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Product: InDesign 2.0
Company: Adobe
Estimated Street Price:
Review By: Julien Jay

Graphic User Interface

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Features
3: Advanced Features


   The first new feature of InDesign 2.0 that everyone will notice is the new streamlined user interface. Adobe engineers have seriously worked on the usability of it making it friendlier than the first versions. Like most Adobe software InDesign 2.0’s interface consists of a main toolbox and a deluge of dockable palettes. That means if you know, like many prepress professionals, how to use PhotoShop or Illustrator, you’re ready, then, to use InDesign. Totally integrated to the Adobe family, InDesign 2.0 uses the same common Adobe tools used in other Adobe software like the eyedropper, pen, pencil, smooth, erase, type, type on a path, hand, zoom, free transform & gradient tools, etc.

Adobe InDesign 2.0 Graphic User Interface (click to enlarge)

New Features

   The most important new feature of Adobe InDesign 2.0 is the direct and native support for transparency. For the first time ever you can create drop shadows, apply feathering or create any other transparency effects of your own in page layout software. If with previous versions of InDesign or competing software you were forced to create transparency effect within image editing software, those times are gone thanks to the extreme convenience of having transparency features built in InDesign 2.0. Thus almost any object has a transparency setting that let you adjust the opacity slider. Blending modes are also present in InDesign 2.0: thus you can control how the colors of an object interact with other adjacent objects. All of the relevant PhotoShop blending options are included in InDesign 2.0 that is to say: Multiply, Screen, Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Color Dodge, Color Burn, Darken, Lighten, Difference, Exclusion, Hue, Saturation, Color and Luminostiry. Combined to transparency settings the blending features let you create impressive visual effects in just a few mouse clicks. In addition, InDesign 2.0 now supports transparent Photoshop files: the software can import those files natively by preserving transparent background and soft edges: a real premiere! 

Adobe InDesign 2.0 New Transparency Feature (click to enlarge)

A daunting but unavoidable task for many page designers consists of creating tables. Publications like financial magazines, internal bulletins, annual reports and comparison sheets require the use of tables. Adobe engineers have dramatically streamlined the tables support with InDesign 2.0. Creating a new table works à la Word: you just have to tell the software how many rows and columns you want and the table is automatically drawn. InDesign 2.0 can naturally import tables from Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel as well as from XML or RTF sources. Once your table is designed you will certainly have to refine it. This can be done by dragging column edges to adjust column widths. Each table cell can contain text, inline graphics, inline text frames or other tables. For advanced tweaking you can numerically define the row height & column width so it exactly matches your requirements. The borders can be customized: you can change the line weight, type, color, tint and overprint settings. InDesign 2.0 lets you accurately control the strokes between rows and columns, the way you want. Of course you can apply color fills to alternating rows or columns with precise control over the pattern you set up. An interesting feature for those of you that plan to create multiple page documents is the ability of InDesign to lay out a single tab over several pages or across multiple locations. InDesign 2.0 lets you flow a table across multiple linked text frames: any time you update one part of the table, the other parts are automatically adjusted to handle the new information. 

Adobe InDesign 2.0 Table Settings (click to enlarge)

A small but neat feature of InDesign 2.0 has appeared at the bottom of the toolbox. You can click the Preview mode icon to get a quick blurb of what your composition looks like in its final state without the grids, guides, printer’s marks, etc.  

If you plan to distribute your InDesign 2.0 creation as a PDF or HTML file, InDesign 2.0 now lets you create hyperlinks. The hyperlinks palette will help you transform selected text, text frames and graphics frames into a hot spot where reader will click to get to a new destination. The destination can be a text anchor, a document page, or –of course- an internet URL. InDesign 2.0 gives you total control over the look of the hyperlink since you can specify the color, line thickness, and line style. You can even choose a highlight effect (like Invert, Outline, Inset). 

Adobe InDesign 2.0 Hyperlink Creation Dialog Box (click to enlarge)

InDesign 2.0 exporting features have been slightly enhanced. First InDesign 2.0 now lets you export individual text and graphics objects or entire pages as SVG graphics. Plus Adobe InDesign 2.0 can export any document as an Acrobat 5.0 PDF file. To ease the PDF exporting process, InDesign 2.0 includes four presets. These presets include eBook for creating PDF file for on-screen viewing, a screen for preparing compact PDF files for the web or email, print for producing PDF file for output on desktop printers and press for optimizing PDF files for high-end professional output. Other enhancements let you export nonprinting objects, visible guides and grids to Adobe PDF files.

Adobe InDesign 2.0 PDF Exporting Options (click to enlarge)

Support For OpenType Fonts

   Before our numeric area, choosing a font was the most important task a printer has to do, in order to ensure the readability of its document. Nowadays, choosing a font has become absolutely banal. The Internet has become an inexhaustible resource for finding attractive and nice fonts. Adobe InDesign 2.0 now comes with improved support for OpenType fonts. Developed jointly by Adobe and Microsoft, this new standard delivers a wide range of benefits for designers, production artists and print professionals. First of all OpenType offers complete cross-platform compatibility: the same file works under Macintosh or Windows. An OpenType font can contain more than 65000 glyphs against only 256 glyphs for Type 1 or TrueType fonts. Finally OpenType fonts provide better language support due to the fact they are based on Unicode. The use of Unicode, an international two-byte character encoding process, makes OpenType fonts cover most of the worlds’ languages. The improved OpenType support of InDesign 2.0 consists of built-in options for specifying advanced typographical settings like glyph substitution. Adobe InDesign 2.0 includes a limited set of free OpenType fonts: Adobe Garamond Pro, Adobe Caslon Pro, Caflisch Script Pro, Kozuka Mincho & Kozuka Gothic.

Adobe InDesign 2.0 Glyphs Palette (click to enlarge)

« Introduction Advanced Features »


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