InDesign CS4 continues in the tradition of many of the other CS4 programs by unifying many of the commonalities such as the style of the interface. Here, also, we find the new Tabbing property, which, is very useful as well as the moveable panels that can be moved to a second monitor. This is especially useful when you want to keep open many panels. In addition, there are the preconfigured interfaces. Now these are accessible from the same location in the different CS4 programs. Users can, also, create their own. Below is an example of the Essential interface and the panels from two others.

Immediately below is the new interface for CS4 InDesign

as compared to the Basic one for CS3.

While in InDesign CS3, if I wanted to customize my interface, I had to go to the top toolbar and open the Windows panel. With CS4 I can customize it right from the top toolbar without changing any of the other customizations including those I create myself. On the first image, notice the word ESSENTIALS on the top tool bar. Clicking on the icon allows me to select other configurations or make my own. Below are two possible default interfaces. The basic change involves what panels appear by default.

The arranging of documents is also consistent with other CS4 products. I have the ability to set up how multiple documents appear on the page. I can tab them, float them, and arrange the individual document windows. I described this feature in my Review of both Illustrator and Photoshop. In Photoshop, I did not like the tabbed feature as the default one; however in Dreamweaver and InDesign, I find it to be a wonderful asset.

I will continue to address the new features and describe how they work while giving my impressions of the program. To test the program, I am using my own articles and images as well as those produced by Don Singleton, Editor APCUG Reports

Live Preflight allows you to set up a profile as you start working so you can immediately find and correct errors. You access it by Windows>Output>Preflight. The PreFlight here shows I have 62 errors and delineates them. When the red light is on, it means that you have activated the new Live Preflight feature.

InDesign CS4 sports a redesigned Customizable Links panel. If you compare it to the one in CS3, you will see how much easier it is to use. To find the information in CS3, you had to use two menus.

In InDesign CS4, you can choose the options you want reported.

And they are all together. You can, also, choose the size of the thumbnail which can be a real time saver.

Conditional text can speed up work tremendously. How often have you had to create two documents, one for the web and one for print? While they needed to have the same information, parts needed to be different. You can make some of the parts conditional at the paragraph, word, or character level. You create it by going to Windows>Type & Tables>Conditional Text.

I created a document advertising the cost of the Master Collection for Ireland and the US. Instead of creating two separate documents, I made the text that referred to the cost in Ireland conditional. What is underlined applies to Ireland.

When I clicked on Hide All, it removed the information about the cost in Ireland and left only the cost in US currency.

You can easily design Interactive document with SWF file export capability right from within InDesign CS4. Or you can just add a hyperlink with the enhanced Hyperlink Panel.

Once you have created the hyperlink, you can verify it from within InDesign through the Hyperlink's panel.

Following the same principle, you can create interactive buttons from within InDesign CS4. In the part of the document below, I added a button from the Sample Buttons. There are many to choose from.

Once I decided to create the Interactive Button, I set up the action I wanted to create with it. I exported it as a PDF with interactive characteristics. It worked perfectly.

It is easy to export native InDesign documents to Adobe Flash CS4 Professional (XFL) and edit them there. One of the keys is to make sure it is set up in the text box to say InDesign Text to Flash Text.

Once the document has been exported to Flash, you will notice how page 1 is at keyframe 1 and page 2 is at keyframe 2.

Since I set the text to be editable in Flash CS4 Pro, I was able to change the title on the first page from Birds to Egrets.

It is very easy to align multiple images on one page using Smart Guides and Smart Spacing. No longer do you have to drag and hope that they are lining up.

You can, also, easily match one image to another and space them as evenly as you wish. If I rotate an image, a tip will show up giving me the angle of rotation. I think you can see how easy it is to place, align, space, and rotate images without having to access other tools. You can, also, match rotation angle among images.

Enhanced Text Reflow is a great new feature of InDesign CS4. With it you can add pages basically automatically to different places in a document. You set it up by going to Preferences>Type.

I set up a document specifying only one page. I placed my material in it. I used a text only article for one test and a text and graphic for another. After the material was placed a red square with a plus in it showed up to indicate that the material would not all fit on this one page. I held the shift key as I doubled clicked on the red plus sign. This added another page and reflowed the text on to it automatically. I know there are other ways of accomplishing this, but I found this the easiest.

There are many other really useful new or enhanced features. Being able to rotate a monitor has become more and more common place. With Spread rotation you can rotate your document 90 degrees instead. Also, it is now easier to change and edit Cross-Referenced files. To see more of the top new features, click on the words InDesign CS4. To see all the features, click on the word features. A trial version of InDesign CS4 can, also, be downloaded.

The cost of InDesign CS4 is for a full version US $699 and for an upgrade US $199.

System requirements


  • 1.5GHz or faster processor
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 2 (Service Pack 3 recommended) or Windows Vista® Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise with Service Pack 1 (certified for 32-bit Windows XP and Windows Vista)
  • 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
  • 1.8GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on flash-based storage devices)
  • 1,024x768 display (1,280x800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • QuickTime 7 software required for multimedia features
  • Broadband Internet connection required for online services

Mac OS

  • PowerPC® G5 or multicore Intel® processor
  • Mac OS X v10.4.11–10.5.4
  • 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
  • 1.6GB 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 flash-based storage devices)
  • 1,024x768 display (1,280x800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • QuickTime 7 software required for multimedia features
  • Broadband Internet connection required for online services

For information on the Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection, click on the link. The cost is US $2,499.00 with upgrades from US $899.00 You can get a trial DVD set for US $15.99. This link, also, lists all the programs contained in the Master Collection as well as give information on the individual programs.

  • InDesign® CS4
  • Photoshop® CS4 Extended
  • Illustrator® CS4
  • Acrobat® 9 Pro
  • Flash® CS4 Professional
  • Dreamweaver® CS4


  • Fireworks® CS4
  • Contribute® CS4
  • After Effects® CS4
  • Adobe Premiere® Pro CS4
  • Soundbooth® CS4
  • Adobe OnLocation™ CS4
  • Encore® CS4*
  • Adobe Bridge CS4
  • Adobe Device Central CS4
  • Dynamic Link
  • Version Cue® CS4

For more information on Adobe products, go to

Below are links to my reviews of other Adobe CS4 software.

Review of Acrobat 9 Pro

Review of Photoshop CS4 Extended

Review of Illustrator CS4

Review of Fireworks CS4

Review of Flash CS4 Professional

Review of Dreamweaver CS4

I found that the new features and enhancements made a lot of working in InDesign CS4 easier as well as increased the smoothness of the workflow. However, learning how to utilize some of the new ways of working with features was hard. This is my only criticism and I go into more detail later in my summary. A lot of the new features enhance interactivity for readers of documents exported from InDesign CS4 as well as with other programs. Live Preflight is a wonderful boon. I do like knowing if something is wrong while creating a document. Also, being able to set up particular profiles helps consistency especially if you are adding to or creating publications that have the same framework. As I always suggest, download the trial, go to the Adobe website and look at the new features and try it for yourself. I do like this new version and find it has expanded my capabilities and ease of use.

One negative I have found with most of the CS4 programs is that there is no manual (hasn't been for a while), but there is no online manual either. One has to rely on either Support which contain articles,, which, also, has articles, or Community Help. Normally while I preferred the online manuals, this has not been too much of a problem although it takes longer to find information or instructions. However, I ran into a problem in InDesign CS4 where the only article that pertained to a major feature was in and was not available without a subscription.