Adobe InDesign CS6Adobe InDesign CS6 brings some exciting and dramatic new changes to the design tool, helping publishers and designers think differently about how they create content so they can be more efficient and effective. With new adaptive design tools, content repositories, and a large number of general improvements, InDesign has become a more versatile desktop publishing application that gives you pixel-perfect control over design and typography.

InDesign CS6 lets designers reuse content in different layouts from smartphone to billboard, and a lot more. Use Adaptive Design Tools to easily repurpose layouts to look great on a variety of pages sizes, orientations, or devices. As a staging area for typography, imagery, and graphical content, InDesign CS6 is of course tightly integrated with related Adobe programs such as Illustrator, Acrobat, Photoshop, and Flash Professional. Let’s take a tour of some of the new key new features of InDesign CS6.

Alternate Layout 

With the constant onslaught of new web devices such as iPads, Androids and playbooks etc., all with different screen sizes, resolutions, and aspect ratios, the chore of repositioning content for different page sizes, keeping track of them and maintaining them can become a nightmare. Adobe has finally listened to those tired publishers and designers that struggle to produce layouts that work across multiple channels and devices on very tight deadlines.

Alternate Layout lets you create and design multiple versions of a layout for different devices and print needs, all within a single InDesign file. Where formerly a user might have created a different-sized variation of a layout in a separate document, these pages can now be effectively created and managed within the same document. CS6 has the ability to add groups of different-sized pages to an existing document. Leveraging the concept of sections, InDesign CS6 allows a primary set of layouts to be duplicated into an alternate set of layouts with a different page size under a grouping name. As a result, the Pages panel has been enhanced. It can now show you several versions of a document at once.

Liquid Layout 

Liquid Layouts take the concept of Alternate Layouts a step further. It is intended to help reduce the amount of work it takes to reformat pages, or portions of pages, for different sizes and aspect ratios. Similar to the basic concept of Layout Adjustment in previous versions, Liquid Layouts in InDesign CS6 provide a more robust alternative to help automate the creation of layouts in multiple sizes. Page rules that dictate how page elements move and change as different page aspect ratio affect them can be established?at the master or individual page level to allow?for automatic scaling, re-centering, content fitting, and repagination. These page rules can be applied to automatically adapt content when you create an alternate layout with a different size or orientation in InDesign CS6. Liquid page rules make designing for multiple page sizes and orientations more efficient.

Content Collector 

The Content Collector tool lets users capture content from one layout, page or document and use it in another. It is basically copy and paste on steroids as you get an unlimited number of clipboards! A pop up ‘conveyer’ that appears at the bottom of the screen allows the user to grab multiple pieces of content and repurpose throughout the same or separate documents. You can repurpose single or multiple pieces of content simply by dragging the content out of the conveyer whilst choosing to keep or remove them from the conveyer. By default, a placed item will be removed from the conveyor but there is the option to keep it in the conveyor so that it’s available for any document. The content collector is a fast way to replicate pieces of copy and graphics across multiple layouts and documents.

What’s great about the Content Collector tools is that you can collect multiple items at once and a number will be displayed to indicate the number of items. When you come to place them you can choose to place an individual item or all of them at once and InDesign will remember the relationship between all the elements making it very quick and easy to serialize a design. It’s very easy to see how this new addition could be instantly built into a designer’s workflow, making the tedious task of updating logos and folios across a whole magazine or publication, for example, an absolute breeze.

When you choose either of these tools, a new interface element called the Content Conveyor appears on the screen.

Align Tool

In addition to the enhanced text capabilities, the Align tool has also had a tweak allowing you to choose a key object to use as the anchor and then pick an alignment option. Although these may seem like tiny adjustments, and are footnotes on Adobe’s billing of the new features, it’s little things like this that, when combined, can make a more substantial difference to a daily workload. It also shows that Adobe has listened to designers and their grievances over little things that just don’t work.

Text Frames 

Text frames can now be made to resize automatically to fit the content within them. The auto size tool lets you set a text frame to automatically resize itself based on the amount of text it has, dynamically moving frame edges to fit as you edit the contents. You can specify that the auto-sizing is restricted to Height Only, Width Only, or both. This function could prove useful on documents where live copy is written straight onto the page, and the layout isn’t set in stone, allowing the designer to set the parameters.

Primary Text Frames 

Another powerful new feature for adapting layouts is the ability to designate a Primary Text Frame on each master page. So if you need to apply a different master page to document pages, InDesign can smartly and seamlessly flow the text through the new primary text frame. When you apply a different master page to your layout page, the story in the Primary Text Frame flows into the Primary Text Frame, following its shape and location from the new master page. And you no longer need to override a Primary Text Frame before adding text. This will eliminate a constant source of confusion for newcomers.

Corner Options 

Corner Options allows you to manually adapt both the corner size and shape to Bevel, Inset, Inverse Rounded and Rounded. This can come in very handy when creating web mockups.

Linked Content  

The Linked Content feature was introduced in CS5.5, but taken to a higher level in InDesign CS6. This feature allows you to have “parent” content that is linked to “child” content that can appear in several places in a single document, or spread across several documents. Linked Content establishes and manages a parent and child connection between these elements so that the original source content can be updated once, with the changes reflected in all locations.

PDF Forms Within InDesign 

With CS6, it is possible to create interactive form fields directly within InDesign, making it possible to specify exactly how check boxes and signature fields will look before exporting to PDF.

Recently Used Fonts 

Access fonts you use frequently. Recently used fonts appear at the top of the font list

Gray scale preview 

You can preview a color layout in Gray scale on the screen, and then export to a gray scale PDF right from InDesign.

Split Window  

The Split Window feature lets you see two different views of your layout at once.

InDesign CS6 features a host of incremental improvements that build on the solid foundations that were established by its predecessors.