Paul Diamond Blow's Huggy Talk
Tips, tricks, and advice for graphic designers.

Indesign CS3: a terrific page layout program!
Adobe Indesign CS3 is the best page professional page layout program available, and a "must have" for any graphic arts professional.

by Paul Ace Diamond "Huggy" Blow

Adobe's Indesign CS3 is a professional page layout program which has become the favorite such program among graphic arts professionals worldwide. Indesign is used to create layouts for books, pamphlets, CD covers, advertisements, magazines, postcards, posters, flyers... you name it, it can be created with Indesign. Indesign CS3 comes bundled with the Adobe Creative Suite (which also includes Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat), but can also be purchased separately.

I have been using Indesign CS3 for years now at my job where I do graphic arts and page layout work for a major book publisher (on Macintosh computers). Quark Xpress was the program we used in the "old days," but nowadays 99% of the work is done with Indesign, as it has become the superior page layout program. I personally made the switch from Quark to Indesign after the Indesign CS3 upgrade, which was a major improvement over earlier versions of Indesign. I also have Indesign CS3 on my PC computer at home, and files created on a Mac can be opened on a PC, and vice versa.

My personal favorite improvement which came with Indesign CS3 is the ability to import multiple image files at a time. In earlier versions you had to import and place images one at a time, but with CS3 you can load multiple image files with the "import" command and plop them one by one into your Indesign layout. This saves me a lot of time at my job, since most of my company's books are comic book related and contain a lot of images.

Speaking of images, Indesign works very well with Adobe's Photoshop program. You can open and edit an image file that is in your Indesign layout by selecting the image in your Indesign file and clicking on the "edit" button in the "links" pallette. This opens the file in Photoshop where you can do your editing work. You can import many types of iamge files into Indesign: TIFF files, EPS files, PSD (native Photoshop) files, jpegs, gifs, etc., although for professional print purposes it is best to stick with TIFF, EPS or PSD files.

Another very handy feature of Indesign is the ability to export PDF files straight from the program. Indesign includes many PDF presets you can use, including presets for low-res eBook PDFs as well as high-res press quality PDFs which you can send to a professional printer. Most professional printers these days ask for PDF files to print from, so this is a very handy feature, and is very easy to use.

The latest version of Indesign is the CS5 version, but I still use CS3 for most of my work since it is simpler and faster than the CS5 version, which seems to be loaded with all sorts of bells and whistles that slow down the program and in my opinion is NOT an improvement over the CS3 version. One biggest pet peeve with the CS5 upgrade is that the loading and placing of multiple image files (my favorite Indesign feature) does not work as well with the CS5 version.

All in all, Adobe's Indesign program is the best page layout program available today, and if you do professional graphic arts work it is a program you should definitely have in your arsenal.

Author Paul Diamond Blow works as a production artist for a major book publisher with over ten years experience in the field. He is a Photoshop wizard, an Indesign samuri, and a sweetheart of a guy..