InDesign 1.5- All in Favor
by Tatyana Sinioukov
However slowly, book manufacturers are getting ready to embrace Adobe InDesign 1.5, a wisely priced and vastly improved upgrade to 1.0
Adobe InDesign 1.5, the recently released upgrade to Adobe's professional page layout and design program InDesign 1.0, offers several features that enhance its PDF workflow and integration with other Adobe products.
Like its previous version, InDesign 1.5 can be integrated with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator files; InDesign 1.5 also opens QuarkXPress and Adobe PageMaker files directly. A reported over 70 new or improved features include design tools (some are standard in other Adobe products) like the eyedropper, free transform and smooth paths, and docking palettes. In 1.5, it is now possible to wrap text around any imported EPS, PDF or image file; undo multiple steps; customize keyboard shortcuts, use the toolbox layout, and even define which plug-ins are running.
It gets better
"There are things that we've done to enhance our support, for instance, of native Photoshop files and native Illustrator files," says David Evans, Adobe's senior InDesign evangelist. Publishers of graphics-heavy books, he continues, would appreciate the support for the new clipping paths and alpha channels in Photoshop files. These new features provide users with the ability to align text to any path and then apply special effects and create clipping paths from the alpha channels.
One of the new typography features that is guaranteed to make book publishers happy, Evans remarks, is the multiline composer. It analyzes the flow of text on the page and causes the line to break much more efficiently and smoothly.
To simplify PDF export, Adobe, says Evans, added in 1.5 the ability to both script PDF output and to define PDF style. "What this means," he explains, "is that if a book publisher had created a certain PDF style that ... they wanted to share with all of their customers, they can define that style and ... give it to their image end-users."
The new version of Adobe Acrobat, 4.05A, he adds, corrects some of the problems with printing InDesign-exported PDF files. "We've done an awful lot between 1.0 and 1.5 to improve our PostScript output," he comments.
In addition to the ability to export PDF files, it's possible to export the so-called prepress files from InDesign. According to Evans, a prepress file is a "very vanilla-flavored version of a PostScript file, completely self-contained," and the recommended format for trapping and imposition. "You don't have to even own InDesign to receive prepress files," Evans stresses.
There's no doubt that the book industry took notice of InDesign, but is there a chance of its rapid adoption?
For one, Adobe, Evans says, "has very realistic expectations. We do not expect the publishing industry to suddenly flip on a switch and change overnight. At the same time, we believe we have a ... powerful set of tools that are not available in any other page layout application."
"Our job is to help communicate those features to book publishers, and, hopefully, when issues come up around InDesign ... we listen and respond to those very, very quickly," Evans adds.
Evans admits that although Adobe extended its expectations of InDesign's success to all areas of publishing arena, it did best in three: magazine and newspaper publishing, and advertising agencies. The expectations that the company did have in the book publishing arena were exceeded. Nevertheless, he says, InDesign "doesn't have built into it some of the things that a book publisher would typically want--the ability to automatically generate table of contents, or automatically generate an index."
"The original market for InDesign is for people who communicate highly graphical information," Evans observes. "but I certainly do think there are a number of really compelling reasons that a book publisher would want to look at InDesign."
The price is nice
The $699 1.5 version started shipping in April. Adobe at first took some heat for initially pricing the upgrade at $99, but then, in what many perceived as an act in the best interest of their customers, Adobe slashed it to $29.95.
Insisting that Adobe is "very, very proud of InDesign 1.5," Evans comments, "I think that our users were disappointed that we did not deliver a bug-fix release prior to working on 1.5."
It's hard to complain about the new upgrade policy: If you purchased InDesign 1.0 after February 13, 2000, you can get the upgrade for the price of shipping only (the upgrade must be the same platform as the previous version). Call 800-833-6687 to order.