I would say that there are three main categories where InDesign CS5 has been improved and changed from version CS4. They are: collaboration, ease of use, and interactive media. Adobe has added many new features - both large and small. I found that this version is more intuitive than previous versions, especially because I could do so much with just a few tools, such as the Selection tool which now has multiple new uses. Also, InDesign CS5's integration with other programs allows the user to speed up the workflow.

As I have reported in other reviews, the new Adobe CS Review online feature allows for the ability to incorporate reviews directly into the design process. Also, it is easy to learn about other CS Live services. This helps eliminate the confusion often caused by e-mail attachments, etc. It is as easy as clicking on File>Create New Review. The screen prompts will escort you the rest of the way.

As in Photoshop as well as other CS5 programs, InDesign has added the Mini Bridge. This is a subset of Adobe Bridge and opens as a panel in InDesign. I have found it very useful in all the Adobe products that contain it that I have used. Since I have dual monitors, I keep it available all the time on my second monitor.

Bridge has, also, been enhanced. Now you can see page thumbnails for more than the first page. You set your own number of pages.

Here, I used the default of 2. There were three pages in the document so I tried settings for more pages, and the previews always reflected the correct number.

You can, also, view links from the Bridge while in Adobe InDesign

The interface does not look very different, but changes have been made. Tools such as the Page tool and Gap tool have been added to the default left toolbar as well as others from CS4 have been nested in CS5.

The top menu bar in CS5 is also different in the default setting than it was in CS4. Notice the added commands for ease of use.

Simplified object selection and editing allows you to make multiple transformations with a single tool. This is a huge time saver. The tool changes as you direct it. Since there are usually many ways to execute the same command in Adobe software, I'll describe how I did it. Depending on whether I wanted to make changes to the frame or the object, I chose one of the selection tools. Without changing tools, I could scale or rotate the frame or crop the image. These are just examples.

Now lets look at some new tools and some new effects.

The new Gap tool makes it so quick and easy to change the white space surrounding objects as in the examples below.

When you select the Page tool, it activates the Control panel so you can change page sizes easily.

To achieve the Live Corner effects, all you do is click on the yellow box to activate it and dynamically change the shape.

Easy grid placement remained a mystery to me for a while. I couldn't understand what it referred to until I read this document from Creative Pro describing the new "gridified" tools such as the rectangle creation tool, text frame tool, etc. What you basically do, is click-drag, click-drag..........Once you get the hang of it, it is really a useful and easy function to use. Notice the spaces between are all the same size. Each keyboard arrow has a different function.

The Content Grabber was one of the new features I didn't even realize I was using. It is so easy to use and so "right there" that I was using it before I realized this is new. When your mouse hovers over the circles using the Selection tool, the hand appears. As you move the content, the frame is highlighted, also.

The new Layers panel should be familiar to users of other Adobe programs. Notice how the colors of the layers correspond to the rectangular frames on the page. This makes identifying layers a snap. I clicked on the top right of the Layers panel to open it and make visible the options.

Live Caption is an amazing new feature. It makes use of the metadata in the Bridge to generate what type of caption you desire under the image. First you set it up as to paragraph style; then, you choose Live or Static Caption. The difference is that with Live Caption, if a picture is changed, the new metadata will appear. I had problems centering the text. This could be just my issue or an issue. I do not know.

Interactive documents and presentations are easier to do with the new updated panels. A good example is the new Media panel. It will preview the file as it plays. I placed an SWF file and, then, chose an image to represent it. The Media panel demonstrated how it would play.

The Preview panel can accomplish a similar objective as the Media panel. However, it is different. You can use it to preview interaction of your document or parts of it.

I decided to see how easy it would be to create a simple animation in InDesign using the Animation panel. (Windows>Interactive.) While I use layers extensively in Photoshop and Illustrator, I sometimes forget to use them in InDesign. Preparing the animation using layers made all the difference. It is a simple animation with the bird just flying across the banner.

You can, also, create multi-state objects that respond to reader's actions

as well as navigation buttons directly in InDesign CS5.

This is a whole new area to explore in CS5. It will be interesting to see how this interactive concept develops in future versions. Below is a mini slide show navigated by a button from the Button panel. While this is simple, more complex multi-states can be built. Click on the blue button to see the slide show.

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The ability to transform printed media to digital has been enhanced and expanded. You can turn your printed content into web content, save it for mobile devices and export it for the Adobe Flash Player as well as use InDesign CS5 pages for Flash Professional whose new text engine will retain the typography. There is a lot of integration now between InDesign CS5 and Flash Professional CS5. When you export an InDesign document with animation you can choose SWF (Flash Player) or FLA (Flash Professional) file type.

You can, also, export your documents for Dreamweaver and EPUB. When you export to EPUB, your work can go into multiple devices such as: Apple iPad, Sony e-Book Reader, Barnes & Noble nook, and mobile phones. When using Adobe Digital Editions, a desktop reading application, you can incorporate sound and interactivity when you export as an EPUB to read on your computer.

Below is a document I created in InDesign CS5. (The InDesign original document is on the left). When I exported it to Dreamweaver CS5 using the default settings which included embedded CSS styles, the result is shown below. Why it reversed the order of the images I do not know.

I added the two checked boxes for this export. It put the text in the middle of the page, but the changes did not affect the images. I tried other options to center the images, but perhaps I did not select the correct ones or perhaps I did not setup the InDesign file correctly for proper exporting to Dreamweaver. I tried other documents as well.

While I believe one road of InDesign for the future leads from print to digital, I feel that some more fine tuning is necessary. While saying this, the multi-media improvements and new features are nevertheless tremendous and exciting.

You can decide how you want your images to appear as you move them to reposition them on the page. The setting will determine if the image redraws as you drag an object.

Track text changes is a very useful function, especially when one is collaborating on an article. You can determine how it is set up in Preferences. To track changes use the Track Change panel: Windows>Editorial>Track Changes. Even if you are working alone on an article, this is a marvelous way to see your changes. It is also very easy. The trick is to remember to use the Story Editor screen. This is a great feature!

You can now span and split paragraphs so easily it is amazing. There are a number of ways it can be done in InDesign CS5. You can use the Control panel on top when your Insertion (Type Tool) is placed at the start of a paragraph

or you can use the Paragraph panel. (Windows>Type & Tables>Paragraph.)

There are many more new features and enhancements in this incredibly rich version of InDesign CS5. To try it out, download a demo and on the splash screen click on New Features. Also, to see the new features on the Adobe website, go to InDesign CS5. InDesign CS5 retails for $699.00 for a full version and for $199.00 for an upgrade. For more information on all Adobe products, go to: http://www.adobe.com.

The requirements are:


  • Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 2 (Service Pack 3 recommended); Windows Vista® Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise with Service Pack 1; 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-based storage devices)
  • 1024x768 display (1280x800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Adobe® Flash® Player 10 software required to export SWF files
  • Broadband Internet connection required for online services

Mac OS

  • Multicore Intel processor
  • Mac OS X v10.5.7 or v10.6
  • 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-based storage devices)
  • 1024x768 display (1280x800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Adobe Flash Player 10 software required to export SWF files
  • Broadband Internet connection required for online services

InDesign CS5 has a feeling of unity. As you work with it, you will realize that whether you are placing an animation or editing text, the various tools and commands have a commonality. This makes for ease of use and an improved workflow. This version of InDesign CS5 is the easiest to work with of all the versions Adobe has produced. The enhancements are great as are the new features. I highly recommend it.