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Graphic design & publishing software Reviews
15,669 Reviews

Adobe InDesign CS4 review

£693.78 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Adobe

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

The newest version of InDesign, Adobe InDesign Creative Suite 4 (CS4) is expected to ship in October. InDesign CS4 is a nice update, but not an essential one.

The newest version of InDesign, Adobe InDesign Creative Suite 4 (CS4) is expected to ship in October. InDesign CS4 is a nice update, but not an essential one.

Much of what's new in this sixth version of Adobe's InDesign page-layout program is under the hood, with new underlying file formats based on the XML standard and programming hooks that over time should make it easier to use InDesign files and functionality in automated publishing environments.

But those under-the-hood enhancements won't do anything for today's designers, so they're not reasons to get excited about the new version.
Here's what you can expect from Adobe InDesign CS4 when the new version comes out with the rest of Adobe's CS4 releases next month.

See also: Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4) review

INDIVIDUAL CS4 APPS REVIEWED IN DETAIL:

Adobe InDesign CS4 review

Adobe Photoshop CS4 review

Adobe Illustrator CS4 review

Adobe After Effects CS4 review

Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 review

Adobe Flash Professional CS4 review

Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 review

Adobe InCopy CS4 review

Adobe Version Cue CS4 review

Adobe Contribute CS4 review

Adobe Soundbooth CS4 review

Adobe Fireworks CS4 review

THE SIX ADOBE CS4 SUITES REVIEWED:

Adobe CS4 Master Collection review

Adobe CS4 Production Premium review

Adobe CS4 Web Premium review

Adobe CS4 Web Standard review

Adobe CS4 Design Standard review

Adobe CS4 Design Premium review

Get smart

The most exciting addition for layout designers is the trio of "smart" tools that make it easier to precisely work with document objects via the mouse. Designers often ignore the precise placement, sizing, and rotational controls available in the Control panel and instead eyeball objects' locations, dimensions, and angles.

The new smart guides feature in InDesign CS4 helps you precisely place, size, and rotate objects as you work with them by popping up alignment indicators as you work on the objects. At top, the new object (at right) is being sized. In the middle, InDesign displays an alignment indicator so you can make the new object's bottom match that of a nearby object. At bottom, it pops up an indicator that lets you space a third object at the same distance from the second object as the second object is from the first object.

With the new smart guides, spacing, and dimensions, InDesign CS4 constantly compares the position, size, and rotation angle of the object you're manipulating with the mouse and displays on-screen guides when your eyeballed placement matches that of nearby objects.

For example, if you are moving a text box near two others, InDesign CS4 highlights when the space between the object you're moving matches the space between the nearest two objects. The smart dimensions feature takes the same principle and applies it to sizing, so if you are creating a series of frames, it indicates when the new one matches the size of a nearby one. And when you rotate an object, it displays an onscreen indicator when the current rotation matches that of a nearby object. We love how unobtrusive but helpful this feature is. If there's a must-do reason to upgrade to InDesign CS4, this is it.

We were pleased to see an ongoing gripe finally addressed: you can now set a nested style to have character styles applied to a specified number of lines in a paragraph, not just to a specific number of sentences or characters. That means you can now do things like set a paragraph's first line to be in all small caps, even as the text changes.

NEXT PAGE: Targeted changes

See also: Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4) review

INDIVIDUAL CS4 APPS REVIEWED IN DETAIL:

Adobe InDesign CS4 review

Adobe Photoshop CS4 review

Adobe Illustrator CS4 review

Adobe After Effects CS4 review

Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 review

Adobe Flash Professional CS4 review

Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 review

Adobe InCopy CS4 review

Adobe Version Cue CS4 review

Adobe Contribute CS4 review

Adobe Soundbooth CS4 review

Adobe Fireworks CS4 review

THE SIX ADOBE CS4 SUITES REVIEWED:

Adobe CS4 Master Collection review

Adobe CS4 Production Premium review

Adobe CS4 Web Premium review

Adobe CS4 Web Standard review

Adobe CS4 Design Standard review

Adobe CS4 Design Premium review

PLUS:

Adobe InDesign CS4 Expert Verdict »
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
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

Getting Adobe InDesign CS4 is a no-brainer if you're upgrading the whole Creative Suite. As a stand-alone product, it's tempting but not essential.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
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    Adobe Flash Professional

    Flash CS4 features a radically revised animation environment.

  • Adobe Soundbooth CS4 review

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    Adobe Soundbooth CS4 is something more akin to a professional audio editor than its predecessor ever was.

  • Adobe Illustrator CS4 review

    Adobe Illustrator CS4

    Illustrator Creative Suite 4 (CS4) enjoys a revamped interface, new gradient tools and much, much more.

  • Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4) review

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    Among the highlights of Adobe Creative Suite 4 are a simplified workflow system, new tools for integrating Flash animations into projects. CS4 also enjoys expanded support for community features.

  • Adobe CS4 Master Collection review

    Adobe CS4 Master Collection

    Adobe Creative Suite CS 4 Master Collection features all of Adobe's CS4 updates.


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