Usually after an Adobe MAX event, I’m taking to the blog and complaining about how InDesign didn’t get any new features again… but not this time – oh boy, did Adobe DELIVER? A lot of the features here I thought would have been added over the last 10 years or so, but to be added in one hit would be awesome. So in this article I’ll go through all the cool stuff; and long awaited bug fixes – make sure to read all the way to the end, it’s worth it!
The big guns
- Magic montage, the new AI based feature that takes a collection of images and – with one click of the magic montage button, makes a tasteful montage of the images (or variations) that are great annual reports, school yearbooks etc.
- Magic stock! With this panel, an AI prompt appears and in this prompt, you type your query and the panel will either pull an appropriate image from Adobe Stock or Firefly!
- An actions panel – just like Photoshop or Illustrator!!!
- In addition to Style Packs, there’s now the Magic delocaliser – a feature that turns local bolds, italics and underlines into character styles – all in one click!
- Magic grammar and consistency – Just like the Grammarly app, one click of this button and any grammar issues will be highlighted, along with inconsistencies such as time and date formatting, brand references, etc.
- Magic layout – this feature takes a hard copy scan, and in one click, InDesign’s magic AI will layout the artwork just like it appeared in the scan! This will save prepress staff absolutely ages!
- Magic Merge! Data Merge can now accept Excel files without having to save as csv/txt – take that Affinity Publisher! Not only that, but there’s the ability to merge to single records based on results within the data’s fields – and also a wider variety of formats than just PDF or INDD. During a merge too, it’s possible to toggle layers; conditional text or object states depending on the data – that is HUGE!
- Magic Family trees – take your family tree from a site such as ancestry.com and within moments, you’ll have an accurate pedigree chart that can be put in your family history book.
- Wizards – just like Word, there are now wizards to create wall planners, calendars, planner diaries – just pop in the date and some basic appearance criteria and you’re set! There are also more advanced wizards for parts catalogues, school yearbooks, you name it!
- Magic graphs! Just like Word and Excel, there’s now a feature that’s like their graph wizard. Fans of InDesign will be excited for this, and does it support variable data? You’ll have to KEEP READING to find out!
Heavy lifting for production
- InDesign can once again open Quark files, but can now also open Affinity Publisher AND Scribus files, as well as native PDF and files generated from Adobe Express!
- Find Change now features a dedicated table panel, so that items specifically to do with tables or cells can be selected.
- The preflight panel is now easier to see; and upon providing the report on issues, doesn’t just tell you what the issues are, but also offers an ability to fix them for you too! An example is “this line is too thin – make it thicker? Yes/no” – click Yes and its fixed.
- An option to add a gap between left and right pages has now been added for coil binding support.
- The buttons and forms panel has been fully overhauled to take into account not just new look buttons; but also form options that are identical to what can be made in Adobe Acrobat, including the Acrobat Fill and Sign infrastructure.
- Add comments to an outgoing PDF. Yes we’ve been able to bring PDF comments in, but now when making a PDF, you can now make comments OUT back to your clients or stakeholders, making for more meaningful round-tripping.
- Low resolution images are no longer a problem thanks to Magic upres, a feature that looks at all low-res graphics by effective PPI and upsamples them using the prototype shown at the Sneaks (youtube link)
- Similarly, there’s the option to re-res all images to a given PPI, similar to Zevrix Optimiser – great in this age of images that can be dozens of times larger than they need to be!
- There’s also the ability to toggle a “preflight enforcer” so that a user can’t PDF or print a document until all preflight issues are fixed.
- Magic bleed – FINALLY! Been provided an InDesign file with no bleed; or have an image where there’s just no more image to bleed off? Well, thanks to the new AI based feature, with one click of Magic Bleed, the document will have all bleeds fixed!
- For users concerned with the USA’s Section 508 or Australia’s WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliance, there’s now an accessibility checker (similar to the one that was just added to Adobe Acrobat);
- Magic embellishments – this great new feature is a must for production teams when spot varnishes are required – a dialog appears asking what to make spot varnished, such as only photos, only vectors, only solid areas, combinations of the two, or use the magic brush and the AI will do the rest, working out what needs varnish based on context. This is also great for foils and embosses.
- But that’s not all – KEEP READING!
All the, small things
- Two small – but gladly added features to the find/change dialog have been added. A “Clear dialog” button has been added so that a new search can be made without having to clear all parts of the dialog box. The other feature is any text that is being typed into the dialog will be highlighted in the document – perfect for finding out ahead of time if the search was too greedy; or not greedy enough.
- The print dialog box now has an “add page border” in the crops and bleed section – a great addition for people providing hard copy proofs which will now show the page edge.
- Time tracking – stored as metadata that can be accessed by this tip so that you can determine just how many billable hours were spent on specific artwork.
- Tables can now be sorted – it’s a small thing, but my goodness is this handy!
- Looks like they’ve done a 180 on previous claims, as Type 1 fonts can be used again, along with a certain brand of trademarked colours which the print industry has used for years! This is welcomed by everyone I can assure you.
- InDesign’s add QR Code option has been brought into line with Adobe Acrobat and can now take one of three forms – rectangles; rounded rectangles or circles. This can also be taken in through data merge, as well as the ability to choose coloured QR code options – say goodbye to Black and White boring QR Codes data merge!
- For those who’ve heard of the “make it better key”, it’s now easy to do less greedy selects with the black arrow tool and the control key – it’s just like Freehand used to do, and what Esko and Enfocus plug-ins bring to Illustrator and Acrobat respectively.
- Had enough – well we’re not done yet – KEEP READING!
The team have also been busy going through the InDesign Uservoice and taking care of many of the pesky issues us users have had for a while now, some over ten years old, such as:
- Option to split table rows across pages – there’s over 800 people on the uservoice who are going to be STOKED now this has been addressed.
- MathML support – no longer will those in higher education have to resort to Microsoft Word’s equation editor to make equations – over 600 voices on uservoice will be chuffed at this!
- Make text variable/live captions breakable like normal text – the near 500 requests on the uservoice will be pleased to hear that their carefully curated tagging of images can now be imported properly into InDesign without all being squashed onto one line.
- Tables can now have rounded corners! YESS!!!!!
- Hover scrolling is now a choice that can be toggled on or off in the user preferences – trackball users everywhere will sing the praises on this one!
- The pesky text wrap bug on anchored objects has been fixed, and anchored objects can now be assigned above or below not just the text they’re nearby; but also onto their own layer!
- Can you take any more good stuff? KEEP READING!
Everything I’ve said in this post I’ve completely made up!
Yes it’s true – everything I’ve written in this post has NOT been added to InDesign 2024. For full disclosure, here is the full list of new features:
- Auto Style multiple text frames, create and manage Style Packs
- Search text and customize analytics in published documents
- File name suffix in JPEG and PNG exports
- Hide spreads
- Harfbuzz as the default shaping engine under World Ready Composer
That’s it – no magic montage, magic grammar, accessibility checker, or the bug fixes I’ve mentioned above – none of that was done. Only the five bullet points above this paragraph.
So what’s with this article?
For a second, imagine that everything in this article HAD been added to InDesign – wouldn’t that be cool? Wouldn’t that be the kind of stuff we’d want to see and would take advantage of Adobe’s Firefly model just like Photoshop and Illustrator did in the 2024 release? How many other InDesign users are tired of seeing their software just existing, rather than thriving?
With this article, I felt that taking a tongue-in-cheek approach was the better way of highlighting that – even InDesign – is deserving of features that may be possible using a combination of Adobe Firefly, and cracking the whip with long-standing issues in the InDesign Uservoice.
This style of article is a one-off and Colecandoo will return to its usual format in the next post.