Introduction to CS6

With the advent of CS6, users have a choice of purchasing hard copies by downloading or by accessing the programs through the Adobe Creative Cloud™. It is necessary to understand how these two methods for purchasing programs work. Let's first look at the Creative Cloud. The Creative Cloud isn't only for accessing programs. It is a way to keep everything you do in the "present." In other words, as you create a document and change it, the change is already reflected in the document in the Cloud so that if you are sharing documents, the latest will be immediately available. The same is true with programs. If you use a tablet, you are already familiar with apps. Your work can be stored in the Cloud so if you are away from your desktop computer or laptop and create an image on your tablet, you can save it to the Cloud to be accessed later on your desktop or on any other appropriate mobile device. Think of the CS6 Master Collection as a series of apps. For $49.99 per month with a years commitment, updates and programs will always be available. These programs will be continually and continuously updated. New features will even be released between major upgrades. There will be programs that will only be available from the Cloud as well as services. If you join by August 31, 2012, you only pay $29.99 per month with a one year contract. As Adobe states on their website: Get the world's best tools, Store and Share, Publish apps and websites, and Stay a step ahead. Also, current Creative Suite users save $20/month for the first year on Adobe Creative Cloud membership. The offer is good for all registered users with CS3 or later. You can think of the Creative Cloud as both a hub for working on all your devices and with all your team as well as a storage repository.

If you are not sure what suite you want, click on the Comparison Guide link to see the list of suites and the programs that comprise them. Following this introduction, I will be reviewing the programs that comprise the CS6 edition of Design and Web Premium. I am using a downloaded version of the suite that is not from the Cloud. As I review the programs, I will include a link to the review in this introduction. Acrobat X Pro was already reviewed when it first was released.

When I started reviewing graphic programs over 20 years ago, one could be a generalist, i.e., be familiar with and use creatively most of the products. As time has progressed and more content has been added, one needs to be more of a specialist in each field, creating or adapting images, setting up layouts in print, and setting up websites not only for the desktop and laptop but especially for mobile devices. Then, we cannot forget being skilled in using programs such as Flash and all the video editing programs available from Adobe. Each time I review, I find so much material that is new and in certain areas material that is totally new to me.

If I had to describe the programs in CS6 Design and Web Premium, I would say they are all about designing for mobile devices, whether you are creating fluid layouts in InDesign or multiple layouts in Dreamweaver; speeding your workflow through more responsive interfaces and enhanced panels in all programs, especially the new interface in Photoshop and Illustrator; having even more integration between programs; and never having to leave a program to preview web elements in Fireworks or create forms in InDesign.

Review of Adobe InDesign CS6

The new feature of InDesign CS6 that stood out for me at first glance was the parallelism between many of the new features of Dreamweaver CS6. While a thrust in Dreamweaver CS6 is toward writing for different size platforms, the same emphasis is in InDesign CS6. While I did use InDesign 5.5 when it was released, it was mainly to review the Digital Publishing Suite Desktop Tools although I did prepare a number of standard newsletters with InDesign CS5.5 as well. I decided to try out the new features between InDesign CS5.5 and CS6 and see how they responded and worked.

New features from InDesign CS5.5 to InDesign CS6

What was new in InDesign CS5.5

Liquid Page Rules

A goal of InDesign CS6 is to make repurposing documents easier than ever. In recent years with the influx of mobile devices and creating for these devices, magazines, ads, documents, etc. have to be created in multiple sizes as well as both horizontally and vertically. A designer needs to be able to take their content and as quickly and easily as possible conform it to these various sizes and layouts. Here is where InDesign CS6 comes in. In previous versions there were a number of ways to work with layouts and change sizes. With the new Liquid Page Rules, one has the ability to take a basic layout and adapt it to multiple sizes in a more simplified manner. Liquid Page is HTML5 based. Options for adapting the initial layout can be created by changing the scale of a document page, using standard guide lines and changing them to liquid guide lines, placing and pinning objects, and re-center the layout. These rules determine how your page is "reinvented." The steps are not complicated, but they are detailed. so one needs to learn how to do this. Tutorials

There are terms in the Liquid Page Rules which are useful to know.

Guide based - Here you create guides to determine how you want the page to change. You, then, turn these normal guides into Liquid Guides by clicking on them with the Selection tool..

To test how these will work, you grab the corners of your pages with the page tool on the left toolbar. This is a wonderful way to preview how your page will look.

Alternate Page Layout

This is probably the hub of the new features dealing with creating the same document for specific mobile devices - vertically and horizontally - and is based on Liquid Layout. Adobe does not pretend that all will be automatic. Liquid Layout and other methods give the designer a framework. Instead of having to create more than one document, now in InDesign CS6, you can create them in one file. You can have as many alternates as you need to create for your project.

One feature I really like is being able to preview any layout in a split screen. I clicked on the two vertical layouts and was able to preview them side by side.

This is a good tutorial for working with Liquid Layouts and how they are used in alternative layouts. While the concept is straight forward, one has to get used to using the Liquid Layout Rules.

Content Collector Tools

This is a really handy new tool. You can collect content from multiple pages and place them in a new document. If you want to link the content, you must click on the Create Link box. This should save designers a lot of time.

Linked Content

When you create multiple and similar documents, updating or keeping content constant can get confusing. The Linked Content can help you accomplish this. It uses the same Content Collector.

Preview and Export a Grayscale PDF

Sometimes it is necessary to produce both color and grayscale of the same document. In InDesign CS6, you can now preview a color document in grayscale mode without leaving InDesign: View>Proof setup>Custom and then choose under Device to Simulate a Dot Gain percentage. You can, also, export a grayscale PDF. For instructions, click here. It is easy to do and gives the same dot gain and other choices as you had when you previewed your image in grayscale.

Interactive Forms

This is really great news. No longer do you have to leave InDesign CS6 to create a simple interactive PDF. Even more complex ones have been simplified. Working in InDesign gives you more control as a designer of formatting form fields, creating attractive buttons, etc. Below is a simple interactive PDF questionnaire I designed. I created a simple form; everything I needed was right at my fingertips; it looked good and was easy to do. But best of all, it worked perfectly. While I don't create many interactive PDFs, I can see using this a lot - simply because it offers a lot and is so easy to use. I was able to mail it automatically to myself through Live Mail. Once again, Adobe has created this internally in InDesign CS6 so one doesn't have to leave the program. You can even add Accessibility features. Below are some of the panels I used.

A number of small changes have also been made which significantly add to the workflow. Some are:

System requirements


  • Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 3 or Windows 7
  • 1GB of RAM (2GB recommended)
  • 1.6GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on removable flash storage devices)
  • 1024x768 display (1280x800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Adobe® Flash® Player 10 software required to export SWF files
  • Some features in Adobe Bridge rely on a DirectX 9–capable graphics card with at least 64MB of VRAM
  • This software will not operate without activation. Broadband Internet connection and registration are required for software activation, validation of subscriptions, and access to online services.* Phone activation is not available.

Mac OS

  • Multicore Intel processor
  • Mac OS X v10.6.8 or v10.7
  • 1GB of RAM (2GB recommended)
  • 2.6GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on a volume that uses a case-sensitive file system or on removable flash storage devices)
  • 1024x768 display (1280x800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Adobe Flash Player 10 software required to export SWF files
  • This software will not operate without activation. Broadband Internet connection and registration are required for software activation, validation of subscriptions, and access to online services.* Phone activation is not available.

* This product may integrate with or allow access to certain Adobe or third-party hosted online services ("Online Services"). Online Services are available only to users 13 and older and require agreement to additional terms of use and Adobe's online privacy policy. Online Services are not available in all countries or languages, may require user registration, and may be discontinued or modified in whole or in part without notice. Additional fees or subscription charges may apply.

Sometimes it is hard to explain why a program seems more responsive or is more comfortable to use than before, such is the case with InDesign CS6. I found it very easy to use. It just seemed more fluid. As stated above there are large and small changes to InDesign CS6. Sometimes the smaller ones are just what are needed to increase one's workflow. For me, this is my favorite version of InDesign.

For more information on InDesign CS6, click on it. InDesign CS6 sells for a full version US $699.00 and for an upgrade starts at US $125.00. You can, also, try it out. For more Adobe products go to the Adobe website.