InDesign CS3! New Features and Pricing

Finally! After months of speculation from users worldwide ? “Will it fix this annoyance? Add that feature? Not break my piggybank?” ? Adobe publicly announced today feature and pricing details about the newest version of their flagship product, Creative Suite 3 (CS3), due to ship in the very near future (perhaps in the next few weeks).

IDcs3boxshotHere at InDesignSecrets, of course we’re mostly interested what’s new with InDesign CS3, which in our minds is the central application in the Creative Suite. It’s the Sun around which all the other Suite programs revolve. Or, as David likes to say (tongue only partially in cheek), “Photoshop and Illustrator? They’re wonderful InDesign plug-ins.”

In this post we’ll provide a brief overview of the major new features in InDesign CS3, how much it’ll cost to upgrade, and the new “starting line-up” of the Suite itself. (Some players have been benched!) If you’re looking for great information about Illustrator, check out Mordy Golding’s Real World Illustrator blog. For details on Photoshop, check out PhotoshopNews.com.

But if you’re looking for details on InDesign CS3…

  • Listen to our latest InDesignSecrets Podcast, episode 46, for a lively discussion about our favorite new features ?and improved “old” features? in InDesign CS3. (But for those of you who will be using CS or CS2 for a while, we made sure that our Obscure Feature of the Week-eek-eek is still relevant for you.)
  • Watch contributor Michael Murphy’s latest videocast, The InDesigner (episode 38), which is wholly devoted to showing off what InDesign CS3 looks like and all the new interface tricks you can do with palettes and menus.
  • Read the blog! All your favorite InDesign experts ? contributors Sandee, Steve, Pariah, Claudia, and our newest contributor, Rufus Deuchler ? have been champing at the bit to share in-depth looks at their favorite new ID CS3 features with you. Keep checking the home page or your RSS reader today and in upcoming days for their latest posts.

New in InDesign CS3: A Quick Rundown of the Standouts

For Mac users on the new Intel-based models, InDesign CS3 is notably faster because it runs natively instead of emulation (Rosetta) mode. Of course, CS3 runs just fine on PowerPC-based Macs and on Windows XP and Vista.

The old Transparency palette is replaced with the Effects panel (they’re called “panels” now ? we think it’s because it’s easier to spell). This deceptively small panel is the gateway to a host of new transparency-related effects you can apply to any selected object, including Bevel and Emboss, Inner Shadow, Inner/Outer Glows, and a really neat Gradient Feather (essentially a Gradient that uses opacity levels instead of colors). Simple checkboxes let you apply a selected effect to specific parts of an object: Fill, Stroke, or Text.

You can place multiple items at once from the Place dialog box, and to help you manage it, the loaded cursor shows a miniature preview of the item you’re about to place. You can even place pages from other InDesign documents! They act just like pages from PDFs do, and like PDFs, are linked to the original file. Imagine the possibilities…

Table Style and Cell Styles are new members of the Styles team, making it easier than ever to quickly format tables and keep them consistent. And all the styles panels now support organizing individual styles into folders, a huge help in keeping things organized.

New automation features reflect that Adobe’s listening to users wrestling with long, structured documents in InDesign. Running headers and footers that pick up text formatted with a specified Paragraph or Character style, built-in text variables (“Last Page Number,” anyone?) that are as easy to insert into a text frame as an em-dash, and powerful auto-numbering features that track levels and styles are just a few examples.

As we said, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the latest podcast, videocast, and blog entries for ongoing in-depth information about what’s new in InDesign CS3.

Upgrade Pricing, New Pricing

We were pleasantly surprised that users of PageMaker, InDesign 2.0, and InDesign CS1 can upgrade to InDesign CS3 for the same price as CS2 users: $199. (These are North American prices, the only ones available as we write this.) We hope this encourages many users to get up to speed. To purchase InDesign CS3 “new” (not an upgrade), it’ll cost you $699.

Those prices apply to individual purchases of just the one program, InDesign. Of course, many (perhaps most) people have InDesign because it came with their purchase of the Creative Suite, and upgrading from an earlier version of the Suite to the latest is a different set of price points.

Also, there are a bunch of new Suite configurations to choose from, a result of Adobe’s acquisition of Macromedia early last year. To see the full line-up of CS3 Suites and pricing, go to Adobe’s web site. For our purposes, we’ll focus on the Design Suite, the one we think will be most popular for print publishers.

  • CS3boxshotThe Standard configuration of the CS3 Design Suite consists of InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat 8 Professional, and Bridge (which gives you access to Version Cue, Adobe Stock Photos, Device Central, and Acrobat Connect).
    • New purchase: $1199
      Upgrade from CS1 or CS2: $399
      Upgrade from qualifying point product (InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop): $899
  • The Premium configuration of the CS3 Design Suite includes all of the above, as well as the CS3 versions of Dreamweaver and Flash Professional. Also, Adobe replaces the “regular” Photoshop with Photoshop Extended (new features for scientists, engineers, and architects).
    • New purchase: $1799
      Upgrade from CS 2.3 Premium: $440
      Upgrade from CS1, CS2, or Macromedia Studio: $599
      Upgrade from qualifying point product: $1599

In case you’re wondering, Fireworks and Contribute are available standalone or in a variation of the Design Suite called the Web Suite. And Adobe GoLive will be upgraded with very cool new features, but it’s been spun off into a standalone program.

As you can tell, we’re very excited about InDesign CS3. It’s an awesome upgrade. We’ve been using beta versions of the software and we can definitely say that it’s so good that we would not want to go back to any earlier version. We look forward to sharing it all with you very soon.

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