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Adobe CS4 Suite Quick Reviews: Adobe Acrobat 9 and InDesign CS4

written by: Meryl K Evans•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/5/2011

Adobe CS3 has been overhauled. With the introduction of Adobe CS4, web developers are asking, do these applications still function like CS3 or do they offer more?

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    You'll find Adobe Acrobat and Adobe InDesign in most publishing professionals' toolboxes. Acrobat allows them to produce documents that people can view on most platforms and devices. InDesign helps publishers create sleek newsletters and documentation.See Distinguishing Adobe CS4 Packages to find out which Adobe Creative Suite these come in. The suites do save money compared to buying the individual products. Unless you absolutely use nothing else but one product, they're worth considering.

    It sounds like we take the easy way out in not saying which software you should buy or upgrade. But we're not and it would be a disservice to you if we do. These products reach a broad audience. Instead, we list the pros, cons, and upgrade thought for each product. We hope the highlights and lowlights will simplify your decision-making process.

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    Adobe Acrobat 9

    Create, edit and search PDF files.

    What’s new in Adobe Acrobat 9.

    Pros: Improved security using 256-bit encryption (could alone be worth the upgrade), TypeWriter feature “stays on" when moving from one text box or field to another, add and comment on Flash videos and Shockwave animation (movies also play within Acrobat).

    Cons: Some features remain difficult to do even for power users and some great new features only available in pricier versions.

    Upgrade: If you need security features and the new features that come in the more expensive versions of the software, it would be worth the upgrade. Otherwise, you’re likely to do fine with a previous version. Also, check the free acrobat.com as it may meet your basic needs. The interface has no noticeable changes, so users won’t have to adapt to a new way of doing things and instead focus on taking advantage of new and enhanced features.

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    Adobe InDesign CS4

    Design layouts for print and digital publishing. Also known as Quark’s competitor.

    What’s new in Adobe InDesign CS4

    Pros: Interface looks like the rest of the suite. Adds export to XFL interchange file format and Flash (SWF) to produce a Flash movie with an associated HTML file. Beware this isn’t the full-fledged Flash file as those are FLA, so the export won’t have all the capabilities you can get from working with a FLA file. Links panel makes adding hyperlinks is easier and offers more options. Great new additions: Live Preflight for warnings of problems, Conditional Text that you can turn off/on and smart guides for smart object alignment. Integrates Kuler.

    Cons: Needs footnote feature improvements. Exporting to SWF could stand more capabilities since this audience would not likely want to code in Flash.

    Upgrade: Looks worthy of an upgrade, but again it depends on what you use it for, how much, and if you use other applications in the suite.