Adobe InDesign 1.5 (continued)

by Dave Nagel
Senior Producer

Text wrapping in InDesign can be shaped with pen tools, allowing for combinations of curves and lines in a wrap.

Text wrap also receives improvements in 1.5. Users can import PDF and EPS files and have the same wrapping functionality as any other graphic format. Text wrapping itself in InDesign 1.5 is point- and path-based, which allows for the addition and manipulation of points for more flexible wrap shapes. Wrapping paths can be stretched and curved over and around the image, allowing text to flow anywhere in relation to the graphic.

Text wraps can also be based on a graphic's embedded alpha channel or path.

In the area of workflow, InDesign offers a host of handy new editorial features, including the automatic creation of jump lines and jump line updating when copy reflows or when pagination changes. Users can also specify column, frame and page breaks for templates by inserting a special character.

Other new workflow features include control over image display resolution, from gray to high-resolution, which can be set universally or on an image by image basis; vertical justification of text within a frame, with controls for space between paragraphs; specification of a zero point for measurements in each individual page in a spread; and an awful lot more.

The back end
Production features have also improved exponentially in 1.5. Users can now define print styles and PDF export styles. Styles store data on the system, so settings are available to any document.

Missing fonts can be identified, even in EPS and PDF files that have been imported into the document. Version 1.5 generates a list of all fonts used and allows for the replacement of fonts across a document and the ability to jump to instances of fonts used.

New options with InDesign's built-in trapping, which allows InDesign to trap abutting colors throughout a document, including imported bitmaps, text and graphics drawn within the InDesign application


Scripting support has been expanded in version 1.5 (Visual Basic or VBA in Windows, AppleScript on the Mac). Scripting can automate processes in InDesign, including batch processing of files, which can automate conversion of InDesign documents to HTML or PDF, for example. The InDesign CD includes a guide to scripting.

Finally, built-in trapping has been added to version 1.5, which users can select instead of Adobe in-RIP (and vice versa). The built-in trapping option allows InDesign to trap abutting colors throughout a document, including imported bitmaps, text and graphics drawn within the InDesign application. Trapping can occur globally or within a page region selected by the user.

Other new features include:

  • The ability to configure plugins, allowing for multiple sets to be created. Disabling plugins decreases the RAM requirement of InDesign (16,000 KB minimum standard, same as InDesign 1.0).
  • Keyboard shortcuts are now available for adjusting tracking and changing character case.
  • Text frames can be filled with placeholder text.

Few disappointments
But it can't be all positive, can it? Well, kind of. While there's nothing lacking in InDesign 1.5 that you can find elsewhere, there did seem to be a few missed opportunities in the program. For one, I had hoped to see a little more control over layers, especially in the area of opacity controls—for overlay effects and the like. I had also expected to see some improvement in Web export, particularly given the volume of print work that's being converted for the Web by every publishing house in America. The built-in Web export functionality still isn't all there. Maybe when version 2 arrives we'll see an InDesign/GoLive Studio bundle with tighter Web integration.

The bottom line
It's an awful lot to offer in a free upgrade. There's no question that InDesign 1.5 is the equal to anything on the market right now—superior in a number of ways. If you're on 1.0, there's no reason not to upgrade. If you're working in another publishing system, it's time to evaluate InDesign as a very viable option, one whose future, based so fundamentally on a plug-in architecture, seems promising in terms of the ease with which Adobe and third parties will be able to deliver added functionality. Final recommendation: strong buy.


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