Review: Adobe InDesign CS5


To jump to specific sections in this review, click any of the following links:
1. Multiple Page Sizes; Span, Split, and Balance Columns
2. Simplified Transformations and Selections
3. The Gap Tool; Gridified Frames and Super Step-and-Repeat; Layers Rebuilt
4. Metadata Captions; Mini Bridge
5. Interactive Documents
6. Workflow and Collaboration; (Not Quite) All The Little Things
7. Buying Advice
Buying Advice
InDesign CS5 is a well-balanced blend of old and new. With it, Adobe answered long-standing wish list items (multiple page sizes), made existing features exponentially more useful (the Layers panel), dramatically improved layout efficiency (simplified transformations), introduced new workflow solutions (track changes and CS Review), and expanded InDesign’s influence beyond the printed page (animation and interactivity). All together, it makes InDesign CS5 a must-have upgrade, especially for anyone who sat out CS4.
As a standalone product, InDesign CS5 retails for $699 ($199 upgrade from CS4, CS3 or CS2) and is included in the Design Premium edition of the Creative Suite along with Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash Professional, Flash Catalyst, Acrobat 9 and Dreamweaver for $1899 ($599 upgrade from Design Premium CS4; $799 upgrade from Design Premium CS3 or CS2). It’s also part of the Creative Suite Master Collection ($2,599 new; $899 upgrade from CS4; $1199 upgrade from CS3), which also includes every product in the Design Premium, Web Premium and Production Premium suite packages.

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Adobe Digital Media Solutions Consultant, Designer, author, podcast host, speaker, instructor, tech nerd, husband, father.
  • Anonymous says:

    With the advent of CS Adobe did a pretty good job implementing little intuitive features that made the use of CS products more efficient (like double clicking a text box to automatically switch the text tool for editing). However, there is one of these features they still haven’t gotten around to that would make my life much easier, namely clicking and dragging text to move it rathr than having to cut and paste every time you want to move a word or phrase within a block of text. Word and many other programs have had this feature for years and it is second nature to me now. How about it Adobe?

  • Anonymous says:

    This can be done by editing your InDesign preferences, under Type > Drag and Drop Text Editing. Click on Enable in Layout View and Enable in Story Editor.

  • Anonymous says:

    Not only “No Split Columns in Table Cells” BUT there is absolutely no improvement to TABLES in general. It’s as if they forgot. It’s such a heavily used feature but yet nothing. I guess it’ll be another 18 months.

  • Anonymous says:

    Excellent review of the new features of InDesign CS5, so often overshadowed by the advances of Photoshop CS5. I also appreciate the video demonstrations, which are brief but very instructive. Good work. Sharon Chester, Wandering Albatross

  • Anonymous says:

    Thorough and informed review of the high points of the new features in InDesign CS5. Very well done, Mike! And good catch on the SWF-in-PDFs problem.

    I guess the one thing I’d want to argue (mildly) is, when you said “Sadly, there’s no preference or option available that auto-enables Track Changes for all new text frames.” That’s a feature that sounds like it’d be great, until you use it, and then you say What was I thinking … LOL

    If that was actually possible, and you enabled it, then anything you added to one of those new text frames would get the “added text” markup. So it’d be useless, really. The whole thing would be one big markup. Try turning it on manually for an empty frame, then fill it with placed or pasted or placeholder text, and look at that in the Story Editor to see what I mean.

    I loved the videos, they really added a lot to the review. A superb job.


  • HawaiiBill says:

    This is by far the best review of any of the CS5 products!

    Thank you Michael Murphy and CreativePro for delivering this enormous work.

    Now I’m going back to finishing it!

    Bill Eger

    An old man, a writer who likes people, living in the middle of the Pacific ocean near volcanoes, in tradewinds and soft bird songs.

  • The InDesigner says:

    I hear you about the lack of table enhancements. It’s one of several features I would have liked to have seen receive some attention in this release. Had Adobe not updated any existing features in this release, and only added new ones, I would have come down harder on that. But when I see things like the new Layers panel and a feature like Multiple Page Sizes (which is new, but something we’ve been begging for version after version), I can’t really fault them for not doing everything we might want.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi!, anyone know how to disable that damn Content Indicator?!
    I keep selecting it! argghh!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Great review! Congrats on a thorough job. I’ve used inDesign since the very very first version as i swore after a ruined experience with Quark tech support I would never ever go back to Quark. Now while I wish Quark would stay competitive to keep this industry from being a monopoly, I sure think this product just continues to get better and better. I look forward to the install…

    My one question is legacy use: Things like multiple page sizes surely won’t be backwards-compatible to CS4, but are there any other issues? Does the ‘save as Cs4’ option exist?

  • The InDesigner says:

    I think Adobe figured some people might not adjust well to the Content Indicator. To disable it, just go to View > Extras > Hide Content Grabber.

  • The InDesigner says:

    If you export a CS5 file with multiple page sizes to IDML format (the only backward-compatible option) and open it in InDesign CS4, the custom-sized pages are converted to the default page size at which the document was created.

  • Anonymous says:

    >>No more grabbing content, you perv!<< :)

  • Anonymous says:

    If your pages are set up as facing (in spreads), PDF (interactive) will not output as single pages, but in spreads.

  • Anonymous says:

    The mentioning of CS4 coming in the middle of a down economy does nothing for those who bought it and now find that CS5 is out. How often does Adobe expect us to shell out those hundreds of $$ for the upgrades?

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree fully with the previous poster. I only upgraded to CS4 last year—approx. 6 months after its launch—now I’m being asked to shell out again? On top of that there will be the inevitable Plug-in upgrade costs. For all the extras, CS4 & CS5 should really be a single upgrade. I think that these ” major” upgrades, which I’m coming to dread, are way too frequent.

  • Anonymous says:

    Please disable this anoying feature!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I know this is long after the review in question. . . but there is an apparent issue with legacy files whereby an export to PDF will “fail” for no reason. This might have something to do with the Background Export feature, but there are no real fixes noted in Adobe’s InDesign Support Forum. This is such a devastating bug that I banished ID CS5 from the Dock and went back to CS4.

    I’d love to know if this ever gets solved.

  • Anonymous says:

    This is really WELL DONE! I just found it while looking for the same article on CS5.5 Hope you’ll do a new one soon!

    Question: How do you do the moving landscape background? Your screen shots says loop, but I’m having a hard time getting it to work. What parameters did you use? THANKS SO MUCH!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    dear all .

    i want to receive daily indesign tips ..on my id [email protected] please help me for that..


    Ankit chaauhan

  • Guest says:

    I think the tables situation seems to have been fixed. And yes…Adobe is a bit behind a bit on the copy and paste.

  • Guest says:

    I really appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank God I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thanks again…

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