InDesign 2.0 improves page design and layout

Product review: InDesign's new capabilities should allow the product to secure a foothold among those needing enterprise-level page-layout tools

When Adobe Systems Inc. first released InDesign, it was touted as a solution that would supplant Quark Inc.'s QuarkXPress and Adobe's own PageMaker as the desktop publishing application for the professional market.

Unfortunately, InDesign 1.0 was buggy and slow, with few features to impress the experts.

The recently released 2.0 version of InDesign, however, adds capabilities that should allow the product to secure a foothold among those needing enterprise-level page layout tools.

One of the biggest disappointments with InDesign 1.0 was its poor handling of long documents. In Version 2.0, Adobe addresses this with the new Book palette, which enables users to add, delete and reorder multiple documents into a single publication. For example, you can number pages sequentially and create a table of contents, index, cross references and so on that incorporate the documents that make up a single book. You can print the entire book or only selected chapters and output them to a single PDF file.

InDesign 2.0 solves another problem for more technically oriented designers: tables. InDesign 2.0 allows you to set up cell-based tables and import data from Microsoft Corp. Word, Excel or any tab-delimited source. Using the dedicated Table menu, you can control features such as row height and width, formatting, heading rotation and so on.

InDesign has always stood out for its typographic control. With unique features such as optical kerning and margin alignment, you can be certain that the text looks as good as possible.

Strong typography, book handling and tables are important issues for professional publishers, but they aren't revolutionary. What makes InDesign 2.0 stand out from the crowd is the introduction of transparency features, which allow users to be more creative. Using the new Transparency palette, you can select any native object or group, including text boxes, and change the opacity level. Because InDesign's transparency handling is nondestructive, you can change it again at any time. This may not sound impressive, but it opens up huge design potential by allowing design elements to become seamless, integrated parts of a page.

Although products such as Corel Corp.'s CorelDraw and Deneba Systems Inc.'s Canvas have offered graduated transparency and the ability to easily apply transparency to layers and individual characters for years, InDesign 2.0 is the first program to offer such capabilities within a dedicated, multipage, text-oriented desktop publishing environment. In addition, drawing packages usually achieve those capabilities by turning their areas of transparency, along with underlying objects, into bitmaps.

Like Adobe's Illustrator software, InDesign 2.0 uses the company's "flattening" system. This actually breaks down overlapping areas into discrete objects that it recolors accordingly. The advantage is that, whenever possible, objects are maintained as pin-sharp PostScript-friendly vectors rather than half-toned bitmaps, a crucial feature for maintaining the readability of text.

Although InDesign 2.0 focuses primarily on print, the program also offers support for cross-media publishing. InDesign supports Extensible Markup Language (XML) via a utility that allows you to set up a document hierarchy by simply dragging and dropping the appropriate elements.

Adobe has overhauled InDesign's output capabilities with a revamped Print dialog. In addition to being more intuitively structured, the print features offer new capabilities such as the ability to print master pages, a transparency flattener, an ink manager and an option to save driver-independent PostScript files directly from the dialog. This is an impressive list of new features that PageMaker doesn't have.

If your agency needs workgroup and large-document support, you'll want to consider upgrading from PageMaker. If your department is already using QuarkXPress but you would like to have unique features, then you may want to consider moving to InDesign 2.0.

Kvitka is a principal of an information technology and Web development company. He can be reached at andre@digitalrig.com.

REPORT CARD

Adobe InDesign 2.0

Grade: B

Adobe Systems Inc.

(800) 833-6687

www.adobe.com

The estimated retail price of InDesign is $699. Government pricing is available from authorized resellers.

InDesign 2.0 is a huge improvement from the previous version and addresses the needs of professional desktop publishers. The new version adds tools and features that allow more creativity and control.

NEXT STORY: Letter to the editor

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.