Update my Mac or find InDesign CS 6? Advice please
May 12, 2020 4:58 PM   Subscribe

Help me find Adobe InDesign CS6, an online back-up system and/or advice on updating my Mac OS please

Quarantine quandary: I have an iMac from 2013 that runs Yosemite at home. I know it's old but it works great. My work has just bought Adobe Creative Suite, but I can't use it on this system. Normally, I would be at work and would get some help updating my operating system (if it can even be updated?) but can't now. I'm fairly good at technical things, but am feeling nervous about doing this myself and possibly screwing up a perfectly good set-up.

Here's the thing: I have a project that they want me to do and it was created in InDesign. The easiest thing I can think to do is find a copy of Adobe Creative CS6 that can run with Yosemite. Barring that, I guess I'll need to back up my computer, update my OS and install the new Creative Suite.

--I've looked around and can't really find Adobe CS 6. Does anyone know of a source that I can purchase it from?
--If I do decide to update my OS, what would be a good online back-up company? (I know, I know, don't berate me. I just don't have a backup sadly--so either way, I will want to do this)
--Is updating your OS a hard thing to do? Things to know? Avoid?

What am I missing? All advice appreciated.
posted by biscuits to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I think trying to buy CS6 may be the riskiest of your options, and I write that as someone who has thus far managed to avoid paying for Creative Cloud. My concern in trying to buy it would be purchasing a set of DVDs (which is the only way I know of to get it now) and having them be counterfeit or have some other issue.

The current Mac OS, Catalina, should be able to run on a 2013 iMac just fine. Fortunately, Catalina has been out long enough that I think most of the bugs have been fixed. I made the jump from Mac OS 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) to Mac OS 10.11 (El Capitan) on a 2009 Mini, then bought a 2012 Mini this past December and jumped to Mac OS 10.15 (Catalina).

So, what I might do in your situation:

1) Buy a reasonably inexpensive external hard drive. You can probably get a 1 or 2 TB hard drive for $40. Plug in the hard drive via USB and then go to Preferences -> Time Machine on your current Mac. There will be a prompt to use the external hard drive as a backup. Select "Yes" to that and let it back up everything you have to that disk. This will likely take some time. Either Eject that disk when you are done or shut down and unplug it. Now you have a backup.

2) Update to Mac OS Catalina. This might take some time also, particularly if your computer has a regular hard drive, rather than a solid state drive (it probably has a standard hard drive).

3) Set up your Adobe Creative Cloud account and download InDesign. Another issue with trying to use CS6 is that whoever made the original InDesign files will have to go back and save them as an earlier version. InDesign has always been the worst at "downsaving" files among Adobe's software, so that's another point where you may have trouble. Further, if you have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription you will have much more interoperability regarding different typefaces used and so on. You can just go to Adobe's Font website and activate whatever typefaces are specified by the document, rather than bugging the original file creators for copies.

I am a big believer in avoiding Creative Cloud and am a huge fan of software like Krita. Just last night I was trying to make Inkscape 1.0 work with my Wacom tablet, even. But InDesign is unfortunately one of those things where there is not much way to work around Adobe.

On the bright side, you will probably be safer updating to the latest Mac OS!
posted by Slothrop at 5:19 PM on May 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Can your work not save the files in .idml for you?
posted by zadcat at 5:25 PM on May 12, 2020

Best answer: I was in a similar situation but needed CS3, and this site came the closest to working without wading into seriously murky waters. I ended up using a newer OS after all, but maybe you'll fare better since your setup is somewhat less ancient.
posted by teremala at 5:54 PM on May 12, 2020

I updated to Catalina and regret it because it won't run 32 bit apps anymore.
This page shows you how to see which of your programs are 32 bit and goes into how to work around the issue (if you buy Parallels). But first I'd just check to see what programs your computer will potentially refuse to run before taking the leap. Now that I updated, I can't play about 2/3 of my Steam games.
If you don't want to install Catalina because of the 32 bit issue you may be able to install a previous OS compatible with whatever Adobe thing you want to work with?
posted by sacchan at 7:49 PM on May 12, 2020

Best answer: Catalina removes iTunes and replaces it with three apps with split responsibility. Mojave still looks solid and will do both 32-bit and 64-bit apps (and @sacchan, for your Steam games you might downgrade to it you wanted).

You could update to El Capitan / Sierra / High Sierra / Mojave* in-place, or running off an external disk. I like to use a cheap and large SSD and a USB3 adapter for an external installation that's nearly as fast as on-board disks. You will have to hold Option, the '\_' key, when you start up the Mac to choose an external disk. Be careful with this because Time Machine backups don't go backward from a newer version of macOS to an older version once they've been connected to the newer one.

*: via "How can I download an older version of OS X/macOS?" at Stack Exchange and Winytips. Note also that older copies of every OS X/macOS installer have signing certificates that expired in November 2019 and will need you to remove the reference to the cert by removing a file called InstallInfo.plist in Install macOS [version].app/Content/SharedServices/or downloading a new copy.
posted by k3ninho at 11:26 PM on May 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Affinity Publisher can open IDML files and runs on macOS all the way back to 10.9. If this isn't a situation where a seamless workflow is a huge priority and you'll need to pass files back and forth to other designers, and you don't have specialty plugins involved, it might be worth a try here.
posted by fifthpocket at 7:25 AM on May 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You should not be intimidated about upgrading the macOS – it's relatively easy!

Slothrop's suggested path sounds good, if you want to upgrade to Catalina.

But as saccharin mentions, some older "32 bit" apps won't work if you upgrade to Catalina. This includes Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 (as I sadly discovered recently).

So, I would suggest you just upgrade to Mojave. That will still allow older 32 bit apps to work, and will also allow you to download and use Adobe CC.

Apple Support provides some nice clear instructions for upgrading to mac OS Mojave.

In case you're worried, upgrading your OS (following Apple's instructions) normally does not delete any of your work files on your computer. But creating a backup is always a good step as a safety precaution.
posted by Kabanos at 10:25 AM on May 13, 2020

Also, don't be afraid to call Apple Support. It can be very reassuring to have a human talk you through the process, or just confirm that you're taking the right steps as you (1) create backup, (2) upgrade OS.
posted by Kabanos at 10:42 AM on May 13, 2020

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