Adobe InDesign continues to be the leading page-layout software for both print and digital publications. It has the versatility to be powerful enough for professional designers/publishers; with a fun side perfect for scrapbooking, newsletters, and self-publishing books or brochures. Adobe's newest version, InDesign CC, has powerful new features, with special advancements in electronic-publishing.
InDesign CC is an Adobe Creative Cloud Exclusive
What does exclusively connected to the Adobe Creative Cloud entail? In the spring of 2013, Adobe took a giant leap-of-faith, offering InDesign CC (and the majority of their most popular programs) as an Adobe Creative Cloud only product. The upside of this monumental decision to go strictly subscription-based is updates are available instantaneously. This constant state of flux also means no waiting a year (or more) for the release of a new version.
An extra enticement to join Adobe's subscription-only-revolution is the partnership of Behance with the Adobe Creative Cloud (Behance is one of the top websites for accessing, sharing, and exploring online creativity).
Of course, the downside of subscription-based software is that once your subscription ends you can no longer access Adobe InDesign CC. Also, although you will be able to access your InDesign CC files, you may encounter problems modifying files that were created utilizing the new features within InDesign CC (as new features are not backwards-compatible).
With its 64-bit support, InDesign CC is truly a force to be reckoned with. Not only in enhanced speed, but also in improved stability. This new power especially comes into play when printing, and exporting the PDF and INX files created using InDesign CC.
Updated User Interface
Adobe InDesign CC has a slightly new look, with an updated UI (User Interface) that resembles the revamped UI of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. The new UI lets you change the background color from dark to light, depending on your working conditions and personal preferences.
There are four built-in shades of grey background settings: Light, Medium Light, Medium Dark, and Dark. Plus, you can also manually enter the percentage of grey for a totally custom background.HiDPI/Retina Display Support
If you own a Retina Display device, like the MacBook Pro, InDesign CC is a must have. All aspects of your creation will "pop" with the new InDesign CC high-resolution Retina Display support.
To take full advantage of this new feature, be sure the "Best for Retina display" button is checked under: System Preferences/Displays.
Fonts, Fonts, Fonts
At first glance, the new fonts functions may appear trivial; however, all of the new fonts features are huge timesavers. The new Font Filter and Fonts Search, reduces long font scrolls to instant font recognition. Just enter the first letters of a font's name, and a listing of only the font(s) most pertinent to your search criteria appear in the font pull-down menu.
Although font families have always been grouped together, the new Collapsible Font Set allows designers to view or hide a font family with a click. This saves font viewable space, as well as scrolling time.
Font Preview is my favorite new font feature. All designers have wondered, "Which font would perfect my layout?" With the new Font Preview, you merely highlight the specific text within your document that you wish to change. As you scroll though your font library, the highlighted text within your document automatically changes to the selected font. Changing fonts used to be time-consuming work. Now, viewing a variety of fonts is quick, easy, and fun.
With the new Font Favorites feature, once you "tag" your favorite fonts, they are added to your favorite fonts list. When in a time-crunch you simply click the Show Favorite Fonts Only box, and your most-used fonts are instantly displayed. Again, this is another timesaver, and all professional designers know that time equals money!
QR Code Creator
The new Generate QR Code, located in the Object menu command, allows you to quickly create QR (Quick Response) Codes in InDesign. To refine your QR Code, the dropdown menu offers 5 options: Web Hyperlink, Plain Text, Text Message, Email, and Business Card.
The QR Codes generated in InDesign are vector art with a transparent background. This allows you to enlarge or decrease the size of your code icon without image degradation, as well as instantly change the color. You can even export the QR Code to Illustrator for additional refinement, and import it back to InDesign CC.
The new Save to Cloud command allows for files, even files with layers, to be accessible on a variety of devices. Even clients or associates without Adobe InDesign CC can still (with permission), access your files. Furthermore, all changes are tracked. If an unwanted modification is made to a file, you can easily access the previous version and undo the change.
Creating the perfect electronic publication (EPUB) can be a daunting task due to the multitude of variables involved in publishing a digital document. New features also make it easier to produce high-quality EPUB files from InDesign CC.
An important new feature, especially for creating e-books, is the enhanced controls over the table of contents. Mapping object styles to tags so they export appropriately is another invaluable new feature. CSS Exporting features, as well as simplified CSS editing, make InDesign CC an e-publisher's can't-live-without publishing tool.
Adobe Exchange Panel
Within Adobe InDesign is the Adobe Exchange Panel (under Windows/Extensions/Adobe Exchange). This new feature provides easy access to obtain numerous: extensions, plug-ins, templates (and more) that can be used within InDesign CC (as well as previous versions of InDesign). Adobe Exchange resources vary in price, yet many items are free.
My favorite feature within Adobe Exchange is the before-you-download tabs: Info, Previews, Notes, and Reviews. Clicking on any of these tabs give extensive information. I especially like the Info and Previews Tabs. On the bottom right corner under the Info Tab is a list of all the programs that the specific resource can be used within. Be sure to read the information carefully before you download; especially make sure the resource is compatible with your version of InDesign.
Currently, the items accessible for InDesign CC are limited (due to it being a new version). However, keep checking Adobe Exchange for new uploads; like the Adobe Creative Cloud, new resources (and updates) are added frequently.
The Upgrade Quandary
"Should I upgrade to Adobe InDesign CC?" That is the question being asked of every designer/publisher that utilizes Adobe InDesign. Yes, the newest version of InDesign is a strictly subscription-based product. However, if you are submerged in the world of publishing, Adobe InDesign CC should be one of the most important products in your software library.
For the casual InDesign user, you can always download the trial version to see if it meets or exceeds your needs. If you are considering self-publishing, this version of InDesign has significant EPUB enhancements to make the purchase worth the subscription fee.
Even if you decide to "jump into the Adobe Creative Cloud" I would highly suggest that you keep your previous non-subscription version of Adobe InDesign in a safe storage. As of this review, Adobe announced that it will provide future versions of InDesign as Cloud-Based subscription only. Consequently, Adobe InDesign CS6 was the last non-subscription version of InDesign.
Lastly, and most importantly, when you join the Adobe Creative Cloud you gain access to a bevy of learning tools, including feature specific online training videos, seminars, and special events.
Purchasing Adobe InDesign CC (Standalone Version)
Purchasing Adobe InDesign CC (Adobe Creative Cloud Version)
Adobe has an assortment of pricing options for joining the Adobe Creative Cloud. If you opt for any of the yearly commitment buying options, be sure to read the Cancellation Sections under the *Subscription Terms.
Visit the Adobe website to explore all the InDesign CC new and improved features and enhancements.
Please note: If you find the color of the text hard to read, please click on "Printer-friendly" and black text will appear on a white background.
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