I own a copy of InDesign 5.5 that I bought outright 13 years ago. I haven't used it for the last several years but I now need to work with it again for a publishing project every three months. Have there been enough changes and improvements over the years to make subscribing to the last version worth my money?
One or two, yes.
To start with, you may have trouble getting 5.5 to run — reliably or at all — on anything beyond a Windows 7 system that is blocked from any kind of updates. (Or Mac equivalent; not sur what MacOS version 5.5 is last stable on.)
It's still basically the same tool, but the updates and improvements are almost too long to summarize, much less list.
If your needs are basic, you might be able to use Affinity Publisher instead; it's around $50, standalone, and does a decent job with InDesign files. It does not have many/any of the more advanced features, though.
For one publishing project 4 times a year, probably not. The long term problem will be stability with any outside resource. You can only freeze updates so long before many things stop working properly. (By the way "frozen at 2000 with Win 11" doesn't make sense.)
If you need to exchange files with anyone else (who isn't also using a ancient version of ID), you may run into problems, even using IDML as a transfer format. And Windows has a way of changing its settings and doing (or just demanding) updates no matter what you do. A lot of the stability will require the platform to remain acceptable to 5.5, not just keeping that version of ID stable.
But, bottom line, it works for you, it does everything you need it to do, and you can keep both the system and InDesign operating — I'd say you're good. If you want to keep doing what I assume is a fairly basic project, and want to avoid the obsolescence problems (which WILL creep out and bite you, be assured), and want to avoid the expense of a current subscription... look into Affinity Publisher as an alternative.
>> (By the way "frozen at 2000 with Win 11" doesn't make sense.)
InDesign CS5.5 is frozen at 2000 but continues to run on Win 11 (possibly in compatibilty mode for Win7, but maybe even natively).
My personal opinion, for print-centric use there's not a whole lot new since then that would be worth spending a lot of money. I think CS 5.5 is maybe even less buggy than CS6, which is my main production version so I don't have to pay subscriptions forever to continue to service my two remaining clients a few times a year.
Ah, thanks, that makes sense now (about '2000.')
I completely sympathize with the folks who are staying with the pre-subscription versions, but we know well that many of them have problems getting them to run reliably, and often run into irresolvable issues with some of the "more advanced" features that have either become outdated on a standards/platform level or depend on OS support that has changed.
As long as a system can be kept completely stable, it will work as well as it did in its day, and create finished documents just as well. But at one end is aging out at a software level, and at the other is compatiblity with 20-year-newer apps, OSes and standards. If in between is a useful setup... then good. Because no, at a print/PDF level in particular, the features have not evolved all that much.
There is no doubt that continuing to run old versions is challenging, especially on current OS versions (easier, I think on Windows than Mac), and it requires a lot of backup resources in case something goes wrong and you need to work on your system, not to mention some skill in your basic OS functions.
Not even possible on a new Mac. 32-bit applications won't install.
Depends on what you will be doing.
You can download the trial version of InDesign and try it for seven days to see if you like the changes new features. If you only use InDesign occasionally, you can pay a bit more and subscribe to use it just for the months you need it.
Oh I'd say so. All the additions of the past decade are invaluable to me