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New from Adobe: InDesignLite™ (Finally!)

Have you ever tried to help a new user figure out InDesign? They stare at the interface as though it was the Mars Rover control panel, no idea where to start or what to click.

Well, Adobe has the solution: InDesignLite is being released today, the first in a coming series of simpler versions of their mainstay design programs aimed at easier on-boarding of new users.

The user interface for InDesignLite is definitely simpler than the professional version:

New pricing

The pricing model is different, too. Instead of the usual $19.95/mo. single-app subscription fee, the program is FREE. You heard us! It’s a happy new day for Adobe fans around the world. Instead, InDesignLite users will just need to deal with unobtrusive pop-up ads that appear during periods of inactivity. We tested a prerelease version, and were relieved to find that the program waits at least 15 seconds before putting up an ad.

Unobtrusive ads will only appear after 15 seconds of inactivity

Differences Between InDesignCC and InDesignLite

  • Tools: InDesign has 35 tools in its Tools panel; InDesignLite offers three tools, with very large icons so they can be selected as easily as possible.
  • Colors: Focus group testing with new users (mainly, Powerpoint and Publisher survivors) told the InDesign team that the Pro version had too many colors to choose from, so they reduced the Swatches panel down to 7 colors based on Crayola Crayons. (A margin note indicates they didn’t want to include “Black” because “it’s depressing for newbies.”) TIP: If users need to apply the Registration color, they can just drag 4 different crayon colors over the strokes.
  • Menus: Most menus and menu options have been removed in the Lite version, preventing unwanted “major freakouts” because of too many choices, per the focus group leader.
  • Preflight: While the new version appears to have a Preflight feature, the document window indicator always shows a green “No errors” symbol. The red circle scared some users and made them feel bad about themselves.
  • Pages: InDesignLite bucks the general trend toward adding more artboards so you can now only work with one Letter-sized page per document. “If users need more than one page, then they can just make multiple InDesignLite files and then tape them together,” said April Fewels, the new Product Manager.

What’s Next?

It’s all hush-hush for now, but don’t be surprised to see a PhotoshopLite with just two tools: A Brush and Eraser; and an IllustratorLite with one tool: the Symbol Sprayer, because it’s so fun to use and the newbies just love spraying fishes on the screen.

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21 Comments on “New from Adobe: InDesignLite™ (Finally!)

  1. I believe are bringing out LyndaLite – which I understand it will include several tutorials from Anne-Marie but without the Concepcion.

  2. Wow! I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. The bonus is that I can teach this at the library because it fits into their budget. Ads might be a bit annoying though.

  3. Also in the pipeline for writers, InCopy Lite, with **autocomplete**.
    – You just type one key word, and the software autocompletes a whole sentence!
    – Font is fixed as Comic Sans for an optimistic outlook to any written piece.
    – Exclamation marks added automatically to every second sentence!


    • You had me until you said Comic Sans. I was all for every other exclamation mark and typing one word and it auto completes my sentences! Then you threw in the killer ingredient…Comic Sans. Now that is going too far!

  4. Just found this add in one of the adobe forums…
    Subscribe to the new Adobe Crazy Cloud with 5Tb of free cloud space for only $1 per month. The first 50 subscribers win a lifetime free subscription. Today Only! Use coupon code DAVIDB50TB and subscribe via Indesign secrest.

  5. I’m sure Adobe staff will have a laugh at this just like most of us who have a sense of humour (unlike some!).

    • “I’m sure Adobe staff will have a laugh at this”

      Rather than laugh, they should finally get down to work.

  6. As usual this annual report of Adobe Innovations gives me hope that even a blond photographer like myself could learn how to layout a page. Though I need to know if the seven colors are based on RGB or CMY (since K is missing)?

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