Adobe InDesign CS6

Jay Nelson
20 July, 2012
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Adobe InDesign CS6



Vastly improved tools; can save back to CS4; multiple layouts in one document


Parent/Child item linking lacks some flexibility; Liquid Layout difficult to master

$1168; subscription from $24.99/month


Adobe has a winner of an upgrade in InDesign CS6, with a combination of improvements to its digital publishing tools, PDF forms authoring and dozens of workflow refinements.

The most visible improvements centre, not surprisingly, around digital publishing – specifically converting content for one medium or device to another. Adobe has clearly listened to user requests and updated its aging document model to make it more useful for today’s workflows.

In CS6, you can link from one object in an InDesign layout to other objects in different layouts within the same document. You can define one frame as a Parent frame and then link to it from Child frames in other layouts. The program remembers graphics, text and formatting.

To accommodate this new functionality, Adobe had to change the document structure. Now one document may contain multiple layouts and each layout can link some of its content to the others.

To assist users in generating new layouts based on an existing layout, Adobe has added the Alternate Layout feature, which creates a duplicate of your original layout, optionally with a new page size and orientation. When exporting your project for a .folio file for Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite – for publishing to devices like the iPad – both the horizontal and vertical layouts are automatically included.

A Liquid Layout feature assists users in repurposing layouts for different devices in multiple ways. If you choose the object-based Liquid Layout approach or rule, you can pin objects to one or more edges of the page. Then, when you resize the page, the object stays the same distance from the edge of the new page as the original.

Most of the high-profile improvements to InDesign are aimed at repurposing content. The clever new Content Collector, Content Conveyor and Content Placer tools work together to help you collect items for repurposing, multiple re-use and efficient placement.

Adobe has improved the output quality for ePub-based readers and streamlined features for creating ePub-ready documents. For example, you can now paste or place interactive HTML content into an InDesign layout and when you export the document to HTML, ePub 3 or .folio format, the interactivity remains.

Because Flash is clearly on its way out for these kinds of projects, Adobe encourages you to use Adobe Edge beta to create animations in HTML 5 format for your website. You can then embed that web page into your ePub file, though you can’t yet place Edge code into InDesign directly. It’s even possible to build your own HTML content in InDesign, which now supports including multiple CSS files and JavaScripts.

In previous versions of the Creative Suite, you had to use Adobe Acrobat to add interactive form elements to a PDF file. In InDesign CS6, you can now create most the common PDF items as well as buttons for printing, submitting a form by email and clearing the form.

InDesign includes several pre-built fully functional buttons with rollover options or you can convert your own objects into buttons.

We’ve only scratched the surface here. There are also improvements to font, paragraph and text handling, including Primary Text Frames, which allow you to choose one text frame on the Master page that you can fill with text on the document pages, without having to first override that frame.

Macworld Australia’s buying advice.

If you use InDesign to produce digital publications such as ePub or to create digital PDF forms, the CS6 upgrade will easily pay for itself in time saved. Text- handling improvements also make this a must-have upgrade.


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