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InDesign Backwards Compatibility in CS5 an MAJOR issue

New Here ,
May 18, 2010 May 18, 2010

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I am a print designer who works in InDesign. I bought CS3 Design Premium in late summer of 2008. Shortly thereafter CS4 came out, but after just having forked out a big chunk of change, I decided against upgrading to CS4 right away. Recently I considered upgrading but then heard CS5 was coming out so I decided to postpone the upgrade and wait for the new software. I've just checked out the trial version of CS5 InDesign and after speaking with Adobe Support have come to the conclusion that I can't upgrade to CS5. Why? BACKWARDS compatibility to CS3. The previously offered export features that supplied a path for backwards compatibility via an .inx file are gone.

I design freelance for a lot of different customers and once the design is complete, I have to deliver the InDesign file along with all associated fonts ad images to my clients. Most of my clients are still on CS3. If I upgrade to CS5 I will instantly not be able to work for 2/3 of my clients, as I will have no means by which to save a file backwards to CS3. I was informed by Adobe support that I would need to buy CS4 and CS5, as I could save my CS5 file in the IDML format and open it in CS4 and then I could save the file from CS4 as an INX file and open that is CS3. ARE THEY INSANE??? First off that requires keeping 3 version of InDesign up and running on my machine all of the time and secondly, why should I have to buy CS4 when I'm paying an additional fee to upgrade to CS5 because I didn't upgrade from CS4? This is so screwed up that it has to be an oversight---please tell me there is a patch in the works!!!

PS- I've never posted to a forum before, so if I have broken any rules of forum etiquette or offended in any way, I offer my apologies now and if I (and the Adobe Support staff I spoke to) have overlooked something, please enlighten me!

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Community Professional , May 19, 2010 May 19, 2010
Just semantics, Cynthia.Retail, commercial. Same thing.Upgrades are exactly the same as their full commercial/retail counterparts except for the price.Adobe also has student and academic pricing.The link I supplied you with is for the Mac CS3 to CS4 Design Premium upgrade and assumes that you have one of the CS3 suites.Bob

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Contributor ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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Beg to disagree... the advancements in technology more than offset increased costs--witness the 'content aware' feature in Photoshop... that more than paid for the upgrade for the whole standard suite for me.

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Engaged ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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Which is why I use Illustrator for 90% of my graphics projects. Now that it handles multiple art boards, it's even better. You can save back all day long (except the multiple pages).

I still need to use ID CS3 for any ID projects that interface with others, particularly with those on CS4 (80% of the freelancers and magazine staff I deal with -the rest are CS3). Easy to give a CS3 file to a CS4 user, and then get an .inx file back. Never had any issues in months of doing this.

Not a huge amount of practical feature differences either between CS3 and CS5, though I do use CS5 for all my inhouse projects that go directly to PDF.

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Enthusiast ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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Bob: I respect your opinions the vast majority of the time but your support of the inability to open an ID at least one version back doesn't make sense. So what if CS5 has 500 new bells and whistles. So does AI and PS and I can open legacy files in either one. If I do a simple text business card with no graphics, anyone should be able to open it in any version of ID. Or at least one version back. If the new revamped AI and PS can open legacy files, certainly ID should be able to. It's clear that this is an option a large number of very vocal ID users would like to have. I grit my teeth every time I have to inx (idml now) a file for someone sitting next to me. It's nice that you think everyone should upgrade their apps every single time Adobe releases a new version. But most of us do business in the real world and that is not an option. I can only justify upgrading every other release. I try to stagger it so one machine is on 4 while the other is on 3. I put CS5 on my iMac and can't put 4 or 5 on my G5 since it's not intel based. So I have to get money together for a new imac and then the CS5 or decommision CS4 on one machine and move to the new imac. It's fiscal reality.

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Contributor ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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$500 for a standard upgrade is only 50 jobs x $10. That's less than inflation in my fiscal opinion.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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Fiscal reality doesn't just exist for us. It exists for Adobe, too.

And here's the reality. What people here are clamoring for is that Adobe should put out new versions, less often with less new features to support people who have no intention of spending money on a new upgrade regardless.

Here's a newsflash for you. The only thing that will create is less new customers, which will mean a)higher prices and b)less innovation and in turn even less new customers.

Sorry, but I stick to my stance here. Adobe needs to pay attention to those willing to spend money and for those who do choose to continually upgrade and wish to work with those who don't, keep the old versions installed and work with those when needed.

With apologies to non-North Americans, the price for the Design Premium upgrade every 18 months remains an absolute bargain. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee everyday you get all new versions of Bridge, Flash Professional, Fireworks, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop Extended and Dreamweaver.

Bob

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Contributor ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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Say hey, buy that man a pint!

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Explorer ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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It's in Adobe's best interest to release upgrades frequently. It's their bread and butter.

For the record, I AM a paying customer. ( I've used Adobe products for the last quarter decade.) So if your argument is that Adobe needs to pay attention to those willing to spend the money, then I have a right to express my opinion on the subject, even if I'm not a "Community Professional".

Here's another newsflash: The addition of this one requested feature would not affect the price of or frequency of upgrades, but it might mean that Adobe would need to pull resources away from less deserving (in my opinion) features such as the 3d feature in Photoshop (which is crap).

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Contributor ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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Illustrator's not the brightest light on the street for doing heavy-text docs, newsletters, etc.

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Engaged ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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Illustrator's not the brightest light on the street for doing heavy-text docs, newsletters, etc.

Well, we produce some of the most text and graphics intensive major brand pet food packaging you'll ever see and AI is the program of choice in my field, for designers and printers.

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Contributor ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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Some people prefer to do things the hard way, but like with upgrading your Adobe suites, that's your choice.

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Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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This has been a most interesting and heated discussion and it is certainly not the first time that the issue of backsaving InDesign documents has come up. It has been an issue from the earliest InDesign versions to the present. Although I am not directly part of the InDesign organization, but I am both a computer scientist and an Adobe employee, I'd like to give some perspective to this issue:

As some contributors to this thread has indicated, there are major technical difficulties in terms of backsaving when using features that don't exist in the previous version. Examples:

  • Use of the multiple page size feature of InDesign 7. What exactly should be done when backsaving to any previous version of InDesign, none of which support multiple page sizes? Convert the document into a book with multiple InDesign documents? And what if it is already part of a book? And what happens to existing internal relationships? And if you then re-open the document in InDesign 7, don't expect a single document with multiple page sizes.

  • Use of the column-spanning paragraph attribute of InDesign 7. How do you deconstruct a layout that uses this feature? Yes, it can be done but you might not like the results in terms of a hodge-podge of text frames that don't lend themselves to nice, clean text reflow. And again, such deconstructed content won't automatically go back to column-spanning paragraphs if opened in InDesign 7.

  • And if you think this is difficult, supporting multiple versions of backsaving is even more difficult because you may very well end up having to do multiple levels of content/formatting deconstruction to match the capabilities of a much earlier release.

In fact, this is not really a matter of whether backsaving could be implemented technically – some form of backsaving could conceivably be done going all the way back to InDesign 1.0, but rather issues of (1) what compromises would need to be made in the resultant backsaved documents (per examples above) and to what degree users would find such necessary compromises acceptable in real world use – you would not be able to losslessly “round trip” an InDesign document to an earlier version and back, (2) the cost in terms of development time and engineering resource to spec out how backsaving would work, implementation of such a specification, and extensively testing such an implementation with a wide range of graphically complex documents, and (3) the tradeoffs of (1) and (2) versus new features requested by our user base. In other words, backsaving is “doable” but it is exceptionally expensive and time-consuming to implement and even then would yield marginal benefits.

Prior to the implementation phase of each release of InDesign, members of the InDesign organization do consult with major users of the product querying as to their requirements in terms of features as well as a ranking of Adobe-proposed new features. For better or for worse, the major users of InDesign have never made a backsaving feature a real priority for Adobe. If this was an identified big issue for these customers and they were willing to accept the lack of lossless round-tripping, you would have seen support for backsaving (beyond one version and natively, not .inx) implemented.

Contrary to what some of you may think, there is no “conspiracy” here to force upgrades by not providing full backsave functionality, but rather, a honest effort to try to meet the customer-identified most important and reliably-implementable features.

          - Dov

- Dov Isaacs, former Adobe Principal Scientist (April 30, 1990 - May 30, 2021)

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Enthusiast ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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Dov:

Thanks for the reply.

This has been a most interesting and heated discussion and it is certainly not the first time that the issue of backsaving InDesign documents has come up

Wouldn't that statement alone indicate that the need and desire is there to see the feature? While I understand about the new features, it is frustrating not to be able to open a file that is straight text like a lot of business cards, letterheads and invites are in an older version of ID. I can understand you can't go back to CS1 but one version back shouldn't be a big deal. I understand the compromises involved but if nothing else, this thread seems to indicate a demand for a simple backsave at least one generation. Just that one feature alone would help people who can only justify upgrading every other generation. My other caveat is that a lot of experts like Bob Levine and Sandee Cohen make their living touting and teaching others how to implement all these new features in ID. They have a vested, if benign, interest in promoting the new over the old. And before Bob or Sandee take offense that I'm implying an evil ulterior motive, I have purchased several of Sandee's book and am currently awaiting her new one on creating interactive content with indesign (just got an email yesterday that it should ship soon). I also have Scott Citron's book and Michael Murphy's. Heard them all speak at NYC user group several times though not in the last year.I try to stay on top of ID as best I can. Doesn't mean I can upgrade every cycle though.

I'll be very curious after this extremely long and heated thread to see if CS6 will allow save back one generation. Clearly there are a fair number of people who wouldn't mind seeing the feature. I could work around it but would love to be able to save back one generation.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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You're not asking to save back one generation -- you can already do that -- you are asking for two generations. That's a really big jump in feature sets.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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And no, this discussion is NOT any kind of indication of how much it's needed or wanted. If anything it's an indication of how little it's needed or wanted. Go back through this entire thread and count the number of people complaining.

It's miniscule when compared to the installed user base.

Bob

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Enthusiast ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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It's miniscule when compared to the installed user base.

You can say that about any feature. I think backsaving is one of those things you think you really need until something more important supercedes it. Sort of like healthcare. But then the election comes and its about your job, holding on to the house, and healthcare slides down and down. Backsaving strikes me as the same thing. I think it should be implemented but if you presented me with a list of the 10 features I need most to make money with ID, backsaving may not make the cut. Since I'm not involved in the testing of updates I have no idea what Adobe is seeking.

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Explorer ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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I'm sure if you count all the people who comment in any of the discussions it's minuscule compared to the entire user base, but that just means that most people using Adobe product don't post in these forums.

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Engaged ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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I'm sure if you count all the people who comment in any of the discussions it's minuscule compared to the entire user base, but that just means that most people using Adobe product don't post in these forums.

Exactly, it's a few, mostly hard-core users who take the time to post. Most people just take the path of least resistance and don't bother.

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Contributor ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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Well put Dov...

Some of the forum contributors claim to have programming experience, when in fact, they only are knowledgeable in a very limited set of programming tools (i.e., html, etc.)

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Explorer ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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Everyone's knowledge is limited Peter, and I never claimed to have experience in coding C++ or anything, so it's weird that you continue to go on about it. The main point was that none of the people commenting in the thread (including myself) are on the programming team for InDesign, so we can't be sure what is too difficult to program and what is not, or what Adobe's reasoning was in leaving out this feature.

It seems to me that both you and Bob act like you are official spokespersons for Adobe, and want to have to final word on what is the correct way to think on this issue.

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Contributor ,
Feb 22, 2011 Feb 22, 2011

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I only 'went on about it' because you yourself questioned my background. No, I'm not a spokesman for Adobe; only for my own experiences with good (and bad) software and how good software evolves with blood, tears, tons of money and a dedicated audience thirsty for newer, faster & better tools. It's a free country... what works is true for me... or you.

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Enthusiast ,
Feb 23, 2011 Feb 23, 2011

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Let me ask this: is there any other missing feature that there is a thread this long and this passionate? I don't think there is. As for telling us we must upgrade every time, from what I've read online CS4 didn't sell as well as expected and neither is CS5. Which is probably how the rumors of Microsoft possibly buying Adobe began. Fiscal reality is one of those things that trumps new features every time.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 23, 2011 Feb 23, 2011

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You keep saying you're being told you must upgrade every time. I don't think anyone has said that. What's been said is that IF you want to skip a version, don't work in the new version and expect to be able to backsave to your previous version two generations back. If you need your files to be in CS3 when you're done, they should start and remain in CS3 throughout the project. Backsaving, even one version, is not a good way to work.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 23, 2011 Feb 23, 2011

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And once again...the bottom line of this debate is the those arguing for this want Adobe to sacrifice new features to support people who don't upgrade.

That's a business model that will never fly.

And nobody's telling you that you must upgrade. My advice is and has been to upgrade every version the very day it's released and to budget accordingly for it. I challenge anyone to find a bigger software bargain than $599 for the Design Premium upgrade every 18 months. That's somewhere around $0.91/day.

If you can't afford that, you may be in the wrong business.

Bob

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 23, 2011 Feb 23, 2011

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Yeh but for us folks here in Europe it's

785 Euros (=  1 077.805 U.S. dollars)

Nearly Double!!!

We have to save twice as hard as the US folks, for the same software...

[/gripe]

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Contributor ,
Feb 23, 2011 Feb 23, 2011

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Hardly twice as hard; possibly twice as efficiently as before the upgrade will result in a null cost.

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