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Adobe InDesign CS4 ACE Exam Now Available

Just noticed that the Adobe InDesign CS4 Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) exam is now live at the PearsonVue website. That’s the one for Certification (if you haven’t taken the test before… the one you have to take at an actual testing center) — I’m told that the RE-certification exam will be available shortly (perhaps next week). (As far as I can tell, this is the first CS4 test to go live.)

As we mentioned on a recent podcast, InDesignSecrets was hired by Adobe to manage the InDesign CS4 exam, so we had our hands in every question. It ended up being a hard test, but we think a fair one. That is, the test focuses on whether you really know how to use the program, not on how well you use the documentation.

And, unless they changed something radically after we handed off the exam, if you get 70% correct or so, you’re probably doing pretty well. There will almost certainly be shouts of “I’ve been using InDesign for years and I didn’t know the answer to many of these.” That’s okay. The ones that you didn’t know (like how XML works), someone else probably did, and vice versa. I honestly don’t think I would get 100%, and I’ve seen the answers before!

Adobe doesn’t appear to have the test guide up yet, which lists all the potential subjects on the test. We’ll keep you informed as to when that goes live. We also have some other test prep materials available pretty soon… keep checking back from time to time.

David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

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27 Comments on “Adobe InDesign CS4 ACE Exam Now Available

  1. David or Ann Marie, have you heard anything about the InCopy exam? I took the InCopy CS2 exam a few years ago, but they never released an upgrade test. After I passed my InDesign CS3 upgrade test, they just gave me the InCopy CS3 cert since there was not test available.

    Is this still the case with CS4, or are they going to put out an upgrade test?

  2. David wrote of “ones that you didn?t know (like how XML works)”…

    May I take this to mean that XML is finally in the exam? I’ve taken the exam twice, and on both occasions very disappointed that I couldn’t blast ’em with my XML-ability. All those lonely months mining deep beneath the XML mountains, with no one to show off to. No one to boast to. No one to baffle with my new-found technical skills.

  3. Rats, I hate being “lucky” all the time…

    But wait – now that I think of it, maybe scripting was the thing that wasn’t on the exam, scripting being the thing I started to get into around the same time as XML (as one must, petty much). Yeah, you’re right, sorry about that!

  4. How important is ACE status within the industry. I have been working with InDesign for two years and work with a book publishing company. If I were to want to look for a new job, how important would it be to have ACE on my resume? And how important is it for picking up freelance work.

    I am quite willing to put in the work to study for the exam, but only if it is worth it. If not, I will spend more time focusing on the areas where I want to improve instead of trying to get a well-rounded understanding of all aspects of the program.

  5. Re the InCopy exam, I too hope they decide to do one (or let us manage its development, ideally) … there’s too many people out there with hard-won IC knowledge who deserve to have that cert.

    Kevin, there’s a lot of discussion about the value of holding an ACE here, within the comments of the post I wrote about the ID CS3 exam.

    Speaking as a small employer, seeing an ACE listed on a freelancer’s resume tells me not just that they know more about the program than the average mope; but that they’re serious about being an expert. Of course, if the job they were interviewing for didn’t require they use that software program much, then I wouldn’t care.

  6. CS3 exam was crazy for me and took me a 3rd try to pass… I hope CS4 re-certification wont follow that trend. I like to be tested on things we actually use and not some obscure hidden functions.

    On that note, where does one sign up for re-certification? I have not received any email notices from Adobe in regards to any of CS3 products I passed.

  7. @Ben: My understanding is that the re-certification test will be coming soon… next week or two. We’ll post news here as soon as we hear more.

    As for obscure hidden features… as you know, Anne-Marie and I love obscure features, but we tried hard to ensure that the questions asked things that people an expert really needed to know. I always hated it when previous test questions asked things like “what’s the last item on the Edit menu?” (Not really, but that’s what it felt like.) Totally meaningless as to whether you really know how to use the program.

  8. For Kevin. The book publishing company I work with requires their technical support team to maintain their InDesign ACE status.

  9. Hi Ann & David –
    do you know, if the tests in other countries (Germany, France …) are simple translations of the original english ACE tests? Or does Adobe create one test for each country?
    I just want to know, if the German tests considers your influence.

  10. @Norbert: I am pretty sure that they are translations of the English-language test. That is why you will not find any questions about how to type an umlaut in the exam! ;)

  11. Re: XML questions in the InDesign ACE exam.
    When I took the CS3 exam, about a quarter of the questions concerned XML. I thought this was bizarre given that it’s so poorly documented by Adobe. It’s amazing I passed at all.

  12. Do you have any idea when the rest of the CS4 Certification exams will be available? I want to get certified for the first time this year (studying for Illustrator now), but I assume I should wait for the Cs4 Certification rather than get certified in CS3.

  13. I just twenty minutes ago finished the CS3 InDesign exam and failed. I am so depressed. I have been using the program since Pagemaker in 1987. I stumbled badly on the way that the questions were worded. I know what I need to study and I will sign up for the CS4 test. Right now, I am really deflated. I know InDesign thoroughly, yet I couldn’t get 66% correct??? arggggg.

  14. This week I took and passed the InDesign CS4 ACE Recertification exam. Great questions! Not like CS3 at all. The questions were challenging but realistic. I had one question where the exact same answer was listed twice but fortunately it wasn’t the correct answer. Great Job!

  15. So I finally gathered most pieces of my shuttered confidence and took the CS4 ACE Recertification exam. After all, I have 2 CS4 beta programs to account for (US and ME), plus first attempt pass of the infamous CS3 Certification…
    Well, as David promised, it wasn’t a breeze, but in comparison to the CS3 certification it was fair, and presented an actual reflection of my knowledge of day to day InDesign’ing tasks.
    I guess the phrase “You passed the assessment exam” sums it up.

    I must congratulate David and Anne-Marie for a job well done. This is real world certification at its best.

    May the Schwartz be with you!

  16. I’m a longtime ACE and have almost 30 years of fulltime college teaching under my belt. I just took the CS4 ACE recertification exam and would like to also compliment David and Anne-Marie for the great job they did in creating the test questions. I studied the topics listed in the exam bulletin and found the exam easy to understand, relevant, and appropriate for anyone who has substantial experience with InDesign.

    Making a good test is a great accomplishment — and teachers don’t give compliments easily!

    Now for that glass of wine I promised myself.

  17. I just took the ID CS4 recertification test today. I want to thank both Anne-Marie and David for a job well done on writing the test questions. The test was almost fun, like playing one of the game show quizzes at the ID Conference. I found myself chuckling as I thought of Anne-Marie and David coming up with the various questions!

    Anyway, thank you both for your attention to detail on the test, making it an entirely different experience than the CS3 test.

  18. Does anybody knows when the re-certification period expires?
    I have InDesign and Illustrator recertification to take, but don?t know when the cut off is. For CS3 Adobe sent us all an email saying when the cutoff was for each exam (90 days from the date the exam is published), that?s not the case this time.

  19. Belated kudos to Anne-Marie and David. . . to echo Cyndi, the questions were well-thought out and reasonable.

    Waited till the last minute to recertify . . . no longer teaching, now a college administrator–but I didn’t want to let my certification lapse.

    Great job guys.

  20. HI David & Ann,

    I am from India i want the details of below

    What are the procedure of applying the adobe indesign CS4 ACE EXAM and tell me about why we want to re-certification.

    Thanks & Regards,

  21. About to take the test for InDesign certification (priority) but will need to do Illustrator and Photoshop in future.

    Any feedback or tips appreciated.

    I have been working in field for many years as well as instucting for many years and always incorporate my professional knowlege into my curriculum.

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