Do I need CS5, Really?
September 25, 2010 6:55 PM   Subscribe

Do I need to buy CS5 just because I have to use the Classroom in a Book for CS5?

I have one of the CS4 packages, bought for the academic price (whee) a year ago. I have a class I'm taking that uses the CS5 InDesign Classroom in a Book for all our projects. This is the first term they're using the new book.

I would rather not spend $300 to get CS5 just for this class, and I'd really rather not spend lots of nights downtown on campus in the computer labs.

So: can I use InDesign CS4 for the projects on the CD?

Note: I asked this of the prof, but it's an online class, and I'm running out of time before the first assignment deadline and there's been no word.
posted by SMPA to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Does it affect your assignment?

In my graphic design class, we're using lessons from the CS3 classroom in a book, even though we're using Illustrator and Photoshop CS5. The teacher explains that the core features in these programs rarely change much, and as far as our assignments go, it doesn't make any difference.

I have CS4 at home, and like you am not planning to upgrade. The only way this affects me is that when I'm working in the lab at school I have to remember to save in CS4 compatibility mode.

So again, does it affect the assignment you're working on right now? What features are you using for this assignment? I don't know InDesign yet, but in Illustrator or Photoshop, most changes from one CS version to another are minor tweaks or helpful new features that you wouldn't really be learning about in a beginner or intermediate class.
posted by malapropist at 7:15 PM on September 25, 2010

Almost all of the CS5 version of the software looks like the CS4 version, but there are a few notable differences. Best best would be to look through the What's New in InDesign CS5 page at the Adobe site.

If your assigned chapters contain some of the features on this page, you will likely not be able to do them in CS4 (or you may be able to do them, but with a workaround that CS5 users do not have to do). For example, if an assignment asks you to create a multi-page document in which each page is a different size, you can't do this in CS4 as it is a new CS5 feature.
posted by dayintoday at 7:53 PM on September 25, 2010

I use CS4 at work and I spent a month using CS5 at home. The only thing that I noticed that was different was that step-and-repeat was a little more intuitive.

Looking over dayintoday's link, it doesn't look like you're really going to run into much. *Maybe* the different size pages...but I can't figure out why you'd need that in the first place.

I guess it's cool that you can track text changes in InDesign, but I was always under the impression that it's kindof a best practice to write everything in a word processor or document editor first, then import into InDesign.

The only thing that might be relevant is exporting to eBook. However I'm not really sure that the whole eBook-only thing is really catching on...I was under the impression that people really only buy eBook versions (on Kindle or whatever) of actual real books.

I don't really know anything about Classroom in a Book. Can you look over the chapters/assignments?
posted by radioamy at 8:42 PM on September 25, 2010

How long does the class last?

Adobe offers a 30 day free trial of the CS5 suite, at

I'm thinking even if the class is longer than 30 days, at least you can work with CS5 for a little while, and compare between CS4 and CS5.

Another option might be to use Remote Desktop Computer (Windows), or a product like Citrix, to remotely control a computer on-campus that's running CS5. It might be slow, but would save you commuting to the campus computer lab just to use CS5. The school's IT staff should have some idea of how you could do this.
posted by sbigelow at 8:26 PM on September 26, 2010

An update with the answer: the book is designed in part to highlight what's new in CS5. Assignments arbitrarily include the "multiple page sizes" feature. I believe it is preferable to get CS5, but my instructor may let me slide.

Thanks, everyone!
posted by SMPA at 7:22 PM on October 7, 2010

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