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Learn About Adobe InDesign


Adobe InDesign CS splash screen
Adobe InDesign CS splash screen

Adobe InDesign is a desktop publishing (DTP) application produced by Adobe Systems. Launched as a direct competitor to QuarkXPress, it initially had difficulty in wooing users away from Quark's offering, but in 2002 it outsold QuarkXPress, largely because Quark was slow to release a native version of XPress for Mac OS X. In addition, Adobe can bundle InDesign with its other design tools, such as Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop��"tools that XPress buyers probably need as well��"and undercut Quark's price. However, InDesign remains a distant second to XPress in the high-end DTP market, despite the fact that InDesign is more powerful than XPress in most scenarios.

InDesign can export documents in Adobe's Portable Document Format and offers multilingual support that Quark users can get only by purchasing a much more expensive "Passport" version. InDesign is the first major DTP application to support Unicode for text processing and the advanced typography of OpenType fonts. Its advanced transparency features and cross-platform scriptability using Javascript also set it apart. Finally, it features tight integration and user interface similarities with Illustrator and Photoshop programs.

InDesign was positioned as a higher-end alternative and successor to Adobe's own PageMaker. InDesign is primarily used to design short documents (that is, not books) or articles in periodical publications, posters, and other print media. Longer documents are usually still designed with FrameMaker (manuals and technical documents) or QuarkXPress (books). The combination of a relational database, InDesign and Adobe InCopy word processor, which uses the same formatting engine as InDesign, is the heart of several publishing systems designed for newspapers, magazines, and other publishing environments; InDesign and InCopy can work together in small publishing workgroup environments without needing a dedicated system or relational database. Designers can work on the InDesign document at the same time that editors using InCopy change the text linked to the document that the designer is working on. The editor can see the same line endings and other typographic details, and as the designer changes the look of the document, the editor can update the "geometry" to see the consequence of the designer's work on the length of the story. Meanwhile, the designer can periodically update the text to reflect the most recent editorial changes.

New versions of the software introduced new file formats. Adobe had upset its user base by not allowing InDesign CS to downsave to older versions of InDesign. However, with the new release of InDesign CS2, saving in the InDesign CS file format is allowed through the InDesign Interchange (.inx) format. Versions of InDesign CS updated with the 3.01 April 2005 update (available free from Adobe's Web site) can read files saved from InDesign CS2 exported to this format.

Adobe InDesign CS Working Environment
Adobe InDesign CS Working Environment


External links

Comparisons with QuarkXPress:

Adobe InDesign Tutorials:

Some system integrators whose publishing systems use InDesign and InCopy:

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