobe CS5, but I can't afford it. Not all of us are big business and the price is too far out of reach.
—Konamele

Upgrade or not

I would like to update my upgrade status. This year I was able to upgrade from CS2 to CS4. This was absolutely necessary. There was really only one thing in CS2 that bothered me - the gradient feature in Illustrator was too limited. In order to have transpsrency in a gradient, you had to create an "opasity mask." Now, in CS4 that has all changed above and beyond my expectations. And the auto preflight feature in InDesign is awsome in CS4. The other features are great too, but these were the most important to me. I have no plans for upgrading to CS5 however, with all its new "bells and whistles" features. Adobe will continue to improve their products and that can't be a bad thing. Unfortunately though, my resources are very limited. Whatever version - I love working with these awsome programs!
—Guest Jim

Upgrading Software

I wish I could stick with my old software. After that first learning curve, I don't have to think about how I do what I have to do. However, there's always a time limit--you can only buy the upgrade within so long a time. Your comfortable version number is still doing what you need it too--you've found work-arounds to get it to do what is new and current. But the cost of waiting too long may mean you have to totally re-buy the software. You have to weigh that problem. Then comes the problem that the printers you work with--who are forced to buy the latest versions to keep up with their customers--begin to stop supporting your two or three-version old software. I bought the $1200+ CS3, only to watch Adobe upgrade 6 mos. later--another $600 or so to upgrade. And CS4 isn't readable by CS3. Phooey! You do what you're forced to, but you have to do what you must. Upgrades are a part of the business. It is what it is.
—Houndgirl

Old or new

I am still working with CS2 and QuarkXPress 7 because I can't afford to upgrade. I use CS4 and QuarkXPress 8 at school. It's a bumer, particularly with InDesign because there's no backward compatiblity. However, as long as my computer doesn't die on me, I still love my programs, and I don't let it bother me too much. As for less expensive, or even free software, if I didn't have what I have, I would work with and do the best I can with what I can afford. (I hope it doesn't come to that though.)
—Guest Jim

Publications need to keep current(ish)

As a prepress supervisor at a Canadian daily newspaper, it is essential that we be prepared to receive a wide variety of file formats. We keep at least one copy of the latest software versions installed somewhere so that we're not blindsided by a user who just got a new computer system with all new apps. We use our copy of the latest version to open and convert files to a format compatible with the versions installed throughout the department. The trick is to time your upgrades so that you're in phase with most of the users with whom you exchange files. Currently, we're able to get away with one copy of InDesign CS4 and one copy of Quark Xpress 7 because the need to use these versions is currently very low, based on the files we receive. (Yes, I know it's time to add Quark Xpress 8.) Finally, I got burned when I bought Adobe CS4 apps for home (I just missed the CS3 boat) and now find it very awkward to exchange files between work and home. I'll try not to let that happen again.
—prepresssupervisor

Upgrade? -- Not always the best idea

My longest-term 'relationship' has been with Corel Draw, not a publishing program. Looking back, I can see a definite curve with a peak around V9. At that point, all the picky little problems were gone and the program was complete. After that, Corel added bells and whistles but the program deteriorated, in my estimation. I've decided to wait on all upgrades unless a trusted reviewer tells me it's a must. On many programs, I am a few versions behind with no consequences. I notice my own vendors are often behind as well. We upgrade if a mismatch creates a hassle. Especially on programs that are working just fine, I'd be very suspicious of the value of upgrades. What is good for marketing isn't necessarily good for the established user. Are a bell and two whistles really worth purchase, installation, and retraining expenses and the possible loss of some functionality? I make my $$'s serving clients, not reading manuals and install notes.
—Guest 94magna

Upgrade Now!

I guess when I originally posted about the importance of using up-to-date software I was thinking about certain experiences. The first is the need to maintain inter-operability with clients. Before moving to CS4, we were producing documents with CS2. When we started receiving word 2007 files, we couldn't just drop them on the page and import the styles into paragraph and character styles. The modern workflow should retain as much information as possible for data integrity. Secondly, if you're a passive producer, that is, you receive materials and produce paperwork - by all means use old/comfortable software. If your proofing though, the newer tools make life easier. If I'm proofing an ad back to a client, I can Adobe connect and share monitors in realtime to finalise the artwork - only sending a PDF proof at the last moment for signoff. I think also that it is a reasonable expectation for clients to have up-to-date software... Ahh - stymied by the Character Limit. I could go on..
—Guest Terence Boylen

To upgrade or not .........

If your in business you have to update. If your private you should be comfortable with the program you use. For safety convert documents to PDF format so anyone can access without having to purchase your program choice. I was in Printing for over 35 years and the changes were tremendous. Pdf formats saved a load of aggrevation and money, however, there is a pitfall. You must imbed your fonts or there is a great possibility of your layout changing due to kerning and space setup. PDF also sometimes have a problem with graphic inserts and shifts them in layout. I discussed this with Adobe rep and he said they were working to correct that. I know that Adobe frowns upon your sending your fonts to someone who didn't purchase them, but its very important to do so in the printing field. The minor changes made in fonts from year to year can have a major problem in your art work layout. There are many answers to this question.
—Guest shellyalten

Keep it and upgrade

This is an in experienced opinion but how about sticking with your present software as long as possible and then upgrading?
—logoman

Why upgrade?

You upgrade because the software and computer makers are your silent partners. They are in business to make money and please their investors...not necessarily make your life better with the new version of "Photoshop 50.0" which, by the way, needs a whole new operating system (and computer) to run. Resist upgrading until it becomes apparent the old stuff doesn't work anymore. I love my old mac with OX 9 using Quark 4, Photoshop 5.0 and Illustrator 7. If we didn't have to process our client's newer file formats I'd still be using that setup. If it ain't broke don't fix it!
—a2zprinter
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