Adobe CS6 Design Standard review

£1238
Price when reviewed

We’ve already taken an in-depth look at the improvements to Photoshop in CS6, so we were keen to see what changes have been made to the other two main elements of the Design Standard package.

InDesign CS6

Alongside Photoshop, the centrepiece of CS6 Design Standard is InDesign. It made its name through commercial print, but nowadays digital publishing is almost as important. InDesign’s PDF output – and the tie-in with Acrobat X Pro – remains a major strength for both paper and electronic delivery. New capabilities include the ability to preview and export greyscale PDFs (handy when reworking colour print) and create interactive PDF forms from scratch.

PDF capabilities remain key, but the future of publishing lies in app-based delivery to handheld devices. Here, InDesign provides integration with Adobe’s online Digital Publishing Suite (a separate purchase) through the ability to output publications as folio files. It’s a workflow that’s still finding its feet, but the ability to preview folios on the desktop as well as on devices is a big step forward.

Adobe InDesign CS6

Significantly, InDesign CS6 recognises that digital publishing requires designers to produce versions of a publication for different screen sizes. To tackle this paradigm shift, new “liquid page rules” let you specify how layouts adapt. Pages can be set to scale or re-centre to the new screen size and shape, or you can use guides or individually control how objects respond. Using the Page tool you can preview how liquid page layouts adapt to common screen sizes, provided as presets, or to any size simply by dragging on the page edge.

Liquid page rules are great, but for the key screen targets you’ll want full hands-on control. This can be achieved by creating dedicated alternative layouts – say, for the iPad, in both vertical and horizontal orientations. During creation you can link or unlink stories and styles and, once created, alternative layouts are handled as separate columns within the Pages panel.

Alternative layouts prove useful for traditional workflows too – say, for producing multiple sizes of an advert or simply for trying out multiple versions of a design (as QuarkXPress users have long known). To make such handling more efficient and also available between publications, InDesign CS6 provides Content Collector tools to pick up and place content, and a Content Conveyer panel where items can be held and linkage and styles controlled.

Adobe InDesign CS6

InDesign CS6 has something to offer all users, but it comes into its own for large publishing houses trying to tap into the digital market.

Details

Software subcategory Graphics/design software

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