Adobe InDesign CS4 review

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

  • Price When Reviewed: 595 . 139 . 895 . 1249

  • Pros: Smart Guides make layout faster; Live Preflight offers easier production; working with hyperlinks and buttons is now much simpler.

  • Cons: SWF output limited; Kuler colour-scheme creator can’t compare to Illustrator’s Live Color.

Best prices today

Retailer Price Delivery  

Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide

Adobe’s cross-fertilization of tools and functions across its Creative Suite line is a source of both joy and frustration.

It’s great when innovative tools from one application are transferred to another, allowing you to be more creative or work more efficiently – but it’s also irritating when you can see something in another tool that you want, but can’t have. It’s as if we’ve come to expect all tools to be introduced across all applications.

In the former group for InDesign users is Smart Guides (below). Introduced in Illustrator CS3, these are lines that appear when something you are manipulating aligns with something else on your document. So if you move or resize an image or text box, green guide lines will shoot out to tell you when an edge matches that of another box. It also shows you when the middle of an element lines up with the middle of another, or the middle of the page.

And Smart Guides’ functionality doesn’t end there. It will tell you when the spacing between three or more objects is equal. Smart Guides is one of those features that you’ll get so used to that it will annoy you if you have to use a pre-CS4 version of InDesign at any point in the future.

However, once you’ve got something great from Illustrator, you want it all. And we want the Live Color colour scheme creation and management system. InDesign CS4 features a new Kuler panel, based on Adobe’s online colour system, which offers many of the same tools – but it’s RGB-based, so there’s no way to limit your designs to process colours
or other print-specific concerns.

One great new feature that’s unique to InDesign is Live Preflighting. This keeps an eye on your document and lets you know if it detects anything outside your preflight parameters, which could include low-res or RGB images, overset text or missing fonts. It’s most useful for warning you that the image you’ve just placed has the wrong settings, or that you’ve still got overflowing text, rather than only finding out when you package a document or run a preflight just before creating PDFs.

Each error has a hyperlinked page number to take you to the page in question. However, there are no quick fixes for common problems, such as converting RGB images to CMYK.

Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn't affect our editorial independence. Learn more.

Read Next...