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.

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Another boost to InDesign’s production tools is the redesigned Links panel, which can give you far more information than before: you can add extra columns to it showing effective resolution, colour spaces, size, scale and suchlike.
Images that appear multiple times in your document sit in collapsible groups to make it easier to see what you’re dealing with. The panel makes it easier to manage your assets from within InDesign, for example quickly replacing all instances of an image.

Other timesaving tools include Conditional Text, where you can set InDesign to create multiple versions
of a document through a panel that allows you to specify whether text will be appearing in various versions or not; this is like applying Text Styles.

Conditional Text makes it simple to produce versions of documents with different currencies, people’s names or branch details. It can be used to produce variations of a document using longer and shorter versions of text, with Smart Text Reflow adding and removing extra pages to fit. However, this can be fiddly to set up – especially if images are involved, as these have to be anchored to sections of text.

Flash output has been enhanced: you can transfer InDesign layouts to Flash using the new XFL file format, or by outputting SWFs directly. There are some great new tools here – including easier creation and modification
of buttons and hyperlinks through specific panels, a Sample Buttons library panel, and animated page transitions.

However, the level of interactivity you can add to SWFs pales next to what you can add to PDFs. You can’t embed movies or sound to SWFs, or have links overlapping transparent elements.

Current InDesign users will want the CS4 version for Smart Guides and Live Preflighting; other new additions make it worth the upgrade price, too.

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