It’s been awhile. But I can actually say InDesign CC 2018 adds good stuff for book designers. We have a ePUB sidebar solution which I have been seeking for years—especially since paragraph shading was added in CC 2015.
The latest version of InDesign has several new features which will really benefit book designers and publishers. The main things are that many of the crashing bugs are gone, launch time is improved quite a bit, and many of the bugs in previous versions have been fixed. However, some of the features solve issues I have complained about for years.
InDesign CC 2018 adds good stuff
New features probably important to book designers:
- Paragraph Borders: This is one I’ve been pushing ever since InDesign started exporting professional ePUBs in June of 2013. I was excited when they added paragraph shading in CC 2015. I never could understand why the borders weren’t added at the same time. Regardless, the team added them for this update.
It’s a well-done feature. It works the way you expect. The only problem is that with corners and borders, you will need the four styles that were required by the original paragraph shading feature. They require much more attention than they did with simple shading. I’ll have a full post on this feature on Thursday.
- Ability to remove forced line breaks when generating a TOC: This solves what has been an irritation for nearly two decades now. It’s a simple, elegant fix.
- Font Classification Filters: This may be of more help to you—especially if you don’t really have a good handle on what fonts you own or are going to use. I use my own fonts in large measure. But this option lets you filter for serif, sans serif, script, and several other types.
Here’s the complete list: Serif, Slab Serif, Sans Serif, Script, Blackletter, Monospace, Handwriting, Decorative
- Similar Fonts in Font Menu: This one works surprisingly well. It even accurately adds my fonts.
I’ve heard countless complaints about endnotes for many years
- Endnotes: This major new feature calms the many who have been bugging Adobe for a long time. The production of endnotes becomes simple and easy. You just use the Type menu or right-click and add endnote. The first time you do this, INDEsign creates a new page with a special frame to hold all of the endnotes. As with footnotes, the number of the endnote is added as a superscript number at the insertion point.
I don’t recommend endnotes at all—as you may remember. Maybe if they’re a legal requirement, you might be able to have confidence that they won’t irritate the reader. However, just like we find for graphics, readers do not go looking for a graphic, a footnote, or an endnote. They must be within view from the insertion point.
- Improved stability & bug fixes: Fixed top crashers and many bugs. Fixed 19 previous version bugs. I’m not going to list these, but the InDesign engineers worked hard to fix as many of these things as possible.
- Improved Application Launch Speed: internal tests by Adobe show an average reduction in launch time by 30% compared to CC 2017. But, it seems quite a bit faster to me.
I realize that everyone has a different workflow. So, my assessment of the usefulness of these features might agree with yours. But InDesign CC 2018 adds good stuff for almost everyone.
The rest of the new features are of lesser interest to me though they work well
- Size and Position in Object Styles: Being able set a specific size, at a designated position seems obviously good. I don’t think I’ll use very much—but that remains to be seen. However, it gives us much more control when setting up object styles. The main issue with this is that it really only works in print and PDFs. This control will not work at all in ebooks—though it may do alright in ePUB FXL. I haven’t bothered to test it yet.
- Text as an asset in CC Libraries: I avoid the cloud as much as possible so CC libraries is of no use to me—especially since I’m a sole user in my company. But for truly complex workflows for various clients with multiple marketing pieces with many designers, editors, and the like in multiple locations, it will certainly help.
Accessibility is huge for companies working under federal mandates
- PDF Accessibility Improvements: I know nothing about accessibility, but I’ve seen many complaints over the years. Designers need accessibility where federally mandated. Check out the list of changes I found [certainly a partial list].
- Alt-Txt: Before you couldn’t tag native InDesign objects or graphics as figures. InDesign exports alt txt to the tagged PDF which the screen reader reads.
- Support footnotes
- Tagging anchored text frames and anchored groups
- Master pages tagging: Objects on master pages should not be tagged and be given an artifact tag in the Acrobat Contents panel. Overridden master page items show the tags of page items.
- Index tagging: This has been fixed
- List tag language: Now, list tag language can be set by the user.
- List tagging: Now InD uses the correct structure of nested list tagging.
- Caption tagging: InDesign now supports Live Caption tagging. A figure captioned using live caption gets a caption tag as a child of figure tag.
- TOC: TOC tagging structure has been corrected. Also, TOC containing hyperlinks to have mandatory tags.
- HTML Export Enhancements: This doesn’t affect me, but you may find it important. We now have the option to not include the classes in exported HTML. As I’ve mentioned, for ePUBs I use the classes to make the CSS work well. But coders evidently find this practice offensive.
- Duden Integration (for German language): Writers of German and designers using German call this a huge deal.
- Add Gradients to Groups in Swatches Panel: Many speak excitedly about this one. I find Groups in the Swatches panel to be irritating, at best. In large-shop workflows they are evidently important. But in books, if your color palette is this complex, you probably need to clean things up. However, if you need it, it’s available.