Adobe InDesign CS2

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Improved text handling, graphic integration, layout options and the introduction of Object Styles and re-usable Snippets all help to boost InDesign’s productivity.

indesign cs2

InDesign was first launched in 1999 making it the most recent of the main Creative Suite applications, but in many ways it is also the most central. By incorporating Illustrator’s vectors and Photoshop’s bitmaps into its multi-page layouts and offering advanced print via Acrobat and Web repurposing via GoLive, InDesign acts as the natural hub for the suite as a whole.

InDesign’s integration with the graphical suite applications is especially important and is greatly helped by the bundling of Adobe Bridge (see page ). The handling of Photoshop PSD files has long been excellent, but is taken to a new level by the ability to switch layer visibility on and off and to select from embedded layer comps to quickly explore layout possibilities. In many ways the integration with Illustrator is even tighter with the ability to cut and paste paths and then edit them directly within InDesign – these paths can now opened, closed and reversed - while for embedded AI files you can now control the visibility of layers. For files provided in Acrobat format (very common for adverts), the ability to load and place multi-page PDFs helps boost production efficiency.

Graphics are crucial to the end impact of most InDesign layouts, but successful text handling is essential to them all, starting right from the initial text import. Improved XML handling with options for handling tables, stripping unmatching content and automatic updating will all be welcome in advanced production environments. The new Word/RTF import filter’s ability to map styles provides XML-inspired efficiency, consistency and control for all users, especially as import settings can be saved as presets. And the ability to preserve local overrides while stripping out other styling will save many hours of re-italicizing and emboldening.

indesign cs2

InDesign’s text and image handling have both been improved.

Text control within InDesign has also been totally revamped. With new options for text drag-and-drop, dynamic spell checking and AutoCorrect, InDesign’s text handling is brought much more into line with Microsoft Word. Text styling has also been overhauled with the ability to paste without formatting, to selectively clear character and paragraph-level overrides, to find and apply styles much more efficiently with the new Quick Apply capability, to selectively import and replace styles and to format whole blocks of text with multiple styles using the new Apply Next Style option. Best of all, InDesign CS2 at last offers a wysiwyg font sample – though it’s pretty appalling that it’s taken Adobe five major releases to get around to it.

New layout options include the ability to specify baseline grids at the text-frame level to ensure accurate layout on pages containing areas of text with different leading values. The control over anchored frames has also been dramatically enhanced with the ability to position the frame anywhere inside or outside the current text frame so enabling callouts, pull quotes, margin notes and linked graphics that automatically travel with their associated text. And InDesign CS2 now provides dedicated handling for the most important type of anchored text: footnotes (though surprisingly not endnotes).

Further layout enhancements include the ability to automatically convert frames from one shape to another and to intelligently re-apply transformations such as scaling and resizing to multiple objects either as a group or individually. Another major omission finally addressed is the option for a placed graphic to proportionally fill its frame even when this has a different aspect ratio.

All told, InDesign’s layout and graphical power is extraordinary, but trying to keep on top of it and to ensure consistency can become a problem in itself. That’s where InDesign CS2’s biggest innovation comes in – Object Styles. Using the new Object Styles palette you can save any combination of object-level formatting as a named style and then apply all settings to another object with a single click. Parameters that can be saved include not just the obvious formatting options - fills, strokes, corner effects, transparency, drop shadowing and feathering - but text and anchored frame settings and even a default paragraph style. Even better, you can apply a style, update the current object and then redefine the style to automatically update all styled objects in the current publication!

indesign cs2

Object Styles and more flexible anchored frames boost formatting and layout options.

About the only thing that isn’t included in the Object Style is the object itself, but InDesign CS2 caters for this too with its other killer feature: Snippets. Now you can save any element or selection of elements from your design for later re-use simply by dragging and dropping to and from Adobe Bridge . It’s amazingly simple in practice but this hides some amazing work behind the scenes as each snippet is based on INX, the new InDesign Interchange format, an XML-based scripting technology which automatically recreates the objects, their formatting (including styles) and their relative positioning. INX is also used to enable exported InDesign CS2 files to be opened in InDesign CS – providing maximum backward compatibility.

In terms of output, InDesign CS2’s Package for GoLive command has been enhanced to enable a range of pages or selected objects to be repurposed for the Web, but the primary focus remains strongly on commercial print. InDesign CS2 sees a number of improvements here most notably the inclusion of the InBooklet SE add-in for managing basic page imposition, the ability to accurately preview rich blacks onscreen and the new default “safe CMYK” policy which automatically converts RGB objects according to colour management settings while now preserving the values in CMYK objects. Advances in Acrobat include the new PDF presets especially the prepress PDF/X standards and, for Suite users, the option to have InDesign CS2 automatically open Acrobat 7.0 Professional to create a companion JDF (Job Definition Format) file to specify how the PDF should be processed.

Overall InDesign CS2 sees major innovations from beginning to end of the publishing workflow when it comes to text, graphics, styling, layout, formatting and output. You can’t ask for much more than that.

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System requirements Pentium III ; 256/512MB RAM ; 300MB free hard disk space; Windows 2000 (SP3) onwards.

Tom Arah

April 2005

Full Photoshop CS2 review
Full Illustrator CS2 review
Full InDesign CS2 review
Full GoLive CS2 review
Full Acrobat Professional 7 review
Full Creative Suite 2 review

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