InDesign vs XPress

in Mac Software edited January 2014
I know there have been several threads on InDesign vs XPress, but thought I'd chime in with my own experiences. First a little history: I'm design director at a UK web agency, and all the apps I use on a daily basis are OSX native and I've been running OSX for quite a while, and really loving it since Jaguar. Many years previously I was a successful Print designer and knew XPress inside out, although the application frustrated the hell out of me, with important documents corrupting and an interface from Hell (well, System 7: it never took advantage of Platinum). I thought I'd give InDesign 1.0 a try - the touted Quark-Killer. Even though I loved the paragraph composer, the app was too slow and frustrated me even more than XPress, so I never made teh jump. And well with my life taking me more and more over to the net side of design I didn't give it too much thought.

Before Christmas I was commissioned by Macformat magazine in the UK to write a series of articles on Typography, with the first one being a tutorial on laying out body copy. I figured that this would be a perfect time to compare XPress with InDesign 2.0 and have spent the last few weeks playing with both apps.

All I can say is that I am extremely impressed with InDesign and in just about every area blows the doors off XPress. InDesign feels responsive and hasn't sunk with anything that I've thrown at it, and on a feature-for-feature comparison, InDesign just seems to go that extra mile.

At the end of the, the quality of the output is what counts, and InDesign can produce stuff equal to XPress output. But being able to place Photoshop files with alpha transparency into your work and easily export PDF files, was the icing on the cake and turned me into a convert.

My wife is a print designer and she still uses XPress in OS9. But she's not dependent on a legacy plug-in system and she's producing more and more PDFs to send to printers rather than XPress files, so I'm trying to encourage her to move so that we no longer have to boot into OS9 at home, which is a pain in the butt.

It's going to an interesting experiment to see if she does move and how she'll cope. She's interested, although slightly suspicious of InDesign, but that's mainly because she knows XPress so well.

Something I found quite impressive was how InDesign had taken the elements of Illustrator and XPress and rolled a best-of-both-worlds scenario.

Although I sympathise with those who can't move from XPress because of a dependance on XTensions or because their printer or repro house would rather work with XPress files, for everybody else I would strongly suggest you give the application a whirl (You can download a thirty day trial version from Adobe). It's surprisingly familiar to XPress so really should have no problems adapting.

And no, I'm not a stooge from Adobe, I'm just filled with the zealousness of the recently converted!
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