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InDesign CC 2014: Better e-book tools, easier workflows

Jay J. Nelson | Aug. 1, 2014
InDesign CC boasts improved ePub features, better font menus, and performance enhancements, but offers few truly new features.

Also impressive is InDesign's ability to let you place video and audio animations from Adobe Edge Animate and include them in the exported ePub file. (Publishers who use Adobe Digital Editions can look forward to Fixed Layout ePub export capability this fall.)

Other improvements

With this release, Adobe has addressed a number of pain points for professional designers. For example, moving a row or column in a table is now as simple as pointing, clicking and dragging it to a new location. Color swatches can now be grouped into folders in the Swatches panel, and when using Adobe Kuler to generate a color set from an image or to grab a pre-made set, those new colors are grouped into a new folder in the Swatches panel.

InDesign files can now be instantly shared on Adobe's Behance for community feedback, joining Photoshop and Illustrator in this capability.

The Package feature now includes options to add a PDF and/or IDML version of the InDesign document to the packaged files, streamlining the common practice of including a PDF or IDML file when archiving or sending a project. (IDML stands for InDesign Markup Language and allows previous versions of InDesign to open documents produced by newer versions of InDesign.)

The Search dialogs (text, glyphs, or grep) now include a choice of Direction for the search, which is handy when you accidentally skip a change and need to go backward in your search.

Footnotes can now wrap around images, and all Effects now scale appropriately when you scale an object (formerly, drop shadows on text and feathers on gradients didn't scale).

QR Codes can now be generated automatically during a data merge. When importing a text file, you can declare a QR Code to be generated when a specific field goes into a frame.

Adobe also added a few technical improvements. While the first release of InDesign CC was optimized for Apple's Retina displays, the 2014 release adds optimization for Windows HiDPI displays. Also, when printing to a printer that uses Adobe's PDF Print Engine, InDesign now automatically converts the file to PDF format and sends it to the printer. The Background Tasks window can now be opened by clicking the progress bar in the Control Panel. And continuing Adobe's move away from Flash, developers now use CEP5 (Common Extensibility Platform) to create new panels in InDesign--Adobe uses it themselves to add panels to Creative Cloud apps.

The InDesign CC 2014 app itself does not replace older versions of InDesign CC if one is currently on your hard drive. Instead, that version is left alone and a new folder is created beside it to contain InDesign CC 2014. This is a notable departure from Adobe's policy since releasing CC in June 2013--before this release, the latest version of CC always replaced the previous version. Allowing you to keep the previous version is a welcome change, since it's possible that changes Adobe made to the code in CC 2014 could break some plug-ins and scripts that worked in the previous version. Helpfully, Creative Cloud subscribers can also download the older CC or CS6 versions from the Creative Cloud at any time. (They weigh in at just under 900MB each.)


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