Author and Macintosh technical expert George M Engel kicks the tires and shares his joy in the latest DTP program, InDesign from Adobe. . .
Adobe InDesign CS2
A review by George Engel
As some of you may know, I was weaned on Aldus PageMaker (1.x) when it first came out for the Macintosh. I mean the REAL Early Macintosh! With a 400k internal floppy drive. Before there was a 400k external floppy drive. Yeah folks, like about the same time that Noah landed his Ark on Mt. Ararat. I know a few others that still remember putting in the System Floppy disk, then ejecting the System disk and putting in the PageMaker disk, then putting in the System disk, etc., for about five or six sequences that started PageMaker going. After that, it was the occasional swapping again. Boy, were we happy when the 400k external Floppy was invented for the Mac! To this day, my right arm is still stronger than my left , due to all that disk swapping.
Anyway, what I'm getting at is that I'm a die-hard PageMaker user from the get-go. I found the original InDesign a little difficult to get used to. The Menu's were different, the text box thing was definitely NOT intuitive, and just an all around pain in the tush to get used to. So I went back to PageMaker.
Now with 'InDesign CS2,' (CS stands for Creative Suite, by the way) I found out that the PageMaker-style Tool bar is now standard issue in InDesign CS2. That made the transition a lot easier for me. Mentally, anyway.
To install InDesign CS2, you'll need a minimum 320 MB (I recommend 768 MB) System running either a G3, G4 or G5 Mac running OS X, vers, 10.2.8 or higher, or a Pentium 3 or 4 (or equivalent AMD processor) PC. You also have to have a minimum 850 MB or so of free install space on your Hard Drive, as well as an Internet or Phone connection, used to activate your software.
You cannot run the software without connecting to ADOBE software to 'activate' the product. That's Adobe's answer to pirate copies that may be out there. It's not a big deal to do, but you do need that connection. Another thing you should be running is at least a 1,024 x 768 screen display, running a 24-bit video card. Make sure that you have QuickTime 6 loaded. Without it, you won't be able to place movies or sound within InDesign documents. You can download Quicktime from Apple's website, it's free.
Adobe also gives you a number of fonts (or font faces to be specific) to be installed into your System folder. They tell you where they go, so be sure to read all the 'readme's' and pdf 's that come with the CD's.
Some of the included Open Type fonts are: Adobe Caslon® Pro, Adobe Garamond® Pro, Adobe Jenson® Pro, Caflisch Script® Pro, Letter Gothic Std., Lithos® Pro, Myriad® Pro Condensed, Poplar® Std., Trajan® Pro, and a number of Japanese fonts. These fonts come in CD Disk 2 in the Goodies folder. Make sure you install them, because they're a great plus for your work.
Speaking of fonts, you'll enjoy looking at the Font Menu, because all the fonts are in WYSIWYG. Especially if you have hundreds of fonts. That's a nice touch. (Except, this feature does seriously slows the loading of fonts, even on the fastest Mac.
InDesign CS2 is also backwards-compatible with the earlier version, InDesign CS, as long as you install the downloadable InDesign CS 3.0.1 April 2005 update file into the CS program files. Then, instead of doing a 'Save as,' you have to save your InDesign CS2 work file as a File>Export> then choosing 'In- Design Interchange' from the 'file type' dialog box. It's too easy to miss that one, if you don't know it's there.
When you install InDesign CS2, you also install the new Adobe Bridge. That's their new answer to the old File Browser, and it could take a small book to go over all the great things that the 'Bridge' application does. Needless to say, it's a great file browsing, file interchange kind of program that allows you to portal files between all the Adobe programs and all your picture folders, like a hub.
The reason I bring this up is because a new feature in CS2 is called 'Snippets.' You save a snippet by just selecting an object, or group of objects, and dragging it into the Adobe Bridge, to the desktop, or into a folder. In my case, the above 'Adobe InDesign CS2' 'header banner' that I use frequently is something that I'd like to save by itself, and when I do another software review, just pull it up and paste in the header position.
All I'd have to do then is just retype the new software name and it's done. No choosing the font name, font size, positioning, color background, etc. None of that. Just choose it from the Adobe Bridge folder and paste it in. Just an old 'drag and drop,' that I've learned to love in writing my articles.
As to text, I've always loved using Word Perfect. Their Spell Checker and Grammar Checker was excellent, with their little squiggly lines that told you what words needed checking. Then MS Word copied that. Well, now Adobe InDesign CS2 is using that feature, and they've enhanced it as well. It does the squiggly lines, like Word, and also does auto-correction as you type. Make sure that you 'enable' all these features, as well as the 'drag and drop' feature in your Edit>Preferences>Text dialog box. InDesign CS2 also comes with about 35 different language Dictionaries as a standard feature, and that's counting the USA Legal and USA Medical dictionaries.
For you technophiles out there, some other features are Tracking or Kerning to 1/1000ths of an Em. As an example, in a 10 point font, one em is 10 points. In a six point font, an em is six points. InDesign CS2 also has 'Open Type' font support. During the install, some Open Type fonts were installed, one of which is Garamond Premier Pro, which is the font I selected for this review. I exported this review as a PDF file and chose to have the fonts embedded in the file itself, so you see the font face on your computer or printer, even if you don't have the font yourself.
Don't forget to check out my review of Adobe InDesign CS2 Classroom Books
About the author: George Engel has been a computer guru probably longer than he will admit -- as a computer expert, he authored The Naked Serviceman book, about his journey through the history of Apple's Macintosh as owner/founder of an authorized Apple Service Center. He owned one of the first Apple II computers as well as one of the first Macintosh 128s. He hangs out with the Lakeland User Group in sunny Florida.
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