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Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £999
inc VAT

Not much has changed since CS5, but the mobile tools are interesting. Keen app developers should consider an upgrade

Just a year after Creative Suite CS5 launched, we have Creative Suite 5.5. It’s not just a service pack, though – Adobe has moved from two-yearly product updates to yearly dot-5 releases. Not every part of Creative Suite has changed with this release, but there are some significant updates.

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There are five editions of 5.5 in total. To get every single package you’ll need to buy the Master Collection, which is around £2,700 for the full version. The Production Premium version contains Adobe Premiere Pro but has no InDesign, so is really designed for video production, while Web Premium contains professional applications to help with content delivery across different platforms. For this reason we’re going to concentrate on Design Premium and Design Standard, which between them cover graphic and web design. The table here shows the differences between the editions. There are other packages such as Flash Catalyst, Bridge and Device Central, but we’ve focussed on the major elements in this review.


The cheapest edition, Design Standard, is aimed at graphic designers and includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat Pro. Photoshop, for image editing, and Illustrator, for vector-based graphic illustration, haven’t changed, but Adobe has launched a new Touch Software Development Kit. This SDK is designed to help programmers develop apps for touchscreen devices, which will then communicate with the Creative Suite applications over Wi-Fi. Examples include Eazel, Colour Lava, and Nav for the iPad. Eazel is for finger painting, Colour Lava lets you mix colours on the iPad’s screen and Nav lets you pick and choose functions from Photoshop’s toolbars to display on the iPad’s screen to make them quicker to select.

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The major changes in Design Standard are to InDesign 5.5, which now has more features geared towards publishing on mobile devices. There are tools to help produce book titles in the ePub format, such as the Articles panel, which lets you determine in what order objects appear on the page – in previous versions of InDesign, this was only determined by the page layout. You can resize images dynamically depending on the width of the page, and there’s now support for adding audio and video.

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