First impressions of Adobe InDesign CS6 on the Creative Cloud

My CS6 evaluation copy expired before I could carry out any meaningful tests, but the time-limited student discount was too tempting, so I finally decided to lease my copy of CS6 through the so-called Creative Cloud.

Since switching between languages was supposed to be possible on the Creative Cloud, this was among the first things I tested. However, things are not as good as we would like.

Non-Latin language support

As anyone from Toronto (or San Francisco) might know, one of the most annoying things about Adobe’s Creative Suite is the lack of a single version that supports all languages that you might need to work with. Although I am neither Persian nor Korean, I live in a neighbourhood where half of the population is Persian (thus requiring ME features) and the other half Korean (thus requiring CJK features), I decided to first try install the Japanese version of InDesign.

Japanese-enabled InDesign

[Screen capture of InDesign CS6, Japanese version, showing the Paragraph Style menu with CJK options]

The Japanese version of InDesign on the Creative Cloud is the true Japanese-enabled version with all the CJK features accessible. However, there is no UI in English, so it will not be usable if you cannot read Japanese at all; for me I can make out most of the menu items, though finding the menu items will take longer than usual.

One thing that caught my attention was that while in the English version of InDesign there is a “More options” button in the Document Setup dialog, in the Japanese version there are two buttons for additional options: One corresponds to the usual “more options” button that sets up margins and bleeds, the other is a CJK-specific dialog that sets up the character grid.

ME-enabled InDesign

[Screen capture of InDesign CS6, English-with-Hebrew-enabled version, showing the Paragraph Style menu with ME options]

I next tried to install the English-with-Hebrew (English תומך עברית) version of InDesign. Having gotten the true Japanese version of InDesign previously, I was expecting to see a true ME version. As expected, this is the true ME-enabled version of InDesign with full right-to-left support.

I remembered that CJK support was somewhat intact, but a subsequent attempt showed that CJK support was most likely actually lost. Indeed, conspicuously missing was the character grid setup dialog that used to be part of Document Setup.

Canadian French (which does not work)

The third version of InDesign I attempted to install was Canadian French. This turned out to be a total disaster: First, the resulting UI was not in French at all, but in English; more importantly, all the CJK and ME support was lost.

The Extension Manager showed that the CJK features are actually “extensions” and those “extensions” were still in place, and the Application Manager showed that both the Japanese and the English-with-Hebrew versions were still “installed.” Despite these claims, neither was, for all practical purposes, in place or installed any more.

Further observations

Shared UI’s and the impossibility to easily switch between language families

Other versions I should have tested but did not were the Chinese versions, and perhaps English-with-Arabic. However, an subsequent attempt to restore ME functionality by installing English-with-Arabic seemed to suggest that the Arabic and Hebrew versions are identical except for the default language setting and perhaps the installed dictionaries.

Other than this discovery, the attempt also proved to be futile. Installing English-with-Arabic did not restore ME functionality. The only way out was to uninstall InDesign completely, then reinstall.

This suggests that although the Application Manager appears to allow you to install any language version at any time, it does not actually have a complete understanding of the interdependencies. It understands that the ME versions share the same “UI extension,” but does not understand downloading one version will overwrite the other version of the UI.

Perhaps whoever developed the use cases or personas was not aware of the Chinese province of Xinjiang, the Canadian city of Toronto, or the country of Singapore.

Bandwidth usage

The installation process also downloads the whole InDesign application every time, so switching between language families is not really feasible as downloading the whole dmg file over and over will take a lot of time and bandwidth. Even if time were not a problem, bandwidth can be expensive.


So the final verdict is that with the Creative Cloud, it is folly to install any version of InDesign that is not CJK or Middle Eastern. Whether you should install a Japanese or ME-enabled version of InDesign will depend on what you are likely to work on more often. It is possible but incredibly difficult (and potentially expensive) to switch between language families.

If you have two computers, it would be best to install a CJK version of InDesign on one and an ME-enabled version on the other.

It is not known whether it is possible to “save” an installed version of InDesign somewhere to avoid downloading it over and over.

Although both the United States of America and Canada are immigrant countries and we see multilingual government publications in major cities, the availability of CJK- and ME-enabled versions of InDesign have long been denied to North American users. The Creative Cloud service allows their use to become possible, but it is still a huge hassle if you work with both CJK and ME languages.