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Roundup of InDesign CS5 Features (Honest, this time)

Today Adobe announces the imminent release of InDesign CS5, a major upgrade to their flagship page-layout program. While we thought the CS4 upgrade was pretty darn good, the CS5 release is head-and-shoulders better. Not only is the set of major features compelling for both print and interactive designers, Adobe has made dozens of small improvements to workflow and interface that mean big improvements for user experience.

We have to tell you that we are very excited about InDesign CS5. Of course, Adobe didn’t add every feature we wanted, but we think that after reading about the features below, you’ll agree that the upgrade is well worth it.

In the scientific classification of the InDesign CS5 phylum, this upgrade contains two classes: Interactivus and MakeItBetterus. Both classes contain rich and diverse families of feature species. Let’s take a look.

Interactive and Rich Media stuff

The biggest set of new features falls into Interactivus — the features that make InDesign zoom, pop, and jiggle. You’ll see this from the get-go in the New Document dialog box, in the form of a new Document Intent menu. If you choose Web as your intent (the other choice is Print), InDesign sets up the document for an onscreen audience: the Page Size defaults to 800 by 600 pixels -yes, you can specify size in pixels now, Facing Pages is turned off, Transparency Blend Space is set to RGB, and all color swatches are defined as RGB (though why on earth you’d ever want to use RGB Cyan is a mystery).

Because InDesign obviously didn’t have enough panels, CS5 now provides five — count ’em, five! — new panels related to interactive documents:

Preview panel. Woo-hoo! You can preview page transitions, button rollovers and actions, movies, sound, and the other new interactive features in CS5 right inside of InDesign without having to export the file to PDF or SWF first. Preview just the selected object (such as a rollover), or the active spread, or the entire document. If you’re working on a SWF, you’ll also love the Test in Browser command in the Preview panel menu.

Animation panel. No need to worry about timelines or tweening frames or anything like that — you can animate any InDesign object in response to a page turn or a button action simply and easily with the designer-friendly Animation panel. Just select an object or group and then choose any one of  the dozens of built-in motion paths (the same as in Flash CS5 Pro) from the panel’s Preset menu. A little butterfly preview gives you an idea of what the selected motion path does, or you can jump straight to the new Preview panel (described above) to see precisely how your selection will animate on screen.

Animations can only appear in SWFs that you export from InDesign (not PDFs) but here’s our first InDesign CS5 Secret: To get an animation to appear in a PDF, export just the animated object to SWF (Export Selection is a new option in the SWF Export dialog box) and then place that SWF right back into the InDesign layout, replacing the object. When you export the layout to interactive PDF and view it in Reader or Acrobat 9, the animation plays!

Timing panel. If you have more than one animation on a spread, and all are set to begin on, say, Page Load, how can you control the order in which they play? Answer: By dragging the animation names in the Timing panel in the order you want them to appear. It’s simple and intuitive, once you know where to look. You can even link them in the panel so they play concurrently. No coding required.

Media panel. We now have a central location to manage placed movies, sound, and SWF files. Newly supported formats for placing into CS5 include SWF, FLV, F4V, MP4, and MP3 files, and if you use any of these, you can preview them in the new Media panel. (Older video formats are still supported, but you can’t play them in the panel. However, you can optionally convert them to FLV or F4V before placing them, via the Adobe Media Encoder, which is now installed with InDesign CS5.)

Plus, you can use the Navigation Points section of the Media panel to set precise locations (timestamps) in your movie, as we’ve done (in the image above) for the nav point called “Closeup.” Then you can use new Button actions to allow your audience to quickly jump to those specific points in the movie.

Object States Panel. The Object States panel lets you create, edit, and manage an entirely new type of object in InDesign called a Multi-state Object. A what?! Well, imagine an object group where only one member of the group is visible at any one time. That’s a multi-state object. The visibility of the objects is controlled either by clicking on a state’s name of the panel — similar to how the Layers panel works — or by the end user clicking buttons in a SWF. (Button actions now include Go to Next State/Previous State, or a specific State.)

By using multi-state objects for things like slide shows in your SWFs, you allow the end user to “load” different content items in a single object on the page/screen, without needing to switch to additional pages. Conceivably, you could also create multi-state objects (is it too early to start calling them MSOs?) to make versioning of your non-interactive print and PDF projects easier to manage, too — kind of like a conditional object.

By the way, don’t confuse the Object States panel with the old, pre-CS4 States panel (which was a button thing). As in CS4, you still use the Buttons panel to create rollover and click states for the buttons themselves.

Besides the new panels, here are some interactive and cross-media enhancements you should know about:

Convert URLs to Hyperlinks. A new command in the Hyperlinks panel, Convert URLs to Hyperlinks, is like a GREP Find/Change for all URLs and e-mail addresses in your document (or Story, or Selection, just as in Find/Change). InDesign converts them to working hyperlinks and optionally applies a character style of your choice to them as it goes. It’s pretty smart about it, too! (However, it’s not as clever as DTP Tools’ URL2Hyperlink plug-in.)

Export to Interactive PDF. This is a big change that is bound to trip some people up at first. If you want your PDF to include the interactive buttons you created, to play the media you imported, and/or to show the page transitions you applied, you have to choose File > Export and choose Adobe PDF (Interactive) from the Format menu in the Export dialog box. There you’ll be able to not only include all those goodies, but you can also set up the view, presentation mode, and layout (e.g., Fit page, Single Continuous, Full screen) for when the PDF is opened in Reader or Acrobat. Yay!

It’s important to note that because of how InDesign creates the PDF, your readers will need Reader or Acrobat v9 to reliably view any rich media you added — they’ll get an alert suggesting they upgrade if they open it in an earlier version.

InDesign CS5 still has the File > PDF Presets menu – with all the same presets as in CS4 – for creating print-worthy PDFs. With this method, though, you’ll find that the only interactive elements you can optionally include in your PDF are hyperlinks and bookmarks. It’s kind of weird, but Adobe left out the ability to make Interactive PDF presets.

Improved Export to Flash Professional. When you choose Flash CS5 Professional as the Export format, InDesign creates a FLA file (no more XFL files). A new text engine for Flash means that framed text can remainintact in the Flash file — edited text reflows correctly, even threaded text frames remain threaded! Also, you can choose to include all buttons, movies, sound and animations, and then continue to work with those elements in Flash.

Improved Export to ePub and XHTML. Did you use <gasp!> local formatting instead of styles anywhere? Don’t worry, local formatting can be maintained when you export to ePub or XHTML in InDesign CS5. Also, you can tell InDesign to use Page Order or XML Structure to determine the order of exported content. That means if you specify XML Structure, you get a chance to reorder, add, or remove content from the XML structure panel before exporting, giving you more control. We still think that’s a pretty clunky way to handle the export, but it’s far better than nothing.

Improvements for Everyone

While the interactive features are coolio, the majority of InDesign users will be affected more by the huge pile o’ features in the order MakeItBetterus — which can be broken down into exisiting features that have been improved, and new features that build on the underlying framework that we’re all accustomed to.

New Tools

InDesign CS5 adds two new tools to the Tools panel: The Gap tool and the Page tool.

Gap tool. While the Selection tool lets you select objects, and the Direct Selection tool lets you target parts of an object, the new Gap tool lets you adjust the gap (“white space”) between two objects. This tool is going to be a huge boon to photographers working on their portfolio sheets, production artists working on catalogs, and anyone else who has images or objects on a grid.

The only problem with the Gap tool is that you have to remember several non-intuitive keyboard shortcuts to get to the advanced features. Fortunately, InDesign CS5 has a Tool Hints panel that you can open (Window > Utilities > Tool Hints). This gives you tricks for whichever tool you’re currently working on.

Page tool (Mixed page sizes!). One of the most amazing and helpful features in CS5 is the new Page tool, which lets you change the size of each page in your document — much like the Artboard tool in Illustrator. (In the past, the only way to accomplish this was the Page Tools plug-in from DTP Tools.)

It’s interesting to note that this feature also lets you alter how (or where) a master page is applied to each differently-sized page. This will certainly deserve its own blog article to explain how it works and why you want it, but suffice it to say, it’s nifty!

Gridify. The “gridify” option isn’t a new tool, but rather improves all the object-creation tools. For example, if, while you’re drawing a frame, you press the up arrow key on your keyboard, you get two frames (one above the other). Now press the right arrow key and you get four frames (two rows and two columns). It sounds trifling, but it’s awesome when you’re placing multiple files (it works with the Place cursor) or trying to create a grid of any sort.

Gridify also works when duplicating objects with the Option/Alt key, to build sort of a “super step and repeat” effect. Again, we’ll cover that in a future blog article for more details.

Spring-loaded tool shortcuts. Want a tool temporarily? Just press and hold down its shortcut. Now click or drag with the tool. When you let go of the shortcut, the Tool panel reverts back to the tool you were originally using.

Selecting, Moving, and Managing Objects

Adobe has taken a number of simple processes, looked at ’em hard, and made them easier for users.

Selecting Objects. It has always been possible, but a bit of a pain, to select an object inside a group or an image inside a graphic frame. Now whenever you hover over a graphic frame with the Selection tool you see a “content grabber” (looks like a camera focus, or a bagel). Click it and the image is selected, or just drag it and the image moves inside the frame. It’s extremely intuitive and it’s a great example of how Adobe has fine-tuned and finessed features in CS5, to every InDesign user’s advantage.

Similarly, you can double-click on an object in a group to select it. Double-click again to select the group. You can select two or more objects with the Selection tool and they immediately act like a group: You can scale and rotate them all by dragging on or just outside side or corner handles. (The ability to rotate by dragging the Selection tool just outside a corner handle works for single objects, too, and is also new in CS5 — it’s like they merged the Selection tool and the Free Transform tool!)

Layers panel. At first the Layers panel looks just like it did in CS4, but on closer inspection, you’ll see that each layer has a “twirl-down/expand” triangle next to it. Click that and you can see each object on the layer, much like you can in Illustrator. This is definitely one of our favorite new features in CS5, as it makes it so much easier to select and rearrange objects in a complex layout. You can even create custom names for groups, and hide/show or lock/unlock individual objects on a layer here!

Live Corner Effects. Everyone likes corner effects — especially rounded corners. Now InDesign makes it easier than ever to apply corner effects to objects, because you can just drag the corners themselves, right on the frame, and even apply different corner effects to different corners in a rectangle.

Stroke/Fill Widgets. The less we have to open and close panels in InDesign, the happier we are, so we’re grinning ear-to-ear because Adobe added Swatches widgets (one for Fill, one for Stroke, both with Tint fields and the panel menu button) in the Control panel. This means we can leave the Swatches or Color panels closed most of the time!

Text and Type

As you might expect from Adobe, some of InDesign CS5’s most impressive new features fall into the area of text and typography.

Balanced Columns. You have a three-column text frame, but the text doesn’t fill to the end. You can now “bottom out” all three columns, aligning their lower baselines automatically, by turning on the Balance Columns checkbox in the Text Frame Options dialog box.

Column Spanning and Splitting. You want a heading to span (“straddle”) across two or more columns in a multi-column text frame? No problem, with the new Span Columns feature. It’s so great. On the flip side, you can also tell two or more paragraphs to “split” into sub-columns, perfect for when you have a list in a wide column of text.

Spanned headline and split list inside one multi-column frame

Non-rectangular Vertical Justification. One of the persistent complaints about InDesign over the years has been that its vertical justification (forcing text to fit from the top to bottom of a text frame) stops working in a non-rectangular text frame, or when the text frame has any sort of text wrap applied to it. We’re happy to say this is now fixed. Justify away!

Track Changes. Here is another one of our favorite features in CS5. It’s been in InCopy for years, and now it’s finally in InDesign: The ability to track changes to text, review the changes, accept or ignore the changes, and so on. The trick is the new Track Changes panel. This is going to save us so much time! (And if your company is already using InCopy, yes, this means you now have full round-tripped track changes.)

Default Font. Okay, this is a really little one, but we’re very happy to announce that the default font (the font you get when you first install InDesign and make a text frame) is now Minion Pro instead of the problematic Times Roman. Yay!

Document Fonts. You package up your InDesign document and send it to someone else. You’ve included the fonts, but they forget (or don’t know how) to install those fonts on their system, so the document doesn’t appear properly to them, right? That’s the old CS3 and CS4 way? now, in CS5, it works better, because InDesign automatically sees and uses any fonts inside the Document Fonts folder (which has to be in the same folder as the document itself, of course). However, note that these fonts work only in that one document.

Buzzword integration. Are you a fan of Buzzword, the collaborative word processor program that’s part of We are. In InDesign CS5, Buzzword gets its own File > Place from Buzzword command. You can even choose to link to the Buzzword document, so that as colleagues update the shared file “in the cloud,” you can update your local file in InDesign. (Alas, any formatting you applied to the text in InDesign is lost, just like linking to Word files.) You can also export to Buzzword to create new Buzzword documents in your account from the contents of InDesign text frames. Neat. Unfortunately, until Buzzword supports paragraph and character styles, this feature will have only limited appeal.


InDesign CS5 also has several significant features involving graphics that you should know about.

Mini Bridge. Bridge is a great program, but it suffers from one major problem: it’s a separate program! Wouldn’t it be cool if you could get many of Bridge’s features right inside InDesign? Now you can, with the Mini Bridge panel. You still need Bridge running in the background, but you don’t have to switch apps to get the features you want: searching for graphics, drag and drop to place files, and so on.

There’s one other Bridge/Mini Bridge feature which is astonishing enough that we need to mention it here: You can choose to show an InDesign document in Mini Bridge, then click a button to see all the images linked inside that INDD file! This is great when you know you’ve used an image inside a layout, but you don’t remember the image’s name or where you saved it. You don’t even have to open that InDesign document to get to that same graphic!

Live Captions. Each version of the Creative Suite has slowly increased the value of XMP metadata in your files. Now, metadata is more important than ever, because InDesign can automatically extract it and place it into a caption text frame on any side of an image. For example, you can make a caption automatically show the image’s file path or text description or copyright information. There were ways to do this before with scripts, but the Live Caption feature makes it so easy, quick, and available to everyone.

Document User Experience Improvements

Finally, here’s a list of a few “little” new features in CS5. This isn’t comprehensive, but these are cool enough to deserve a mention.

Start Page Number. Newbie InDesign users have struggled for years to figure out how to start a document on a page number other than 1. Now you can do it right in the New Document dialog box.

Presentation Display Mode. Want to show your document to your boss or client? Check out the new Presentation display mode (press Shift-W), which is like the Preview mode, but takes up the whole screen, even hiding panels and menus.

Color Labels. You can now color-code your pages inside the Pages panel, which is helpful to quickly identify page types or sections of a long document.

Background Export. Tired of waiting for a big PDF file to export? Wait no longer, because InDesign CS5 now exports PDF and IDML files in the background. We hope to see even more multi-threading like this in the future.

Zoom in Dialog Boxes. You can now zoom in and out while a dialog box is open, by pressing Command/Ctrl and plus or minus. This is still not as flexible as Photoshop (which lets you zoom and pan all you want), but it’s a step in the right direction.

Wishing for More

We applaud Adobe for a great upgrade to our favorite page-layout application. But while we’re clapping with one hand, we’re kvetching with the other. (No, that doesn’t really make any literal sense, but you get the idea.) There are dozens of big- and little-ticket items that InDesign is still lacking. For example:

  • No way to create PDF form objects (text fields, checkboxes, etc.)
  • No way to apply image sharpening or Curves or other Photoshop effects to an image, like QuarkXPress can do
  • Still no way to export a grayscale PDF
  • Cannot apply multiple strokes and fills to objects, as in Illustrator’s Appearance panel
  • Still no Universal language solution, allowing right-to-left (Hebrew, Arabic, etc.) or vertical text (Japanese, Chinese) in one program.
  • No way to set page geometry (size, position) in an object style

But remember that it is partly our job to complain about what the program doesn’t do, ever in hopes of seeing these things in CS6… or CS7…

The fact that we want more should not detract from the greater truth that CS5 is a truly great upgrade. Adobe has clearly made it easier and more powerful for all users, and way-way-more powerful for those who need to make interactive documents. We think it is extremely likely that the majority of people who are still using CS2 or CS3 will want to jump quickly to CS5, and CS4 users will also find significant benefits in the upgrade.

More Resources

Of course, this article just skims the surface of what’s new in InDesign CS5. We encourage you to read over Claudia McCue’s more InDepth article about CS5 — including demo movies! — in this month’s issue of InDesign Magazine. (David also has an article there detailing the Split and Span Columns features.)

If you’re a visual learner, definitely check out Anne-Marie’s InDesign CS5 New Features title at – some of these videos are already released as free previews, as explained in this post. (Or, if you’re a new user, start with David’s InDesign CS5 Essential Training, which should be available there soon).

Also, we want to announce the upcoming eBook The InDesignSecrets Guide to What’s New in InDesign CS5, by Pariah S. Burke, due sometime soon after Adobe ships InDesign CS5. It’s going to be a great resource for anyone upgrading from CS3 or CS4 to this new version. More information on that as soon as we have it!

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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157 Comments on “Roundup of InDesign CS5 Features (Honest, this time)

  1. Awesome! I have struggling for years with work-around to get interactivity in my technical documents. CS4 made huge leaps with long document features and now CS5 has got the interactive stuff I’ve been looking for. I’m going to make the coolest technical manuals ever! Can’t wait to get started. I just have to convince the non-document-designing Office Manager (AKA, my husband) that it’s great way spend hundreds of dollars. :)

  2. I don’t understand any of the complaints about IDML vs INX. InDesign has never ben able to back-save down more than one version via INX, so how ifs it structurally different that backsaving to version 6 uses IDML instead of INX? If Adobe had retained INX you would still need InDesign 6 to save files InDesign 5 could open.

    From the user’s point of view, the only difference is a couple of letters at the end of the filename.

  3. I would not expect InD to save down and preserve a layout using new features – but I agree INX should still work in CS5 for those of us who have clients using several different previous versions. The upgrade cycle at Adobe is much more frequent than it is for most of their customers.

  4. Background PDF Export – I’m curious how they handle the multi-threading. Can you edit the doc while it’s exporting? Add/remove fonts? Sounds messy.

  5. Thanks for the detailed run-down, David and Anne-Marie.
    Would you say that image quality for CS5 InDesign created swfs has improved over CS4 InDesign?
    I’ve been of the opinion that CS4 InDesign renders swfs in action script 2 (thus, an inferior image quality). I’m hoping that CS5 InDesign will render swfs in action script 3 (or at least have a sharper image in the final output).
    Thanks again,

  6. @RikHocking: Background PDF Export works by saving a snapshot of the document being exported. Thus, you are free to continue editing/modifying the document as the snapshotted version continues to export in the background. So yes, you are free to continue editing the open document because it is not the same file on disk that is being exported.

  7. @PaulHaskings: SWFs exported out of InDesign CS4 and CS5 use AS 3, not AS 2. However, the image quality of bitmap images within the exported SWF have nothing to do with which version of AS is being used. When CS4 first shipped, there was a bug in the SWF Export dialog, in that it did not matter what quality option you chose for JPEGs. Unfortunately, they all went out as “Medium” quality. However, that bug was fixed in the first CS4 dot release (6.0.1) shortly after CS4 shipped. If you really want to control image quality, there is a “backdoor” feature that not a lot of people know about that is called “JPEG pass-thru”. Similar to Flash Professional, if you place a JPEG in an InDesign file and use it at its actual size and do nothing else to it (like add a transparency effect for example), then the JPEG will go out into the SWF exactly as it came in. Meaning, you can get your images to look exactly the way you want them to in Photoshop (using Save for Web). CS5 makes it a bit easier to calculate image dimensions you need because you can now change the measurement system to pixels.

  8. Jongware-

    Sorry about the slow response on the GREP styles dialog box. And thanks for the reminder. I’ll ask again.

    Fritz- Thanks for picking up the slack. :)

  9. Scott Falkner-

    Technically you’re right, that InDesign has officially supported only downsaving one version. But, there was a very easy workaround, with a single keystroke you could make CS2 open a CS4 document. Now with CS5, that door is closed, and CS4 sits as the only bridge between the INX era and the IDML era.

    Going forward, though I think it will be easy to downsave to any IDML version of InDesign, with a simple hack of the XML.

  10. I was recently asked by a client to produce an interactive, online version of a product catalogue I’d done for them in InDesign.

    Some of the things they wanted would, prior to CS5, require me to use the Flash authorship tool.

    But Flash’s strength is animation and interactivity, not creating full-fledged electronic magazines and catalogues – at least not in my experience.

    The client compared the cost of printing high quality copies of the catalogue to an electronic version.

    No contest in their opinion – since the catalogue is updated twice a year, they are now going with a purely electronic version and will no longer print it.

    That would be bad news for a designer with ‘print-only’ skills.

    Happen to notice how many newspapers have gone under recently because people would rather read news online? Magazines are struggling too.

    And from an environmental standpoint, our ever-growing appetite for paper, linked to an ever-expanding population, is not sustainable.

    So as long as the manufacturing processes are green, readers like the Kindle and the iPad may be a taste of the future.

    Even if they don’t succeed in the near term, it’s where we’re headed – may as well get in at the ground level.

  11. DMan,

    That’s a nice post, but I wonder if the market is moving toward PDFs that concentrate on keeping the page layout vs e-books that concentrate on content and ignore the page layout.

  12. From the Adobe blog (
    “In this new [publishing] world, ‘page layout’ is no longer the best term to describe the use of InDesign. Adobe President and CEO Shantanu Narayen offers that it is simply a layout program, in that it aggregates content into a designed document, no matter the medium in which it is published.”

    I think it’s time for book and magazine designers to think seriously in being more proficient in web technologies: XHTML, CSS, Javascript and, perhaps, Flash. Today, there’s no efficient/flexible/reliable way to do WYSIWYG web design without touching the code, maybe in the future. Meanwhile…

  13. Wish they would have made those column changes just an update to CS4. I could really use them since I have to fake them now. Don’t think it’s worth the upgrade for me yet, though!

  14. Lack of footnote evolution: sucks
    Text spanning columns: hooray
    ‘Preview’ box with a memory / non-rectangular text justification: about time
    Live Captions: cool
    Interactive features: cool but not my priority
    Worth the money for my needs: probably not

  15. @Aaron (and everyone else): I’ve been checking back and reading all the comments everyone has added to this post. So many changes/usability enhancements have been made in InDesign CS5 to make “every day” tasks simpler, quicker and more intuitive. These changes are for every user, regardless if you “only do print” or are starting to create interactive content as well. Over a dozen changes to object selection and transformations, the new Layers panel, the Gap Tool, Live Distribute, Auto-Fit, Document Installed Fonts, Swatches in the Control panel, Balanced Columns, Mini Bridge, and many more. So, whether or not you believe Adobe should have made investments into making ID a design and layout tool for more media than just Print, here’s my advice… When the 30-day trials are available for download, take ID CS5 for a spin. Use it for a week or two. My prediction? When the 30-day trial is over, you’ll be very sad at the thought of going back to CS4…

  16. Document Fonts: Great new feature. I wish they would do the same thing with links. I see users struggle with this often. For example, they have a folder containing the ID document and it’s associated link files. If they duplicate the folder (in the Mac Finder), the ID document in the new folder is still pointing to the link files in the original folder (even though they exist in the new folder at the same level as the ID document). I’m sure this is by design, but I can understand how it could create confusion.

  17. To all that whine about the interactive features mixed with your “print only” program. If you want to ditch the program because of them goodbye and good riddance. Well, maybe not as we will be paying you unemployment for a few years while you attempt to get skills that at your “new” experience level will net you entry level pay.

    Here is a lesson that I probably shouldn’t share with you luddites, but I feel compelled. I took a SolidWorks class last year and 80% of the class was filled with “old” people. These people were AutoCad masters and were either unemployed or about to be due to their lack of skills in the “new”3D parametric modeling programs now being employed almost universally in their field. The way the program works, according to them, is diametrically opposed to their current skill set. They continually griped about how things are done in the program and about the direction things are going, about 2-D vs 3D, etc. Needless to say each and every one of them got low marks on their assignments and each and every one FAILED the class. Is it because they are not intelligent enough to do the work? I say no, its because they didn’t see the times changing and/or didn’t care to adapt to the new direction. In either case it was to their detriment.

  18. Roddog63: that may well be true for your ultra-hip and up-to-date clients, but mine still request PDFs, which are going to be printed, old fashioned dawgs as they are, and bound and sold as books. With loads of footnotes, of all things.
    There is no way all your Flash skillz can help me with that.

  19. Fred: Actually I think e-readers are encouraging a paradigm new to the web/interactive world, yet familiar to print designers.

    I think what we’re heading towards with InDesign is exciting – ultimately I see page layouts in ID becoming completely dynamic and flexible.

    Within the next 5 or more years I think we’ll be increasingly designing layouts that expand and contract various regions depending on what the reader wants to focus on.

    With displays that rotate content orientation based on whether the reader is held in portrait or landscape, we’ll need to figure out creative ways to cater for both without doing twice the work.

    Jongware, I have to disagree with your comment re: footnotes. In the electronic sphere I can have your footnotes appear when the referred text is pressed or hovered over.

    That way I can fit a vast number of footnotes on a single page and many other types of content, should I so choose.

    And this can be done with a PDF btw, you don’t need Flash for that! And no trees need to be cut down either.

  20. DMan: the footnote system as featured in CS5 is *entirely* unchanged from its first conception — in CS2. You cannot change the numbering method. You cannot set a custom re-start number. It does not obey text wrap. (And, for Eugene: it has its problems with columns.)

    All of this was noticed, reported, and then requested from CS2 onwards.

    I’ll pass your comment re: trees over to my client, perhaps it’ll suddenly convince them no-one really buys books anymore.

  21. Jongware: I am not discounting the work your “current” clients require. I am advocating you keep your “skillz” up-to-date lest you be left behind like those old AutoCaders are/were. Adobe is simply responding to the changes in tasks that are required of designers and further are catering to a designers right-brain orientation in relation to those new requirements. Perhaps you should update your “skillz” and get yourself some of these ultra-hip and up-to-date clients, they pay nicely for multi-trick ponies.

    What do you do when your “old dawg” clients want the work you produced on the web in that fancy new page turning gizmo? Or a website created that looks like their brochures? Or to make their print work interactive for a digital edition. Do you give the work away because you lack the “Skillz”?

    Also, I suggest you gain a whole lot more knowledge about what you’re talking before you choose to let your brain run your fingers or your mouth without restraint. You have no idea what my Flash “skillz” encompass. The ability to program in multiple languages and use all the CS programs allow me to do all kinds of things that likely don’t enter your mind as “it can be done”.

    By the way Al Gore is gonna have your rear-end for facilitating all those trees dying a miserable death.

  22. No Bert – column spanning is still not in footnotes – footnotes are the same as they were in CS2!

    Please do add this to the wishlist

  23. I don’t suppose they improved Table styles in CS5? I’ve never been happy that “Table Style” in CS4 doesn’t literally re-style an entire table (rows, columns, and cells), or that there aren’t Column and Row styles (which would memorize width and height respectively).

    What is really lacking is the completeness that the Object Paragraph, and Character styles have. We often have to do the same table look over-and-over in a document and it would be much easier if “Table Style” acted as myself and my users expect from the name. ;p

    One way I envision is Table Style is like an Object Style, Row and Column styles are like Paragraph Styles, and Cell Syles are like Character styles. Table Styles would further allow nesting Row and Column styles (for one-click styling of an entire table). Row and Column could nest Cell styles.

    And of course all THOSE would nest Paragraph styles.

    In other words, apply the same metaphors and heirarchy concepts we already have?

  24. @CalvinFold
    Sadly, no. Tables styles are not updated with anything like what you’ve described. After so long without table styles at all, I think it’s likely we’ll have to wait a few more years before a major upgrade to that particular function.

  25. @CalvinFold: Well put. I too wish they’d improve that feature which is potentially so powerful and useful for book designers. I’ll click the link as well!

  26. Please tell me they finally fixed the print dialog so it remembers to stay put to print the page range you previously set up, rather than defaulting back to “all pages”. It pisses me off beyond belief when I print a test page, see it’s fine, input a larger quantity of prints and then (not double checking) find out minutes later it’s been printing the whole range of pages rather than only the one I needed…

  27. It’s worse than that. Cell styles are set up inconsistently in CS4. If you select a group of cells and apply a cell style with a left stroke, only the leftmost cell has the stroke applied. But if you apply a cell style with a right stroke, all the cells have the stroke applied.

    There are lots of similar inconsistencies. You end up having to apply the cell styles to cells in exactly the right order to get the effect you want. Which loses much of the benefit of having styles in the first place.

  28. Well, I just bit the bullet and pre-ordered CS5 Design Premium and saved myself over 120 Euros by not buying from Adobe themselves…

    Adobe asks (after conversions) 120 Euros less in the UK than they do in the Netherlands, for the EXACT SAME software (all taxes and added cost from shipping included). The only problem is that they won’t ship to the Netherlands from their UK store, so I went to instead and saved myself enough money to buy two cartons of cigarettes at least five more Blu-ray movies.

  29. Two questions about CS5…

    Convert URLs to Hyperlinks.
    Can CS5 pull hyperlinks from placed PDF files, or other indesign files for that matter, or is it just in the current open file?

    Space between pages.
    Can CS5 put a little bit of gutter between pages on a spread? I work in spreads but when I use my PDF online I would love to get a little space between pages.


    Looking forward to the upgrade.

  30. Thanks David,

    I do use that trick when I need to…

    What I really want is a way to export to PDF with a bit of space between pages.

    I met with my printer and worked out a simple, why didn’t we think of this sooner, way to do it.

    Add .25 around the entire page and float my page in the center. As long as they can print it the same as they did before… now the PDF online has a bit of space between pages. Making it so much easier to read.


  31. @chris: An easier method, or one that doesn’t require you to change the size of your page at all, is to add a Slug area the size you want. Then when you export your PDF, simply turn on the “Include Slug Area” checkbox in the Marks and Bleeds section of the PDF Export dialog.

  32. I have InDesign CS3 on a PC and do bookwork. I would like to have the ability to put an old and new version of a book side by side and pull text and photos from the old version as I create the new version. Can this be done on CS3, CS4, or CS5? Do I need more than one monitor to do it?


  33. @Sue: You can do this in any of the versions you listed. Choose Window > Arrange > Tile. This will display your two documents side by side. Then simply select, then drag and drop the elements you want from one document window into the other document window. I often prefer to use Copy and Paste in Place instead though if I want the elements in one document to end up in the same position in the other document.

  34. Yes its looks great and a much more compelling case to upgrade than CS4 was. Look forward to Pariah?s book too, I?ve always wanted something like that, rather than buying a book with a whole lot of stuff in it I already know.

  35. indesign UPgrade??? no endnotes, no table foot-/endnotes, is there nobody missing better INDEXING capabilities except me? I am also missing the possibility to select a series of different words/phrases to change their formatting at one strike (like in word). this incredibly weird tabulator window should be improved as well as the fill/stroke selction button and the undersized adjustment box, as well a the ability to make negative intends, and, and, and… so many BASIC deficiencies in the program surface/functionality.

    for my usage an update just for the better column spanning is totally overpriced ? like the whole suite. adobe keeps us on the long leash by giving us too much to die an too little to live with every update. no system? non-systematic? ? quite the contrary! they print money with this “upgrade”-system (that makes me feel cheated and fleeced every time). CS5 is only a small update, and, sometimes, I am thinking of giving xpress a new chance … but also quark bedevils us with this interactive sh……..t.

    but, indesign is great, in general, and there is no real alternative at this time. that’s the problem.

  36. Is there a way to download CS3 software anywhere online? My discs were stolen and I just recently bought a new mac book. Luckily, I wrote down the serial number but it’s pretty much useless without software to install.

  37. Our office uses Extensis Suitecase Font Manager for InDesign CS3. We’re planning to upgrade to CS5. I’m wondering if there’s already a “document font” feature in InDesign CS5, would there still be a need for a font manager?

  38. @Brian (April 12th): so well put. I’m feeling your pain right now as I use the same !@#$ footnote kludge to include some footnotes in separate text boxes…

  39. Interactive Export Buggy?

    Has anyone else experienced problems with the interactive export working one minute and then the next day everything’s not working — under OSX? I’ve worked for a couple of days on this — got up today and now it is totally not working.

    Yes, I’ve tried rebooting, reloading and making a fresh, brand new Indesign file. Don’t know what else to do! Yesterday things looked great.

    Today, the animation shifts, things are cutoff. Preview looks great in Indesign, but ID will not build an interactive PDF properly.

    At first I thought, Wow, this is great. Now I’m beginning to wonder if all those naysayers who talk about bloating aren’t right. Building a product that tries to do everything is not always a good idea. If this is normal behavior for ID, I think serious animation builders would skip this nonsense and work directly in Flash.