Last Updated: July 23, 2021
- Free Trial: Available
- iPad Version: No
- Creative Cloud Library: Yes
- Export: HTML, EPUB, Adobe PDF +
- Text Management: Yes
- Image Editing: Limited
- Syncing with other Adobe apps: Yes
- Languages: 24
Designers, artists, publishers, and marketing experts
- Syncs with other Adobe programs
- Regular updates with new tools
- Impressive text design tools
- Has easy import and organization
- Not beginner-friendly
- Library items won’t always download
- No basic photo-editing features
What Is Adobe InDesign?
Adobe InDesign is a publishing and typesetting software perfect for creating digital content like flyers, brochures, posters, newspapers, presentations, and ebooks.
InDesign is the successor of Adobe PageMaker, which Adobe acquired when it bought the software company Aldus in 1994. By 1998, PageMaker had lost most of its users due to fierce competition. Adobe was forced to step up their game and launched InDesign 1.0 in 1999.
Since then, updates including newer formats, improved layouts, and extra features have made the Adobe InDesign subscription a must for graphic designers and production artists. However, there’s a steep learning curve for those who haven’t seen similar software before.
Adobe InDesign gives you all the tools needed to create beautiful layouts. Let’s dive into the most critical features of this graphic design software.
One of the most prominent parts of InDesign projects is the text. Along with images, it tells the story of a brand or convinces people to purchase a product. With Adobe InDesign, you can:
- Manipulate text: You can align text or wrap it around an object. Adobe Sensei wraps text around the borders of any object/image.
- Fonts: Many fonts are readily available within the software, but users are free to add their own. InDesign even supports OpenType SVG fonts.
- Alternative scripts: You have access to Japanese, Arabic, and Hindy scripts. But you can also use the Glyph panel for glyphs and special characters.
- Columns and paragraphs: Add columns, frames, page breaks, and paragraph returns.
- Drop caps: You can use drop caps to improve the design of the paragraph. You can set borders with customized corners.
- Tables: Tables can be created from scratch or imported from other applications.
Pages & Spreads
What does Adobe InDesign do? It helps designers create beautiful pages and spreads for promotional materials and books. The software gives you an easy overview of the pages designed.
- Master page: This feature lets you put particular objects or texts on multiple pages within a document.
- Add objects: Adding objects on pages such as page numbers, chapters, headers, footers, and sections is quickly done within InDesign.
- Scale objects: The Liquid Layout InDesign feature can scale items on the page. Once everything is in place, they can be locked in.
- Create sections: Create sections on your pages for a clear and easy-to-edit layout.
When creating digital documents like online magazines or ebooks, it’s sometimes necessary to add links to your texts. You can prompt people to visit a website or download a document. Using InDesign for PC or macOS makes it easy for you to add these options.
- Add links: Add links for users to open different websites.
- Create buttons: InDesign also allows for buttons to perform specific actions once the document is exported as EPUB, PDF, or SWF. They can act as hyperlinks and help the users navigate through pages or visit external websites in Adobe InDesign online artwork.
- Bookmarks: This link helps people navigate the document exported as Adobe PDF. Each bookmark can jump to a specified text anchor or page.
- Import links from Microsoft Word: When you import a hyperlink from Microsoft Word, it will automatically inherit the border and the standard blue color.
Sync Settings with Adobe Creative Cloud
You can sync your work with Adobe Creative Cloud across multiple devices. It even works if InDesign gets reinstalled on a new device: all the settings and edits will remain in place.
The ability to create QR codes is one of our favorite InDesign features. Once placed inside the document, the QR code is treated as a traditional ESP object. When hovering the item, it reveals the content details.
Detect and Recover Damaged Documents
Document corruption is sometimes unavoidable. Luckily, the auto-repair mechanisms help you recover corrupted documents with InDesign.
The InDesign workspace is where users can streamline their workflow. There are preset workspaces, but users can also create their own. You can turn on dark mode to improve your working experience.
While testing the software, we noticed that presets from the library sometimes don’t download. To solve this issue, you can use private browsing mode to log in the Creative Cloud or search for downloadable templates in Google.
The toolbox gives you a simple way to edit documents, images, and text by using:
- Selection: Select and activate objects, points, and lines
- Transformation: Resize and reorient objects
- Drawing and type: Create simple objects
- Modification and navigation: Used as rulers and measurement units
Dynamic PDF Documents
You can include interactive art, buttons, movies, bookmarks, page transitions, and sounds. Because many people use InDesign for web design, this feature helps design objects that make the document come alive.
- Animation panel: Apply motion preset
- Direct selection tool and Pen tool: Edit the path in which the object moves
- Timing panel: Change the animation order
- Review panel: View the finished animation
You need motion presets to animate, and you can manage these in the Presets menu in the Animation section of the software.
Pen and Pencil Tools
While the Pen and Pencil tools work similarly to other Adobe software, the difference between Illustrator and InDesign lies in the fact that InDesign is better for multi-page document creation.
This Creative Cloud InDesign feature is the most useful for fast sketching and creating a hand-drawn appearance. These are the pencil tool options:
- Fill new pencil strokes
- Keep selected
- Edit paths
Align and Distribute Object
This feature allows you to move objects in your documents however you like. Adobe Creative Cloud InDesign gives you the option to:
- Copy/paste objects
- Drag objects
- Move objects with your arrow keys
- Move objects by entering values
- Move objects by using XY coordinates
The Align panel is used to distribute and set up the object on the axis and anchor point.
Although the image editing features aren’t as powerful as those on Photoshop, they are still worth mentioning in our Adobe InDesign review. Images are a huge part of this software’s documents, and using the right tools is crucial for a successful result.
You can crop the image to fit the frame. You can add textures and other effects to it with the FX panel.
The transparency effect makes overlapping images stand out. Any edit in the Adobe InDesign Creative Cloud has 100% opacity by default but can be changed to fit your needs.
Remember that regardless of these color blending features, if you need to edit images, your best choice is Photoshop. Adobe InDesign doesn’t have that many options for image editing; it’s more of a layout software.
Color is an essential part of any Creative Cloud InDesign project. You can add color to your designs with the Toolbox, Swatches Panel, Color Panel, Color Picker, and the Control Panel. If you need to sample colors, you can do so from imported graphics, the eyedropper tool, or Photoshop.
InDesign has various options to blend colors in your projects, including darkening, softening, multiplying, overlay, soft/hard light, color dodge, and color burn. You can even locate and replace any color with a few clicks.
This feature lets you instantly publish a digital version of your document without additional software and plug-ins. Published documents can be updated with multimedia and republished at any time. You can share the URL and mobile device users will enjoy a smooth experience while reading.
Export to EPUB and HTML
Adobe Creative Cloud InDesign software can now replace Amazon Kindle Create. When exported to EPUB, it will allow the EPUB reader to optimize the documents to fit them to the display size.
Exporting to HTML will allow you to create web-ready content and control how text and images are exported. It shows all stories, SWF movie files, tables, lists, and other objects. It doesn’t include hyperlinks, XML tags, bookmarks, page transitions, and master page items.
The latest InDesign version also includes native support for high-resolution displays. The edges are sharper, and the colors more vibrant. This will give you increased clarity for text and detailed artwork for a better user experience.
Adobe Exchange Panel
With the Exchange Panel, you can find plug-ins and scripts used in any Adobe product. Another great thing is that you can share products privately.
Adobe InDesign Ease of Use
As soon as we opened InDesign, it became clear that it’s not a program for novice users. Having any prior knowledge of other Adobe programs will benefit you.
Upon opening the software, you’ll be greeted by a blank interface with the option to create a new document. While it’s not very confusing, inexperienced designers might have to spend more time finding the tools they want to use for their desired effect.
We liked the ability to use templates provided by Adobe. For that, you have to purchase Adobe InDesign and be logged in to the Creative Cloud. The templates are vivid, and you’ll have the option to select the presets for print, web, and mobile.
All the necessary tools will be on the panel’s left side. Hovering a mouse over the device will show its name, but there’s no explanation of how it should be used. By reading the features covered in this Adobe InDesign review, you can see why it may take some time to get used to all it has to offer.
Adobe InDesign System Requirements
Adobe InDesign for Windows:
- Processor: Intel Pentium 5 or AMD Athlon 64 processor
- Operating system: Windows 10, 64 bit
- Minimum 4 GB RAM
- 3.6 GB HDD for installation + additional free space
- Monitor: 1024 x 768 resolution
- Video card: 32-bit
- Internet connection necessary for software activation
Adobe InDesign for Mac:
- Processor: Multi-Core Intel
- macOS: 11, 10.15, or 10.14
- Minimum 4 GB RAM
- 3.5 GB HDD for installation + additional free space
- Monitor: 1024 x 768 resolution
- Video card: 32-bit
- GPU: minimum 1024 MB VRAM, must support OpenGL version 4.0 or above
- Internet connection necessary for software activation
Adobe InDesign Price
InDesign offers a 7-days free trial, but you’ll have to provide your email and credit card information. After the seven days, you’ll be charged depending on the package you’ve selected.
- Annual plan, paid monthly: $20.99/month
- Annual plan, prepaid: $239.88/year ($19.99/month)
- Monthly plan: $31.49/month
All packages give access to the latest updates, 100GB of cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Spark. There is a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Adobe InDesign vs. Illustrator
Both InDesign and Illustrator have unique features for certain types of projects. These can be used together to enhance the final product. But what are the differences?
Adobe Illustrator is an industry-leading vector graphics software. You can use this to create artwork that can be scaled to fit any size, including logos, typography, hand lettering, icons, infographics, banners, and charts.
With Adobe InDesign you can create promotional materials, such as flyers, brochures, posters, and pamphlets. It’s not focused on making images like Illustrator is, and the textual sections are essential parts of the designs.
The most significant difference between InDesign and Illustrator is that the artwork created in InDesign can be printed or published online. It’s not made to be scaled and used on various mediums, like artwork from Illustrator.
These two programs may have some overlapping features, but they’re used differently and with a different purpose. Both can create multi-page documents, but InDesign is better for it. If you need an illustration, you can make it in Illustrator first to add it to your InDesign project later.
Adobe InDesign Review – Verdict
Being one of the best multi-page design software, Adobe InDesign is the tool of choice for graphic designers and marketers. Its unique features separate it from other Adobe products, yet it has some overlapping features with Photoshop and Illustrator.
InDesign is not an image editing tool. All photos, logos, and vectors should be designed or edited with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator first before being placed in the InDesign document. But with this software, you can create stunning pages and spreads for books and promotional materials.
Its features may take a while to get used to. Users have also complained that it slows down when more pages are added, which is annoying since it’s supposed to support multi-page formats.
While the Adobe InDesign price may seem expensive to some, we find that it is justified if you’re an experienced user. If you’re a beginner, you can always test the waters using the Adobe InDesign free trial.
Adobe Photoshop is perfect for image editing and photo-based illustrations. InDesign is not an image editing tool but a document editing software. Designers use it to create printable promotional materials, although you can also use it for HTML formats and interactive digital documents.
While this is an advanced designer tool, InDesign isn’t too difficult to wrap your head around. Experienced designers and marketers shouldn’t have any issues in using the features. The software may seem overwhelming to new users, but with a bit of practice, you’ll be good to go. You can read about the features in our Adobe InDesign review.
InDesign offers a 7-days free trial. After that, you can get a paid subscription starting at $20.99/month.
InDesign is available for as low as $20.99/month.