Review: InDesign Creative Suite 6

InDesign Creative Suite 6
InDesign Creative Suite 6

InDesign Creative Suite 6


Reviewed by David Wheadon

I have used various versions of Adobe InDesign for 10 years. When I first starting using it, QuarkXPress owned the bulk of the market, but these days InDesign is the industry standard.

Most of the new features are geared towards the production of electronic documents and management of content across multiple documents. InDesign is the best software available in its field but is it worth the upgrade?

When starting a new job for an existing client you can open previous jobs and drag all the elements you might use into the collector window. In the previous version, I would just cut and paste from old documents but this is a nice tidy feature.

I like the Place and Link feature a lot. You can now have parent and child text. The parent is like a master text that is used in multiple documents. If you need to make a change, you change it in the parent and all the instances (the children) of that text will update next time they are opened. You can also link the style used and changes made to that style will be applied to children texts and objects.

Liquid layouts is a feature that tries to lay out the content of a page if you need to change the page size. I didn't find this feature very useful and for the odd time I need to change page sizes I'll do it manually with better results.

Flexible Column Widths in Text Frames is really handy for digital document output. It's something webpages have been doing forever and now it's finding its way into what was purely a print tool. This feature allows the width of columns of text to shrink and grow depending on the screen they are viewed on. So if you were viewing a document on a tablet and turned the tablet from landscape to portrait, the text would quickly reformat to fit the new width. Adobe has also sharpened the way InDesign can save eBooks.

Recent Font List has been a part of other applications for many years. Finally, in CS6 you can see recently used fonts at the top of the list in the character and control panels.

Until now, actual size was meaningless on screen. CS6 does a much better job of sensing screen resolution and screen size. This allows you to view the job as if it was printed.

If you're using InDesign as a tool to create digital media, then the upgrade is well worth it. However, if you're a small print company and money's tight I think you'll get by on CS5 or even CS4.

David Wheadon is a Hamilton-based graphics, print and web designer.