Adobe InDesign Overview

Indesign CS5 and CS6 are one-time purchases, not subscriptions

Indesign Cs6

The Adobe CS5 and CS6 versions of InDesign are professional-level page layout software programs that are available as standalone packages or as part of the boxed editions of the Adobe Creative Suite. Dubbed the "Quark Killer" when Adobe launched it, InDesign started to live up to its name a few versions later.

It is now in use in almost all offset commercial printing companies and is popular with graphic designers. Adobe InDesign CS5 and CS6 are still in widespread use even though Adobe has moved exclusively to a subscription service known as the Creative Cloud for its publishing products.

The CS5 and CS6 versions can be purchased one time and used indefinitely, whereas the Creative Cloud products require a yearly subscription fee. Although Adobe no longer sells the Creative Suite, InDesign CS5 and CS6 can still be purchased on the internet.

The boxed editions of CS5 and CS6 that contain InDesign are:

  • Design Standard (CS5 and CS6)
  • Design Premium (CS5)
  • Design & Web Premium (CS6)
  • Master Collection (CS5 and CS6)
  • Creative Cloud (CS6)

CS5 Features

Key features of Adobe InDesign CS5 as listed by Adobe:

  • Enhanced cross-media publishing
  • Enhanced integration with Adobe design, web and digital reading applications
  • Enhanced productivity tools including "smart guides, rapid table creation, multiple-file placement, the ability to create pages of different sizes in a single file, and streamlined object selection and editing."
  • Enhanced text composition including "styles, text wrap, the Paragraph Composer, OpenType support, and drop caps. Include headlines that span or split columns without a separate text frame."
  • Enhanced creative tools such as "integrated drawing tools, built-in Adobe Photoshop effects, finer transparency controls, and support for 3D Photoshop artwork."
  • Enhanced preflighting and production
  • Automation, InDesign Markup Language (IDML, an XML-based file format), and tight integration between InDesign CS5 and Adobe InCopy CS5 software for collaboration.

CS6 Features

Key features of Adobe InDesign CS6 as listed by Adobe:

  • Liquid Layout automatically adapts content when you change the layout, such as new page size or orientation.
  • Alternate Layout lets you design for different devices all in the same file.
  • Link content within or across documents so a change in one updates the others.
  • Content Collector tools make it easier to gather up content from one document to reuse in another.
  • Create form fields within InDesign before export to PDF.
  • Split window view for side-by-side comparison of layouts in the same document.
  • Includes Middle Eastern language support, persistent text frame fitting option, grayscale preview, recently used fonts at top of font list, pages panel enhancements, grayscale PDF export, export to PNG and enhancements to several other features.

Using InDesign

As professional level software, Adobe InDesign represents a substantial learning curve for graphic artists and publishing technicians who have never used it before. Even operators who moved to InDesign from QuarkXpress had to go through adjustments to their workflow.

Fortunately, the internet is filled with tutorials on InDesign CS5 and CS6. The Adobe website itself has a library of video tutorials specifically for these versions of InDesign. After you master the basics, you can get to work in the software and learn about the advanced capabilities of InDesign as you go.

Buying InDesign

Although Adobe no longer sells the Creative Suite versions that include CS5 and CS6, they are still for sale on Amazon and other online software sites.