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Adobe InDesign CC Review

InDesign is a professional desktop publishing (DTP) program used by thousands of graphic designers and businesses.

Adobe InDesign CC Review
(Image: © Adobe)

Our Verdict

You can make just about any type of page layout design in Adobe InDesign CC, but because of its steep learning curve, InDesign is best for professionals and dedicated beginners, not novices.

For

  • Cross-compatible with other Adobe products
  • Hundreds of online video tutorials
  • The choice of the professional

Against

  • Subscription pricing
  • May be too much for small projects

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

You can make just about any type of page layout design in Adobe InDesign CC, but because of its steep learning curve, InDesign is best for professionals and dedicated beginners, not novices.

Pros

  • + Cross-compatible with other Adobe products
  • + Hundreds of online video tutorials
  • + The choice of the professional

Cons

  • - Subscription pricing
  • - May be too much for small projects

Used by professionals the world over, Adobe InDesign CC is the desktop publishing app of choice for magazines, newspapers, book publishers, and anyone who needs to get their designs printed on paper and into the hands of customers as smoothly as possible.

As part of Adobe's Creative Cloud, you can only purchase InDesign CC as a subscription. There are different plans, and each comes with the choice of paying monthly or annually. The cheapest option is the Single App subscription plan, paid annually. If you also want to use Photoshop, Illustrator or other Adobe software, you can select the All Apps subscription plan or subscribe to them individually. Adobe's programs don't come cheap, but they put top-of-the-line programming and graphic design tools to your fingertips, and learning to use them will help kickstart a career in graphic design. It's our current top pick of the best desktop publishing software options.

(Image credit: Adobe Systems)

Adobe InDesign Review: Layout and Publishing

InDesign covers all the bases for page layout. At the click of a button, you can access the master page window, which lets you insert headers, footers and additional pages into your project. This DTP software helps you make aesthetically pleasing documents by keeping your images orderly. For example, it has a guiding system that allows you to resize your images while maintaining their proportional shapes. Additionally, this software has alignment lines to help you place your images and text symmetrically throughout your document.

You can import Photoshop PSD files and Microsoft Word files into this program, which minimizes the time you need to transfer information and increases your editing possibilities. The program also lets you make changes to existing PDF files and even allows you to export InDesign files to PDF.

(Image credit: Adobe Systems)

Adobe InDesign Review: Design, Typography and Templates

InDesign is grouped with Photoshop and Illustrator as part of Adobe's Creative Cloud suite of applications, and they are intended to be used in conjunction with each other. Unfortunately, that means InDesign's photo editing tools are practically non-existent. You can use limited vector graphics tools and basic effects tools for transparencies, gradients, text on a path, 3D effects and quick shapes, but you can't adjust image color or remove blemishes like red eye in your images. Fortunately, you can remove white space from an image, which makes it easier to format when you have wrap-around text. 

With any InDesign subscription, you get access to Adobe Typekit, a living library that houses more than 500 fonts. This publishing software has its own word processor, so you can edit your text to look the way you want within the program. You can also use a spell-checker and fine-tune spacing between letters and words by adjusting kerning and tracking. Using format styles, you can easily repeat the same typographic look on multiple text boxes. In addition, you can create and edit tables in this publisher program; however, you cannot create charts and graphs unless you download more content.

(Image credit: Adobe Systems)

Many other desktop publishers provide clip art and templates. However, Adobe places a dollar amount on these assets. So, even though there are literally millions more assets available through Adobe Stock than through any other desktop publisher, you must pay extra to access them. If you have a large business, this might not be a problem, but for the average user, it can be very expensive.

Adobe InDesign Review: Help and Support

One of the best things about using any Adobe product is the amount of support available to you. There are thousands of online tutorials, both from Adobe and from experienced users, so it's easy to find a video to help you achieve a specific goal. There is also a vast and lively user forum where you can get answers to questions and find hundreds of other users like yourself. Should you need to contact the company, you can do so via telephone or live chat.

Should you buy Adobe InDesign CC?

Adobe InDesign CC is one of the top-rated desktop publishing programs on the market. However, it isn't set up intuitively and the average beginner will find it difficult to use. Still, if you take the time to learn how to use this software, you can quickly create professional-caliber documents, and this is definitely software that you can grow into as your skills evolve.

Ian has been a journalist for 20 years. He's written for magazines and websites on subjects such as video games, technology, PC hardware, popular (and unpopular) science, gardening and astronomy. In his spare time he has a pet tortoise and grows his own vegetables.