Adobe hits a home run with InDesign CS5

by Kevin Slimp, May 2010


Adobe hits a home run with InDesign CS5
Now that the iPad hysteria has settled down, it’s been replaced by a new onslaught of questions concerning Adobe’s latest rendition of Creative Suite, CS5. “Should I upgrade?” has been the query of choice in my email over the past few weeks and now we lay aside our anxiety and take a look at the application of most interest to newspapers, InDesign CS5.


Let’s not waste time. For those of you in too much of a hurry to finish this column, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” No hesitation. No second guessing.


Or maybe a little second guessing. A tad bit of hesitation. But only because the computers you’re now using might not support this powerful application. And though you might have the latest Macs and PCs scattered around your newsroom, chances are you still have a few G5s and Pentium IIIs pounding out pages.


However, if you have the computers to support Creative Suite 5 - or you’re willing to go out and replace your older workstations - run, don’t walk, to the nearest software dealer and upgrade to InDesign CS5. Here’s what you’ll get for your trouble:


- Automatic Font Loading: Let’s say someone packages an InDesign document on another computer - or in another hemisphere for that matter - and sends it to you. And let’s say your computer is missing some of the fonts used in the document. Not a problem. InDesign CS5 will automatically find those fonts in the package, install them in the background and they appear on your page. No more pink highlights.


- Photo Captions from Metadata: Metadata is that information built into photos that includes data related to how a file is created. Metadata can also include text intended for cutlines. InDesign CS5 will automatically fill your cutline text frame with information from this metadata, meaning editors and photographers can include this information in the photo so the paginator can simply insert it into the appropriate text frame.


- Track Text Changes: Newspaper workflows often include writers and editors making changes to text after it appears on the page. InDesign CS5 keeps tracks of these revisions. The paginator can accept or deny changes without having to import multiple text files.


- Creating Animated Flash Documents: Yes, you heard me right. You can design a file to be exported in various Flash formats. These files can include movement, such as a car zooming across the screen, videos and more. In a word, make that three words, I love it. Creating animated files just became much easier. And you don’t have to have Flash to make it happen. The work can be done solely in InDesign or exported and opened in Flash for further enhancements.


- Multiple Column Headlines: In previous versions of InDesign, headlines that spanned multiple columns had to be created in separate text frames. Not any more. Now headlines can be included in the same text file as body copy, then reflowed across columns by applying a span setting.


- Revamped Selection Tool: Tasks that previously meant changing tools can now be easily accomplished using the Selection tool. Rotate, resize, move, distribute, crop and scale content without changing tools. A real time-saver.


- Mini Bridge: Adobe Bridge is now included with InDesign. A new Mini Bridge operates within InDesign CS5, allowing the user to browse files and drag and drop graphics, text and photos right on the page. Handy dandy.


- Multiple Page Sizes: This might not impress newspaper editors very much, but your production staff will have to be restrained when they learn they can create varying sized pages within one InDesign document. If I had a dollar for every time a layout person asked why this couldn’t be done . . . well, I’d have a lot of dollars. Now it can.


Enough already. If I haven’t convinced you to upgrade to InDesign CS5 by now, it’s probably not possible. Heck, I don’t get a penny if you upgrade, so use any version you wish. However, for those of you who want my humble opinion, this is the most impressive upgrade I’ve seen in any application in a long time. And it’s well worth the $199 upgrade, if you’ve got the computer to run it. It might even be worth considering new computer purchases.


Adobe InDesign CS5 can be purchased as part of the Design Standard or Design Premium versions of CS5. It can be purchased separately for $699 or upgraded from a previous version for $199.