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Is Creative Suite 5.5 Coming Soon?

There have been a few mentions in the rumor-press about Adobe releasing Creative Suite 5.5 this year. For example, this AppleInsider article focuses on the Digital Publishing Solution facet of the Creative Suite, though it mentions that Adobe is focusing on EPUB in InDesign 5.5. A search for other instances of 5.5 leads to a French blog post about it (apparently Adobe Belgium accidentally included something about it on their site):

What the heck? Was that a leak or a typo? Actually, Adobe already announced that there would be a “dot release” of the Creative Suite which would include Acrobat X. Perhaps this is that coming release? Other Adobe sites haven’t mentioned it, but this livejournal post also points to a 5.5 with significant digital publishing features.

Given that CS5 came out less than a year ago, and given that Adobe usually follows an 18-24 month cycle for full releases (so CS6 should be due sometime between this autumn and next spring) it seems unlikely that any 5.5 product coming out soon would have a lot of changes — and if the main change is adding Acrobat X, it would be a hard sell to most InDesign users. However, that won’t stop me from wishing on a star for about 50 features I would like to see in InDesign. I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

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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30 Comments on “Is Creative Suite 5.5 Coming Soon?

  1. I can wait for 6.0. Like you, I’d rather have a lot of new features, which I don’t think you’re going to see in a .5.

  2. That’s very interesting. Have there been dot releases before and have Adobe charged for them in the past? If so how much would a dot release cost? What would be the advantage of having Acrobat 10 if you have Acrobat 9? (I’m not calling it “Acrobat X” the rest of the series is not in roman numerals so…)

  3. I don’t know R Thomas Berner, a lot of new releases have some bugs in them, a lot of people wait a few months before upgrading a version. 5.5 could be a nice stop gap until bugs are worked out of 6.0 (and I suppose it’s not so weird to guess that there will be bugs in 6.0 when released).

  4. There was a CS2.3 when they added Dreamweaver to the Creative Suite before CS3. If memory serves, I think that it was only a half year or so before 3.

  5. I think that there was a similar dot release of CS3 which included the new version of Acrobat at the time, which I think went from 7 to 8. For existing CS3 users, the cost of the upgrade was the cost of the upgrade of Acrobat. Wasn’t that when Fireworks also appeared in the suite? I don’t think that there was any additional functionality in the existing CS applications.

  6. CS6? Please no. Only one of my vendors has upgraded to 5; the bulk are still at 3 (a few are at 4). Backpedaling file versions is so painful that I just don’t do it anymore, and I won’t be upgrading to 6.

    Either let the world catch up (maybe a much less expensive upgrade path for all the people working in their homes or small studios) or fix the backward compatibility issue.

  7. Surely we are not the only ones in our outfit that has molasses in the CS5 ID ver. New equipment (SuperDuper Graphics card; gigs of memory) don’t help much, unless you turn of a few activities in preferences. So that shold be what “Adobe the deaf one” should be addressing.

    Another: 64bit use. That would eliminate significant grind of the gears.

    My pet issue: As our senior here I firmly believe that Adobe is violating the OSHA standards with their built in tiny menu-fonts and window-fonts. I actually returned CS4 on that basis. [“It is one of those things that cannot be changed,” was their ultimate responses – after jerking us around for a couple of months.] My take: Anything that can be coded in can be coded out; or can be coded to the preference menu.

    Another suggestion for Adobe: CS6 should be the start of a bi-level ID. Vanilla and Super-Fudge. We do books, not audio-visual graphics and web pages. There are many bells and whistles that are overload (and molasses creating?)

  8. I upgraded to a .5 release of the Creative Suite once, and found it was a waste of a lot of money as I have yet to find a good reason to use any of the newest Acrobat versions for PDF; 90% of what I export becomes X-1a:2001, Acrobat 4 for offset, the rest could just as easily be Acrobat 7.
    I was, a full version later, advised by an Adobe support person to buy the latest .5 release on the cheap before ordering the new .0 release to get a rather significant discount of about ?150 excl. 19% VAT.

    To be honest, I think Adobe should start releasing Acrobat versions along with the rest. They don’t bring out new versions of After Effects halfway through a CS release cycle, do they? Is Acrobat that unimportant?

  9. @Roland: Well, if the update is really only Acrobat, then I think you’re right that it will be a hard sell. But if Adobe offers some other good stuff, then it might be compelling.

    As for Acrobat releasing versions along with the Creative Suite, it’s no secret that the Acrobat team does not consider themselves part of the suite team, or feels in any way beholden to the needs of the suite. They have bigger fish to fry (enterprise, government, etc.). It’s been frustrating.

  10. “However, that won?t stop me from wishing on a star for about 50 features I would like to see in InDesign. I guess we?ll have to wait and see?”

    Hey. How about posting the wished for features, and see if any of the scripting community can deliver the goods? I know I wouldn’t be able to produce to a commercial level, but would love a crack at improving InDesign.


  11. Get the damn EPUB export fixed! They touted that as a major improvement in CS5 and instead, they added a few little tweaks.

    But then they COMPLETELY BROKE cross-references/internal hyperlinks when multiple documents are used. (Does anyone build books with a single document?) And they broke it in such a way, that you can’t even fix it. The reference to which document the cross-reference/hyperlink belongs to is completely missing in the exported EPUB content.

    Solution: Use CS4. But wait, you already did the print edition in CS5, and used CS5 features that will be mangled in a save-down to CS4. Gosh, darn!

    And they still haven’t fixed it. GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER, ADOBE!

  12. There are only 2 things on my wish list for InDesign CS5 – increase the speed and add an option to disable frame edge highlighting. And this should be a free update. Until this is done I can’t recommend the upgrade to my boss (we are still at CS3).

  13. Most important is the option to create Ipad content, I think, Quark is already coming with their version.
    For me and my boss the only thing that matters is cost,
    outside the U.S. the Creative Suite simply is too expensive, to buy, or to upgrade. If they would lower their prices to a more reasonable level, (300 euro for a english upgrade)
    they would sell us immediately six packs, instead of two of CS5 we have now…

  14. >and add an option to disable frame edge highlighting

    I hear this a lot, bit I really LIKE this! It is a great tool for complicated lay-outs.

  15. I also think that a .5 release because of Acrobat X and – maybe – some new features or bugfixes in ID, IC, IL, … is not worth it. A few months ago, I sent in a list of almost 200 bugs and feature requests (only for ID) and hope that some of them can make it into CS6.

    From my point of view, CS6 would also be nice towards the end of 2012 or even in 2013. Don’t let you chase by Q-programs…

    And finally, I totally agree to aremkay regarding the actual InDesign core features. It does not have to be a thing that we call a “eierlegende Wollmilchsau” describing an animal that lays eggs, provides wool, gives lots of milk each day and the meat of which tastes well and is healthy.

  16. Epub is a PITA unless you’re exporting Harry Potter. We’re essentially doing a re-layout in Dreamweaver to get acceptable epubs (kindle, nook, ibooks . . . they’re all epubs at their core). Even with re-layout, textbooks as epubs aren’t ever going to win any design competitions. I definitely let Adobe off the hook for those. The epub standard is a cruel (and rather homely) mistress.

    iPad content and the Adobe Digital Publishing dealio, on the other hand, is VERY impressive. We’re tackling our first titles now and are anxiously awaiting new features (can’t wait for the pinch gestures!) I’d love to see some added functionality in a CS5 dot release that ties into the DPS stuff. All of those cool features that came with CS5 (that Apple quashed?). I want ’em in my iPad apps.

  17. I think Adobe is trying to boost sales of Acrobat X. Anyone who upgraded from CS4 to CS5, then was expected to purchase an upgrade to Acrobat X on the top of all that felt justifibly taken advantage of. I didn’t see any features to make purchasing the upgrade worth it and I think a lot of others felt the same.

  18. Apple Insider have some more info about CS5.5 and even CS6.

    Looks like we might see integration of the digital publishing suite and some iPhone/iPad publishing enhancements thanks to Adobe and Apple now getting along on the Flash front…

    The only (rumoured) InD news seems to be ePub 3.0 support.

  19. Question: What is “frame-edge highlighting”? I’ve noticed whenever I drag my mouse over a text or image box, my mouse lags for a second before moving along. This is very frustrating–especially when I have multiple boxes on the page. Is frame-edge highlighting the same issue I am having with mouse lag? Oh, and it doesn’t do it in any other CS5 program … just InDesign. Agh!

  20. Personally I love CS4 – when CS5 arrived I wanted to upgrade but couldn’t justify the extra expense – but in hind sight am glad I didn’t.
    I have always been a avid upgrader to new software and am a supporter of buying legit software so as to support those who develop good products for me to use.
    However, I feel Adobe have taken advantage of people like me in the past when on two occasions I bought the .5 version of CS only to see a full new version materialise a few months later – with only a small discount given to those upgrading from a .5 version. From my perspective, it’s just a quick way of Adobe raising a bit of extra income between major releases – take my advice and don’t bother.
    As a company, I think Adobe sells us fantastic software but has awful customer relations/services, sort that and they would be kings of the software world!

  21. With luck IDCS5.5 will clean up the bugs in the original build. CS5 felt as if it wasn’t quite ready for market.

    Adobe may be responding to feedback (we hope).

    Some things we hope for:
    1. PDF export either fixed, or a way to turn off background ripping. I spend a lot of my day fielding questions on PDF export bugs .

    2. ON/OFF switch for Frame Edge Highlighting to keep both production pros and concept pros happy. (The discussion is endless both in my classes and in the studio.)

    3. Cleaned up Wacom tablet response in interface elements such as window resizing.
    (Window resizing is very twitchy in CS5, possibly because InDesign is reading light pressure on the pen as still holding the mouse button. Our guys have to lift their pens straight off the tablet in a motion akin to fly-fishing or their windows keep resizing long after they release the pen. It’s kind of funny to watch – except when it’s happening to ME. I hear loud obscenities coming from the studio about 50 times a day.)

    I’d be game for an upgrade if all these things were addressed, but I’d rather they were right the first time.

  22. @Roland, @Jeremy, @David

    This actually would be the first-ever .5 upgrade – the previous ones were .3 (2.3 and 3.3) and centered primarily around adding newer versions of Acrobat into the suite.

    Adobe has now hinted much more in terms of features coming in CS5.5 (if that’s what it’s called) ? but the takeaway is there’s more new in a .5 than a .3.

    In addition they are guiding that the CS6 release wouldn’t be until quite some time after that. This all came out in the past few days.

    It’s possible they’ve heard some feedback on the relatively short windows between the past dot releases until the next majors… In any event, it’s probably safe to say they want people to be able to step into either version with the confidence that there wouldn’t be another release around the corner.

    Hope this helps!

  23. CS5.5 is now shipping. I’m not sure I like this “point” release or not. There is some value to the release but it sure is not cheap for a point release. Typical Adobe fashion: give us something we want (mobile functionality) and make it ridiculously expensive.

  24. I think the major bugfixes should be:

    – allowing frame edge highlighting to be turned off

    – fixing the unintentional skittering off the page if you use apple’s magic mouse together with ID of Illustrator ==> it’s really bugging the hell out of me, since I purchased CS5

    – fixing the speed issue: when a lot of vector-based graphics (the problem is less serious with bitmap-graphics) are pasted onto the page, ID sometimes lags for more than 2 seconds when I want to move or resize anything. It worked perfectly in CS2 on a much slower computer. I’ve got an i7 quadcore processor now, with 8 gigs of ram and a processor-speed of 2.93 GHz, so it should fly instead of sleepwalking.
    My work has gone down a notch, speedwise, since the CS5 upgrade. That sucks.

    When all these issues are addressed, I’d feel confident with changing to a new version.

  25. @Sander: I’m sure you realize that 5.5 has shipped now (I think I”ll turn off comments on this post), and Adobe did answer your first point: there is a preference for frame edge highlighting.

    When you say you are pasting a lot of vector based graphics, I hope you mean you are using File > Place. You should place vector graphics, not paste them, unless you really need the vector outlines (for example, if you are editing them further in InDesign, or using them as a frame, etc.).