Adobe InDesign

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Adobe InDesign
Adobe InDesign CC icon.svg
Adobe InDesign 2020 on macOS Catalina.png
Adobe InDesign 2020 running on macOS Catalina
Developer(s)Adobe Inc.
Initial releaseAugust 31, 1999 (1999-08-31)
Stable release
CC 2022 (17.0) / October 25, 2021; 37 days ago (2021-10-25)
Written inC++[1]
Operating systemWindows, macOS
Available in24 languages[2]
List of languages
English, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Zulu
TypeDesktop publishing

Adobe InDesign is a desktop publishing and page layout designing software application produced by Adobe Inc. It can be used to create works such as posters, flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, presentations, books and ebooks. InDesign can also publish content suitable for tablet devices in conjunction with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. Graphic designers and production artists are the principal users, creating and laying out periodical publications, posters, and print media. It also supports export to EPUB and SWF formats to create e-books and digital publications, including digital magazines, and content suitable for consumption on tablet computers. In addition, InDesign supports XML, style sheets, and other coding markup, making it suitable for exporting tagged text content for use in other digital and online formats. The Adobe InCopy word processor uses the same formatting engine as InDesign.


InDesign is the successor to Adobe PageMaker, which Adobe acquired by buying Aldus Corporation in late 1994. (Freehand, Aldus's competitor to Adobe Illustrator, was sold to Altsys, the maker of Fontographer.) By 1998 PageMaker had lost much of professional market to the comparatively feature-rich QuarkXPress version 3.3, released in 1992, and version 4.0, released in 1996. In 1999, Quark announced its offer to buy Adobe[3] and to divest the combined company of PageMaker to avoid problems under United States antitrust law. Adobe rebuffed Quark's offer and continued to develop a new desktop publishing application. Aldus had begun developing a successor to PageMaker, which was code-named "Shuksan". Later, Adobe code-named the project "K2", and Adobe released InDesign 1.0 in 1999.

Adobe launched InDesign in the United Kingdom through a series of promotional presentations in hotels. The marketing concentrated on new software architecture—a small central software kernel (about 2Mb) to which add-ons would be bolted as the program's functionality expanded in later versions. However, the Postscript printer driver for InDesign 1.0 was an external app that tended to acquire frequent corruption problems, requiring periodic reinstallation. Copies of InDesign 1.5 were usually given away when it was found that a host of bugs had to be corrected. By InDesign 2.0, the temperamental printer driver was embedded in the main software. The 'kernel' architecture was never mentioned again.

InDesign was the first native Mac OS X desktop publishing (DTP) software. With the third major version, InDesign CS, Adobe increased InDesign's distribution by bundling it with Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Acrobat in Adobe Creative Suite.

InDesign exports documents in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) and supports multiple languages. It was the first DTP application to support Unicode character sets, advanced typography with OpenType fonts, advanced transparency features, layout styles, optical margin alignment, and cross-platform scripting with JavaScript.

Later versions of the software introduced new file formats. To support the new features, especially typographic, introduced with InDesign CS, both the program and its document format are not backward-compatible. Instead, InDesign CS2 introduced the INX (.inx) format, an XML-based document representation, to allow backwards compatibility with future versions. InDesign CS versions updated with the 3.1 April 2005 update can read InDesign CS2-saved files exported to the .inx format. The InDesign Interchange format does not support versions earlier than InDesign CS. With InDesign CS4, Adobe replaced INX with InDesign Markup Language (IDML), another XML-based document representation.[4]

Adobe worked on the provision of a 'Drag and Drop' feature and this became available after 2004 but was restricted to dropping graphics and images, not text. Adobe developed InDesign CS3 (and Creative Suite 3) as universal binary software compatible with native Intel and PowerPC Macs in 2007, two years after the announced 2005 schedule, inconveniencing early adopters of Intel-based Macs. Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen had announced that "Adobe will be first with a complete line of universal applications".[5] The CS2 Mac version had code tightly integrated to the PPC architecture, and not natively compatible with the Intel processors in Apple's new machines, so porting the products to another platform was more difficult than had been anticipated. Adobe developed the CS3 application integrating Macromedia products (2005), rather than recompiling CS2 and simultaneously developing CS3. By this time 'Drag and Drop' of type was made available.

InDesign and Leopard[edit]

InDesign CS3 initially had a serious compatibility issue with Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5), as Adobe stated: "InDesign CS3 may unexpectedly quit when using the Place, Save, Save As or Export commands using either the OS or Adobe dialog boxes. Unfortunately, there are no workarounds for these known issues."[6] Apple fixed this with their OS X 10.5.4 update.[7]

Server version[edit]

Adobe InDesign Server

In October 2005, Adobe released InDesign Server CS2, a modified version of InDesign (without a user interface) for Windows and Macintosh server platforms. It does not provide any editing client; rather, it is for use by developers in creating client–server solutions with the InDesign plug-in technology.[8] In March 2007 Adobe officially announced Adobe InDesign CS3 Server as part of the Adobe InDesign family.

File format[edit]

InDesign document
Filename extension
Internet media type
Open format?no

The MIME type is not official

  • File Open formats: indd, indl, indt, indb, inx, idml, pmd, xqx
  • New File formats: indd, indl, indb
  • File Save As formats: indd, indt
  • Save file format for InCopy:
    1. icma (Assignment file)
    2. icml (Content file, Exported file)
    3. icap (Package for InCopy)
    4. idap (Package for InDesign)
  • File Export formats: pdf, idml, icml, eps, jpg, txt, xml, rtf[9]


InDesign CS5 icon
  • InDesign 1.0 (codenamed Shuksan, then K2): August 31, 1999;
  • InDesign 1.0J (codenamed Hotaka): Japanese support;
  • InDesign 1.5 (codenamed Sherpa): April 2001;
  • InDesign 2.0 (codenamed Annapurna): January 2002 (just days before QuarkXPress 5). First version to support Mac OS X, native transparency and drop shadows;
  • InDesign CS (codenamed Dragontail) and InDesign CS Page Maker Edition (3.0): October 2003;
  • InDesign CS2 (4.0) (codenamed Firedrake): May 2005;
  • InDesign Server (codenamed Bishop): October 2005;
  • InDesign CS3 (5.0) (codenamed Cobalt): April 2007. First version to support Intel-based Macs, regular expression and table styles;
  • InDesign CS3 Server (codenamed Xenon): May 2007;
  • InDesign CS4 (6.0) (codenamed Basil): October 2008;
  • InDesign CS4 Server (codenamed Thyme);
  • InDesign CS5 (7.0) (codenamed Rocket): April 2010;
  • InDesign CS6 (8.0) (codenamed Athos): April 23, 2012; (last 32-bit version, last perpetually licensed version)
  • InDesign CC (9.2) (codenamed Citius): January 15, 2014;
  • InDesign CC 2014 (10) (codenamed Sirius): June 18, 2014;
  • InDesign CC 2014.1 (10.1): October 6, 2014;
  • InDesign CC 2014.2 (10.2): February 11, 2015;
  • InDesign CC 2015 (11.0): June 15, 2015;
  • InDesign CC 2015.1 (11.1): August 11, 2015;
  • InDesign CC 2015.2 (11.2): November 30, 2015;
  • InDesign CC 2015.4 (11.4): June 20, 2016;
  • InDesign CC 2017 (12.0): November 2, 2016;
  • InDesign CC 2017.1 (12.1): April 14, 2017;
  • InDesign CC 2018 (13.0): October 18, 2017;
  • InDesign CC 2018 (13.0.1): November 2017;
  • InDesign CC 2018.1 (13.1): March 2018;
  • InDesign CC 2018.2 (13.2): March 2018;
  • InDesign CC 2019 (14.0.1): November 2018;
  • InDesign CC 2019 (14.0.2): April 2019;
  • InDesign CC 2019 ( September 2019;
  • InDesign CC 2020 (15.0): November 2019;[10]
  • InDesign CC 2020 (15.0.1): December 2019;
  • InDesign CC 2020 (15.1 and 15.1.1 a few days later): June 2020. Introduces “Share for Review” feature enabling nonusers to add comments in a way similar to a PDF.[11]
  • InDesign CC 2020 (16.0): October 2020;
  • InDesign CC 2021 (16.1): January 2021;
  • InDesign CC 2021 (16.2): 19 April 2021;
  • InDesign CC 2021 (16.3)
  • InDesign CC 2021 (16.4): 18 August 2021.

Newer versions can, as a rule, open files created by older versions, but the reverse is not true. Current versions can export the InDesign file as an IDML file (InDesign Markup Language), which can be opened by InDesign versions from CS4 upwards; older versions from CS4 down can export to an INX file (InDesign Interchange format).[12][13]

Internationalization and localization[edit]

InDesign Middle Eastern editions come with special settings for laying out Arabic or Hebrew text. They feature:

  • Text settings: Special settings for laying out Arabic or Hebrew text, such as:
    1. Ability to use Arabic, Persian or Hindi digits;
    2. Use kashidas for letter spacing and full justification;
    3. Ligature option;
    4. Adjust the position of diacritics, such as vowels of the Arabic script;
    5. Justify text in three possible ways: Standard, Arabic, Naskh[further explanation needed];
    6. Option to insert special characters, including Geresh, Gershayim, Maqaf for Hebrew and Kashida for Arabic texts;
    7. Apply standard, Arabic or Hebrew styles for page, paragraph and footnote numbering.
  • Bi-directional text flow: The notion of right-to-left behavior applies to several objects: Story, paragraph, character and table. It allows mixing right-to-left and left-to-right words, paragraphs and stories in a document. It is possible to change the direction of neutral characters (e.g. / or ?) according to the user's keyboard language.[14]
  • Table of contents: Provides a set of table of contents titles, one for each supported language. This table is sorted according to the chosen language. InDesign CS4 Middle Eastern versions allow users to choose the language of the index title and cross-references.
  • Indices: Allows creating of a simple keyword index or a somewhat more detailed index of the information in the text using embedded indexing codes. Unlike more sophisticated programs, InDesign is incapable of inserting character style information as part of an index entry (e.g., when indexing book, journal or movie titles). Indices are limited to four levels (top level and three sub-levels). Like tables of contents, indices can be sorted according to the selected language.
  • Importing and exporting: Can import QuarkXPress files up to version 4.1 (1999), even using Arabic XT, Arabic Phonyx or Hebrew XPressWay fonts, retaining the layout and content. Includes 50 import/export filters, including a Microsoft Word 97-98-2000 import filter and a plain text import filter. Exports IDML files which can be read by QuarkXPress 2017.
  • Reverse layout: Include a reverse layout feature to reverse the layout of a document, when converting a left-to-right document to a right-to-left one or vice versa.
  • Complex script rendering: InDesign supports Unicode character encoding, with Middle East editions supporting complex text layout for Arabic and Hebrew types of complex script. The underlying Arabic and Hebrew support is present in the Western editions of InDesign CS4, CS5, CS5.5 and CS6, but the user interface is not exposed, so it is difficult to access.

User groups[edit]

InDesign has spawned 86 user groups in 36 countries with a total membership of over 51,000.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lextrait, Vincent (January 2010). "The Programming Languages Beacon, v10.0". Retrieved March 14, 2010.
  2. ^ "language versions | Adobe InDesign CS5". Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  3. ^ Marsh, Ann (May 31, 1999). "Pride goeth before destruction". Forbes. Archived from the original on August 28, 2017. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  4. ^ "InDesign developer documentation". Adobe Developer Connection. Adobe Systems. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
  5. ^ San Francisco - Live Coverage of Steve Jobs Keynote 1:00PM EDT, June 6th, 2005, WWDC 2005 - Live Coverage of Keynote, The Mac Observer
  6. ^ "Adobe InDesign CS3 5.0.2 Update Read Me" (PDF). Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  7. ^ Leopard 10.5.4 Fixes InDesign Nav Services Glitches By: Anne-Marinews e, June 30, 2008, InDesignSecrets
  8. ^ "Adobe InDesign Server CS2 Frequently Asked Questions" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 4, 2007. Retrieved April 29, 2007.
  9. ^ "Supported file formats for InDesign CS5". Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  10. ^ Hoang, Wayne (November 4, 2019). "Adobe InDesign 2020". Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  11. ^ "New and enhanced features | Latest release of InDesign". June 29, 2020. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  12. ^ "How do I save my file using InDesign CS6 so that it can be opened with CS5?". January 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  13. ^ "Can You Save/Open CS6 Files on CS5, CS4 or CS3 – and Vice Versa?". February 20, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  14. ^ "Arabic and Hebrew features in InDesign". Adobe InDesign User Guide. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  15. ^ "User Group Chapters". Retrieved February 25, 2011.

External links[edit]