InDesign CS4 – Smart Guides and Live Preflight

Starting out life with an aggressive name (K2 – Quark Killer) isn’t easy. Right from the start, InDesign had some pretty big shoes to fill from inheriting the PageMaker dynasty to its quest to topple the reigning DTP giant, Quark XPress. Since those early days InDesign has evolved from pretentious upstart into a stable, svelte and seductive player on the main stage of desktop publishing and graphic arts.

Intelligent Smart Guides greatly speed-up the layout process.

Smart Guides greatly speed-up the layout process.

Bearing in mind that I’ve only just started to work with InDesign CS4, I’m impressed with what I’ve seen so far. Two features in particular have jumped to my attention, both taking me by surprise. Smart Guides is a feature that enables live, precision control of page elements during the design process and is extremely useful for producing quick layouts. Smart Guides are not new – Esko (Barco Graphics) incorporated this technology in their linework editor LW Brix (now called Backstage Edit/PackEdge) several years ago, but this is the first implementation I’ve seen in a consumer-level page layout application.

The other feature that immediately caught my eye is the Live Preflight function. InDesign constantly preflights your document on the fly, alerting you to potential problems such as unexpected text overflow and RGB image placement. While this could get annoying when dealing with the default parameters, a little configuration could make this quite useful, especially in a busy design studio environment where several people might be working on the same project.

I’ll be spending a lot more time working in InDesign during the coming weeks, as I’ll be writing a full review for the December issue of Print Action magazine… stay tuned!

Next post: First impressions of Illustrator CS4

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1 Response

  1. Kathy says:

    I’d like to read the full review, please send me a copy when you finish that, thanks!

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