Adobe InDesign CS5 In Review

Related: Adobe, CS5, InDesign

Product Review: Adobe InDesign CS5

Some new software versions are filled with enchantments rather than new features. With Adobe InDesign CS5, you get the best of both: tons of new tools and features as well as a bevy of enchantments to your favorite functions. Even if you are a veteran InDesign user, working with the new Adobe InDesign CS5 will be an exciting experience, not unlike opening the program for the very first time!

This review of Adobe InDesign CS5 has taken me longer to write than any of my previous software reviews. The main reason for the delay: there are so many new and enhanced features that it would be impossible to mention them all within the scope of this review.

Also, I was having a hard time deciding which new features were among my favorites. One thing I do know for certain, Adobe has built in dozens of new and improved featured into InDesign CS5 to make designing printed and interactive documents not only easier than ever, but far "too much fun" to call this work!

Just a few of my favorite new features and enhancements in Adobe InDesign CS5…

The Page Tool

The Page Tool is one of my favorite new feature in Adobe InDesign CS5. It enables a designer to create and add pages of differing sizes to a document. As with most of Adobe's great new features, there are a few rules that must be followed. Always remember that additional pages added to a document must be resized after they are added.

For example, when creating a three-page custom foldout, I needed to follow a few procedures to insure proper page resizing & placement. First, I created a single new document (5"w x 8"h). Before inserting two new pages, I first had to uncheck "Allow Documents Pages to Shuffle" [located in the Page Panel].

Once the pages were added, I used the new Page Tool, to resize my added pages; making sure that I moved the reference point [see image below] to indicate which side to resize (left to right, or right to left).

The new Page Tool is one of the best improvements that InDesign has made in years. Not only for designing odd shaped pamphlets and flyers, but also for book jackets and magazine layouts (for print or online).

Content Grabber

The Content Grabber is a quick, down and dirty way to manipulate content inside a document. When the selection tool hovers over content, a "bagel" like "grabber" image appears. This feature allows for instant manipulation of the content within a frame. Also, the Frame Edge Highlighting allows designers to hover his or her cursor over an object, and that specific item's edges will be highlighted. Taking the guesswork out of knowing exactly where the frame edges are within a document is vital to a layout editor.

Corner Option

Creating unique corners is not new to CS5. What is new, however, is the "Live Corners" function, which allows designers to change "individual" corners of a frame without leaving the document.

To change the corner shape or size using the new "Live Corner" feature, click on the yellow box (which now appears in all frames in InDesign CS5). Note that once the single yellow box is clicked, yellow boxes will appear on all sides of your frame. This allows designers to be able to utilize the Edit Corners function "within" a document. A designer can now drag on a corner to set the size; Alt-click to change the shape; or press Shift to change individual corners.

If the new shortcut is not for you, you can still change a corner's shape and size by going to Object/Corner Options, which brings up the Corner Options box. Also, new within the Corner Options box in CS5, is the ability to change individual corners.

Story Editor Enhanced

Although Story Editor is another "not new" to InDesign feature…tracking changes within the Story Editor is new. A team of designers can now make changes within a document (corrections, additions, deletions, etc.), and the new Track Changes function not only tracks the changes, but also tracks the person who made the changes.

Redesigned Layers Panel

Long-time Adobe Photoshop users will appreciate InDesign's newly renovated Layers Panel, which functions similar to the layers panel in Photoshop and Illustrator. The new Layers Panel allows for easy access and maneuverability of numerous features and functions within an InDesign document.

Enhanced eBook Creations

With the ever growing number of "eBook reading devices" flooding the marketplace, Adobe has enhanced InDesign's eBook creation function, to allow for easy conversion of documents into the EPUB format; which then can be read by popular eBook devices (Apple iPad, Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble Nook, etc.). This enhanced function alone makes Adobe InDesign CS5 a must have for all authors.

Interactive Documents and Presentations

InDesign has come a long way from its original days of enabling designers to create amazing printable documents. As always, Adobe is on the cutting-edge of not only technology, but it is also a company that's cognizant of the creative pulse of its users.

With a visionary look into the future of publication, Adobe InDesign CS5 has created a gateway that allows its designers to explore new mediums and media with its ability to easily add and test "interactivity, motion, sound, and video to documents and presentations," as well as the capability of "exporting directly to SWF for playback in the Adobe Flash® Player runtime."

Integration with Adobe CS Live

Design is only part of the InDesign experience. Layout editors can now collaborate with teammates by sharing ideas online with easy access to Adobe CS Review (one of five functions of the CS Live online services).

Mini Bridge

Every super-hero needs a sidekick. And that is exactly what Adobe Mini Bridge is: a sidekick to Bridge (the super-hero of media organization). Once again, the innovative minds at Adobe have taken the features and functions of the big Bridge and condensed them into the multifunctional Adobe Mini Bridge.

So, why two Bridges? Think of the new Mini Bridge as a shortcut to getting where you want to go, when you don't have the time (nor want to spend the time) to take the long road to your destination.

Instead of jumping out of InDesign and into Bridge to view or grab content, a designer can now open a mini version of Bridge inside of InDesign CS5. Within Mini Bridge, not only can you grab a file, you can also easily access each segment of your layout and browse linked files. Oh, and once again, there is a special rule for opening Mini Bridge: Bridge must be opened and running in the background. But not to worry, Mini Bridge will automatically open its alter-ego if you forget … after all, isn't that what sidekicks are for, giving a helping hand?

Enchanted Gridify Tool

The Gridify Tool is another InDesign CS5 enhancement that makes a designer's life easier (another one of my favorite new features). All it takes to create the perfect grid is a quick combination of clicking and dragging. Not only does the Gridify Tool create perfect grids, but it also allows you to increase the space between (or above and below) the grids at the same time.

 

Within the Gridify Tool is the "Super Step and Repeat" function, which lets the designer repeat the same image multiple times. This technique is a real time-saver when creating borders. Not only does the Gridify Tool work on image frames, but it also is an easy (there's that word again) way to create text grids with flowing text.

The Gridify feature also functions as a drawing tool, allowing for the perfect operation of multiple objects by merely using the arrow keys to decrease or increase the object's manipulated size.

Live Captions

InDesign CS5 is overflowing with time-saving features. Even though Live Captions is on the bottom of this review, the Live Captions feature is on the top of my new features list. This truly magical new tool generates static or live captions automatically from the metadata created in your images (discoverable within either Bridge or Mini Bridge).

Create captions for your images by right-clicking on your mouse. Then, click on Captions, and there you will have the option of either creating a Live or Static Caption. Within the Caption Setup dialog box, you can select from numerous settings as to how your caption will appear. Be sure to explore this feature, as its functions are endless.

Too Many New Features

InDesign CS5 is packed with new features and enhancements to make a layout editor and designer's life easy and fun. Yet, as I mentioned at the beginning of this review, it's been an extremely hard review to write.

The one downside of Adobe InDesign CS5 is that it would take hours to highlight my additional favorite new and exciting features: like automatic numbering, paragraphs that span or split columns with a quick click of the mouse, and the new Gap Tool.

As a long time InDesign user, opening Adobe InDesign CS5 was like using the program for the first time. I am totally awed by the new features and enhancements. Adobe InDesign CS5 has replaced drudgery with play…making me fall in love with layout editing all over again!

Adobe InDesign CS5 is available as a standalone program and is also included in the following Adobe Suites: Adobe® Creative Suite® 5 Design Premium and the Adobe® Creative Suite® 5 Master Collection.

Adobe


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August 2, 2010

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