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PageUp/PageDown keys
One of my biggest gripes with InDesign has always been that the PageDown and PageUp keys no longer move the document a full page up or down. Why? Why? Why? It worked in PageMaker. And it’s just intuitive. So why change it?

Beats me, but they did and they never changed it back. So are there better ways to navigate through a long document in InDesign? Yes, there are! Thank you for asking.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Most folks know these first two shortcuts but for the newbies among us we want to share them:
    • Regain that true PageUp/PageDown capability by adding the Alt key. So Alt-PageUp will take you to the previous spread and Alt-PageDown will take you to the next spread.
    • You can skip to the first page of your document by pressing Shift-Ctrl-PageUp, and to the last page by pressing Shift-Ctrl-PageDown.
  • To jump to any page in your file, Ctrl-J will open up a page number dialog box. Enter the page number that you want to jump to and it will take you right there. (Think J for Jump)
  • Want to go back to the page you just jumped from? Use the Go Back command (Ctrl-PageUp) and Go Forward (Ctrl-PageDown) to jump back and forth between the page you’re on and the page you just jumped from.

Mouse Shortcuts

I understand that if you don’t use them all the time, keyboard shortcuts are almost impossible to remember. Just using the mouse would be a better option for the occasional user or for those who just don’t like keyboard shortcuts. Adobe has built in a very good resource for mouse users, but they’ve cleverly hidden it in plain sight.

On the bottom row of your InDesign document window, on the same row where the horizontal scroll bar is, there is a tiny navigation panel on the left side of the scroll bar that you can operate with your mouse.

INDD Page Navigation Bar with Callouts

You may have noticed that the page number of the page that you are viewing appears there. Besides just telling you which page you’re currently on, this miniscule panel does a bunch of nifty mouse-able navigation tricks:

  • Use your mouse to highlight the page number, then type in another page number and hit Enter. It will jump you directly to that page.
  • To the right of the page number in this little navigation panel is a down arrow. Clicking on it will open up a scrollable drop-down window that will let you select any page that you want. Even better, if you are using one or more Master Pages with this document, it will allow you to go directly to any of them as well. All of the Master Pages are grouped at the bottom of the list of document page numbers.
  • On either side of the little page number navigation box are a pair of arrows, facing left and facing right. If your entire spread is being shown in your document window, clicking on the left arrow to take you to the previous spread and clicking on the right arrow will take you to the next spread. But if you are zoomed in to any degree before you use these arrow buttons, they will take you to the previous or next page instead of spread. (Tt actually takes you to the previous/page at the same zoomed-in area.)
  • Just beyond the left and right arrow buttons are buttons that show an arrow with a vertical line. As you may well have guessed, these buttons will jump you to the first spread or the last spread of your document.

Good stuff, eh? So while the PageUp and PageDown keys on your keyboard will still frustrate you, it’s good to know that there are other options that InDesign has provided and then completely forgotten to tell you about.

But then, that’s what we’re here for.

In Adobe’s ongoing quest to add even more value to their Creative Cloud software subscription service, they are now including free online video tutorials on many of the products that make up the Creative Cloud suite. These tutorials are only free to Creative Cloud subscribers. They have been produced by some of the top software training companies, who will continue to add new content each month.

Under their agreement with Adobe, Adobe gets exclusive access to these new tutorials for 14 days, even before the training development companies can make them available to their own paid subscribers. What’s more, the tutorials will remain permanently available to Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers. You can access them from anywhere on any kind of Net-connected device by logging in to your Creative Cloud account and clicking on “Learn” in the black menu bar at the top of the screen.

7-day free trialAs good as this training is, and as good as free is, it’s not as good as our favorite source for online training, There are a couple of reasons for that. First, it’s just not as comprehensive. Adobe currently has a couple of hours of instruction on each of the products covered, 22 courses in all right now. I know that this is just the initial rollout of a new service and that they will be adding to it monthly, but it’s just not fully there yet. offers hours and hours of training on Adobe products — on not just the most current version, but many previous versions as well. As for the number of courses offered, it’s not even close. currently has over 2,000 courses available to their subscribers, and not just on Adobe products, but just about anything you can think of. That’s 2,000 complete courses, not just individual training segments. Viewing a course on is like attending an expensive workshop or seminar on the given product or procedure.

My other critique of Adobe’s free training is that in addition to not being comprehensive, it’s also not cohesive. Granted, I haven’t watched a lot of it, but in the time I spent in the InDesign training area, I saw videos from three different training vendors. In other words, Adobe has assembled training segments from various different sources and cobbled them together to make a topical package. Once again, I like the approach better, where you have one or two industry-leading instructors that teach the entire course. I have some assurance with this approach that there are no gaps in my instruction. If it’s an Intermediate Photoshop Techniques course, I trust that I’m getting a thorough and consistent overview of that level of common Photoshop features.

So kudos to Adobe for launching a service that comes at no extra charge to Creative Cloud subscribers. I look forward to it becoming more fleshed out and valuable in the months and years to come.

If you know me very well, you know that a motto that I live by is, “If it’s for free, it’s for me!” That’s almost always true. Not this time. For the very reasonable price of $25 per month (or $250 for a full year), you can subscribe to what I believe to be the best value in online software instruction available, worth far more than the very reasonable price of the subscription. So if you have some training money left in your budget or you want to make yourself more valuable to your employer (or more marketable to your next employer), check out Click on the ad above to sign up for a free 7-day trial. You’ll be glad you did. Here’s a sample of a training video from (You’ll need to move your mouse over the black rectangle below to access the video.)

Computer industry news source ZDNet published an article today called “Microsoft security research paints bleak picture for XP users”. You can click on the title to read the whole report, or you can save yourself some time and just peruse our executive summary:

  • Windows XP was released in October 2001. That’s 12 years ago, which is forever in computer years. But, as Windows versions go, XP has been a rock-solid workhorse. Thrifty users, both individuals and businesses, who don’t have a pressing need to upgrade to the latest and greatest new software, have hung onto Windows XP and milked it for all it’s worth.
  • That ride is coming to an end. You can still continue to use your antiquated XP, but do so at your own risk. Microsoft will stop issuing security updates for it in April of next year. Once the last Windows XP patch is issued, unpatched vulnerabilities will begin to emerge. With no one watching the store, the bad guys will loot and pillage to their hearts’ content.
  • Even before all this happens, the vulnerability situation for XP users is bad compared to later versions of Windows. Microsoft has steadily incorporated new defensive technologies into Windows with each new version. Windows XP is 12 years behind in that defensive technology. As such, Windows XP users are many times more likely than Windows 8 users to become infected with malware. The number of vulnerabilities in Windows XP has steadily increased over the last few years. Things will get worse — much worse — when Microsoft stops releasing security patches in April.

The moral of the story is that it’s time for every XP user who is connected to the Internet or who receives files of any kind from any outside source to make plans to scrap their beloved operating system and make the move to Windows 8 (or at least to Windows 7 if you can still find it). XP has become a “bad neighborhood” for system security, a magnet for malware. It’s time to pull up stakes and head to higher ground.

On the bright side, Windows 7 and 8 open up the bold new world of 64-bit computing. Windows XP was a 32-bit operating system, a 32-lane data highway so to speak. (OK, there was a 64-bit version of XP, but it was rare. Who needed 64 bits in 2001?) It moved data around in 32-bit (4 byte) chunks. Windows 7 and 8 come in both 32-bit and 64-bit variations.  Take the 64-bit option.  It allows your system to access more memory, it runs all of your 32-bit software, and it opens the door to 64-bit software. Notably, the newest versions of Adobe’s Creative Cloud software require a 64-bit operating system, so go with the 64-bit option and hopefully you won’t have to upgrade your operating system for another 12 years.

But don’t count on it.

If you’ve got text on your page, it needs to be edited and proofread. The act of writing, especially on a computer (is there any other way these days?), is error-prone. When I write something I’m frequently tweaking it as I go — lots of deleting and adding, cutting and pasting. If you don’t watch it, things can get pretty garbled in the process.

Case in point — I recently had the pleasure of proofreading a very short piece written by someone else (who will remain unnamed) on the topic of “the key to creating quality documents.” Here’s what she submitted to me:

This is probably the most single significant control in the development of your document. Poor version control means wasted hours errors.

I trust that proves my point. She knew what she was trying to say, and I was able to figure out what she meant, but left on its own, it was not a “quality document.” The addition and deletion of words is like a surgeon who stitches up a patient, leaving a sponge and tweezers inside. You need to take a good look at these things before you call it a done deal.

I’m a pretty solid proofreader, if I do say so myself. I’ve always taken great pleasure in finding fault with other people’s work. Aside from that, I believe that a shortcoming of mine contributes to my thoroughness as a proofreader; namely, I’m a very slow reader. I’m like half a notch up from moving my lips while I read. I “subvocalize.”  I took a speed reading class once and boosted my reading speed by over 300%. It also decreased my reading enjoyment by 300%, so I pitched it and went back to my glacial pace.

But I think my subvocalization really works for me as a proofreader. When I got the hot mess mentioned above, I went back to Sandy the author and asked her to read it out loud. In the words of late, great American novelist Kurt Vonnegut, “It read like it was written by Philboyd Studge.”

I made a couple of tweaks to it. The finished product said:

This is probably the single most significant safeguard in the development of your document. Poor version control leads to errors that waste hours of your time.

Yeah, that’s what she meant to say.

Proofreading and editing. If you want a higher quality product, one that won’t make you cringe when it comes off the press, proofreading must be a priority — and multiple proofreaders reviewing the document multiple times is the best approach.

Check out this blog from a few months ago for more proofreading tips.

Click here to download our proofreading checklist.

And by the way – the document I was proofreading was our enewsletter, the Alpha Channel. If you’re not on our mailing list and would like to receive it, click here.

To checkout archives of our enewsletter, click here.

In our last blog, we talked about the best way to insert graphics into Microsoft Word and demonstrated the settings that would preserve the quality of the original image without decompressing the life out of them. Following that procedure is a huge improvement toward maintaining the quality of your final printed document, but the best approach is to always keep the original graphics files as separate files, not just a copy of the file embedded within Word.

But we all live in the real world. Sometimes images are inserted into a Word document and then wander away from the herd. How do you extract graphics from Word and get them into your InDesign document in a way that gives something better than poor results? We’ve found a couple of approaches, one better than the other, and we’re happy to share that knowledge with you.

First Method: Word to HTML conversion

  • First, do a Save-As of your Word document, selecting as your new file type “Web Page, Filtered”. It will create an HTML version of your Word file and open it in Word. (You might want to remember this tip for the next time someone asks you, “How can I make a webpage from a Word document?”)
  • We’re not concerned with the resulting Word / HTML file itself, so you can go ahead and close it.
  • Use File Explorer to go the directory (aka folder) whree you stored your Save-As HTML file and you’ll find all of the graphics from the Word file saved as GIF files. They’re small and they’re bitmapped, but they’re there. Use them as you see fit.

Second Method: Word to ZIP conversion

  • Save a copy of your Word file as a DOCX file.
  • In File Explorer, rename the DOCX copy from filename.DOCX to filename.ZIP. (You’ll get a warning message that says something like “Are you sure you want to do this?” Yes, you want to do it.) The Word DOCX file format is really just a disguised ZIP file! Who knew?
  • When you unzip the newly named ZIP file, there will be a number of folders inside. You might need to drill down through a layer or two of folders to find what you need, but you’re looking for a folder called “Media”. The Media folder has all of images broken out as either EMF (Enhanced Meta File) or JPEG files, either of which can be imported into InDesign. Or you can bring them into Photoshop and edit them as desired.

Recent Results from Testing Both Methods

In a recent test we performed, the files extracted by the ZIP method were much better quality than the GIF files produced by saving the Word file as a Filtered Web Page. By comparison, one of the extracted GIF files was 14 KB, 72 dpi, and measured 2.83″ x 3.25″. The same file extracted from the ZIP file weighed in at a hefty 2,596 KB at 96 dpi and measured 7.83″ x 9.24″. Now that’s something you can work with! While 96 dpi is too low resolution for high-quality printing, the graphic was only needed at 3″ wide. When we downsized the graphic (without resampling it) we were able to boost the resolution to an acceptable level.

This process is an emergency recovery method that you don’t really want to have to resort to. Even the better of these two (darned cleaver!) approaches will not give you results that are as good as using the original source graphic files. Your best option is always to keep the original graphic files and provide them to your desktop publisher when you’re ready to move your document from the draft stage to a professionally desktop published document. Your promotional products vendor will also thank you when you provide a decent logo for an order of pens or T-shirts.

One final thought: Always keep the original graphic files!

I’ll bet you already know how to insert an image into Microsoft Word. You’ve probably been doing it the same way for years. It’s easy and it works. Right up to the point where you want to print the file with anything close to decent quality. The graphics come out looking anywhere from marginal to pure crap. Why is that and how can you prevent it?

Word’s default setting compresses graphics by decreasing their resolution. It does it automatically in the background, and I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that you didn’t even know it. And you probably didn’t know that there was something that you could do to change it. (We didn’t until recently.)

Go to the File menu and select Options down near the bottom of the list. The Options dialog box opens with a menu in the left column.

You want to select Advanced.

The Advanced Options dialog box has a lot of stuff in it that you’ve probably never seen before. Some of it can be darned useful for giving you more control over how your Word documents are created, saved, and printed. The various options are grouped together under subheadings. I’m using Word 2010. In my version, the stuff we’re looking for right now is in the third subhead, called Image size and Quality.

Word OptionsRight next to the words “Image Size and Quality” is a drop-down box. This will give you the option of applying the settings you’re about to change to this document, to any other Word document that you currently have open, or to all new documents. I went with the All New Documents. (See the top circled box above.)

There are a couple of check boxes under the subhead of Image Size and Quality. The second check box says “Do not compress image in file.” There it is! Put a checkmark in that box to disable the automatic file compression that’s been taking place since forever. (See the second red circle above.) Not only will this make your images print better, it will also be the best option for when you lose the source graphic and have to resort to copying the image from Word and pasting it into another file.

In our next blog, we’ll discuss extracting graphics out of Word when you have to have a discrete source file.

3D Maze with Green ArrowMany people and new businesses want to have a website, but for those who’ve never done it before it’s hard to know where to begin. There’s no shortage of ways to set up a website and the multitude of options can be paralyzing for newbies. There are a number of things to consider that don’t necessarily meet the eye of someone who hasn’t done it before, so we’re going to break it all down for you. As you go through this, if you have any questions, leave a comment or give us a call (419-660-0500). Or if you decide you just want to hire us to do some or all of it for you, we can discuss that, too. Let’s begin.

Web Hosting

One of the least obvious issues is that you have to select a company to host your website. Your website won’t run off your computer. You need to hire a web hosting firm to be the “broadcaster” for your website. We like Siteground. We’ve moved all of our websites to Siteground. Their prices are good and their customer service (when we’ve needed it) has been unbelievably good — very fast response times and quick resolution of all of our questions or problems.

While the web hosting decision is foundational to getting your site up and running, you should choose your host based on other decisions that are discussed below. Signing up with the web host is actually one of the last things that you do in the chain of events, but worth keeping in mind throughout the process.

What’s Your Address?

Another big consideration is choosing the web address for your site. The address is also called your domain or URL. Your domain will be the address that people will use to go to your site and will be the name that your audience thinks of your site as, so this is a very important decision. Be forewarned that every good and obvious domain name that you want may already be taken by someone else. Just because a name isn’t available doesn’t mean it’s actually in use by someone else. Good domain names are bought up by speculators who think they will be wanted by someone someday and will sell you the rights to it at a premium. Back in the days when the web was new, a lot of people got rich quick by buying up names like and selling them to the Pepsi company for vast amounts of money. So be advised that a lot of domain names are taken, whether they are actually being used or not. If you’re desperate and have deep pockets, you can buy the rights to one of these taken but unused domains, but most of us will just keep looking for unlicensed alternatives. We recommend sitting with a small brainstorming group (very small), a bottle of wine, a whiteboard and internet access. As names are considered, you can list them on the whiteboard while someone else checks for their availability. The bottle of wine makes the session more productive. Trust us on this. We’ve done it before. More than once.

There are several websites from which you can buy your domain. They will let you do a search for the name you want to use and will let you know if it’s available or not. Some of these sites will suggest variations on the name if the one you want isn’t available. Then they will sell you the rights to use the domain name on a contract basis. The company that we use for buying our domain names is NameCheap. Click on the link to check them out. Sandy has more experience with domain buying than I do and she strongly suggests that you not buy your domain name from the same company that does your web hosting. I always do what my wife strongly suggestions, so enough said there.

When it comes to domain names, I recommend staying with a “dot-com” address unless you have a good reason not to. Some sites use .org or .info or .net or whatever, but .com is by far the one that most people will think of when they try to find you online. If the main part of your domain name is already taken by a .com, you might be tempted to buy the same name with a .net or .org extension (it will probably be temptingly cheap), but I can guarantee you that nearly all of your potential users will go to .com first. When they don’t find you there, they may or may not think to try .net or whatever. One of the more famous examples of this is the White House’s website: For years there was another site by the same name with a .com extension. It was a porn site. They knew that most people would type in .com by default and come to their site instead. Eventually the White House pulled the plug on those guys.

When you find a domain name that works for you, you might want to consider buying the rights to the .com, .net, and .org versions as well, and having all of them link to your .com site. That way no one else will have access to a name that is identical to yours in every way except what follows the dot, and if your users type in the .org or .net variation, it will always take them to you. Just a suggestion, not a necessity.

Bottom line: Go with a .com if at all possible and avoid good names that already have the .com version taken.

Choose Your Platform

The next major decision you have to make is what “platform” you’re going to use to build your website. There are lots of different software and systems that you can use to create a website. This decision is the biggest fork in the road that you will come to. Once you choose a certain path, you’re on it. Deciding later to go with something else will likely require a complete rebuilding of your site to make the change. Options include coding it in HTML or going with one of the trendy, template-driven platforms such as Joomla, Drupal, DotNetNuke, or WordPress.

Fortunately, this decision has almost become a no-brainer for a lot of people. There is one platform that is dominating the web market right now with almost 20% of all new websites worldwide using it. It’s what we use for all of our websites. We’ve gone with WordPress. WordPress is easy to use, easy to update and maintain, many consider it to be fun, and best of all, it’s free. There is a paid version of WordPress. Don’t go with it. The free version is actually a much better and more flexible option.

Let’s detour here to talk a little bit about your website and what you want it to do. Many first-time website owners want to keep it simple and basic. They wisely don’t want to get in over their head. They plan to add on to it as they go. Many folks just want a static page that acts essentially like an online billboard. Sounds nice, but you will undoubtedly want and need more than that. Soon you’ll want to convey timely information to your readers, and a static (i.e., unchanging) page isn’t going to do it for you. Many business sites will want to have the capability to tell their readers news about their business — new products, services, capabilities, or special sales or events. In other words, you’ll probably want your site to promote your business in a timely and dynamic way. (You should have a Facebook page for your business, too, but that’s a topic for another blog.) Later on, you might even want to grow into having a forum on your site where regular visitors or members would have a semi-private online community. WordPress is ideal for that kind of stuff and it’s very easy to modify and add on to as your site grows.

You Need a Theme

The web host and platform that you choose are behind-the-scenes decisions that your website visitors will never know or care about. They’re much more concerned about how easy it is to get to your site (i.e., good domain name), and how easy it is to use and navigate your website once they get there. These are website design issues.

WordPress sites are run from a template or “theme.” A theme is a “skin” that defines the layout and design which holds the content of your website. You can change themes in WordPress with the click of your mouse, reformatting your content into an entirely new design. The content remains the same, but your layout is all different. The choices can be overwhelming, but it can be fun to shop through all the options that are available to you. Pick one theme or several, copy them to your WordPress site, and start pouring in your content — words, photos, whatever.

The beauty of WordPress themes is that you can download free themes created by WordPress developers and hobbyists, or you can buy professionally designed themes that provide a lot of advanced features, or you can design and build your own themes using software that generates all of the code for you while you just make visual design decisions.

We’ve never used a free or store-bought WordPress theme. We have a couple of different software packages that generate WordPress themes, so we’ve always “rolled our own.” We’ve mainly used a template generator called Artisteer. It’s a very cool and unbelievably simple website generator that you can use to create WordPress themes. If you want to go there and download the free demo to play with, it might change your whole life. You can jump right in and start using Artisteer without reading the instruction manual. It’s so easy a 7-year-old can generate cool website designs that work.

Get Up and Running

Once you’ve acquired a WordPress theme by whatever means, you copy the files to your webhost and start adding content through the WordPress “dashboard.” Once you tell WordPress to post your content, the rest of the world can view it on your site. It’s a beautiful thing.

While this step is getting the least amount of space in this article, it’s really the most important and time consuming. Creating content – that is, the words and pictures your visitors will find when they visit your site – should be where you spend most of your time. Yes, the design must be user friendly so visitors can find all your wonderful content, but if your content isn’t worth finding, everything else you’ve done has been a waste of time.

Yes, there are a lot of steps involved and it can be massively confusing, but truth be told, none of it is really very difficult. Once you’ve been through the procedure a couple of times it’s no more difficult than firing up your word processor and drafting a letter.

We Can Help

We’re happy to be your guides through the process. Give us a call (419-660-0500), let us know what you’re thinking, and we can help you create a place of your very own on the web.

It seems like most online businesses are intent on getting your email address so that they can bombard your inbox with tempting offers and fascinating announcements — which you have no interest in whatsoever. They enticed you with some attractive come-on offer, but your relationship with them lost your interest long ago. Now you just want out. You want to close your account. But how do you do it and how easy (or hard) is it going to be?

There’s an app for that! Well, not really an app, but a website called JustDelete.Me. Just Delete Me is a single-page site that has the names of dozens upon dozens of websites that you may have an account with. The sites are listed in alphabetical order for ease of searching, and color-coded to indicate how simple or difficult the process of deleting your account is going to be.

For example, do you want to close your Dropbox  or eBay account? That’s easy. Ready to say goodbye to etsy or iTunes? That’s harder. (Not just the concept, but the process.) How about closing your account with Netflix or Evernote or Pinterest or Starbucks? It ain’t gonna happen. Impossible.

So check out JustDelete.Me to see the list and click on any website name to go to a page on that site that gives information about cancelling your account with them.

Warning! This may backfire on you. Looking at the list of all the interesting sites on JustDelete.Me might lure you into starting accounts with new sites that you had never known about before. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you.)

PrintFriendly_logoI spend a lot of time on the Web researching products, finding recipes, learning new stuff – you name it. As such, I have a frequent need to make a print web pages, usually to pass off to someone else.

If you’ve done much printing from websites, you know that it can be problematic. It might print everything, including ads, log-in boxes, headers, and a bunch of other things that aren’t really what you want. Some sites will frustratingly not print the section of the page that you went there for. Other sites just don’t seem to want to print at all.

What to do?

I’m happy to say that I’ve found a Web-based app that can make your site printing much easier.  Go to this site and enter the Web address of a site or page that you’d like to print. Print Friendly will generate an interactive preview of the output for your review. It eliminates all the ads, navigation, and Web crud, leaving you with very usable output.

How usable? How interactive?

  • For starters, it gives you the option to print the site, save it as a PDF, or send it in an email.
  • It gives you the ability to increase or decrease the size of the type.
  • Print Friendly gives you the option to show or hide all images.
  • Not only that, but as you hover your mouse over the page, it gives you the choice of deleting any section of the page with a click of your mouse. This is slick. Be careful, though, because if as you hover between paragraphs Print Friendly highlights the entire page. If you highlight the entire page and click to delete, your printout won’t have any content.
  • Not happy with the changes you’ve made? Print Friendly has an undo button.
  • Install Print Friendly as a bookmarklet on your browser’s bookmark bar. (Their home page has a link that will take you to the simple directions for a number of popular browsers.) With the bookmarklet installed, you don’t have to go to Print Friendly’s website and enter the address of the site you want to print. Instead, just click the button in your browser’s bookmark bar to access all of Print Friendly’s awesome abilities from the comfort of your target site.

Here’s a short YouTube video of Print Friendly in action:

Adobe Creative Suite 6
This week in Los Angeles, Adobe is holding their annual Adobe MAX conference for users, developers, and industry reporters. It’s their venue for generating enthusiasm for their product line and their platform for making major announcements. This year’s Adobe MAX was launched with a bang.

Adobe has announced that this is the end of the line for their Creative Suite product line. You can still buy CS6 (for now, at least), but this will be the last time you will be able to purchase any software from Adobe.

Say WHAT!!??

Yep. After this, Adobe will no longer “sell” software. From this point forward, everything is moving to the Cloud.

Adobe’s “Creative Cloud” is an Internet-based software subscription model that has been in effect for almost a year now.While some people have balked at making the leap to subscribing to software rather than purchasing a license (read the End-User License Agreement on any piece of software — you never “owned” any of it — you just bought a license to be able to use it), there are a number of advantages to Adobe’s Cloud scheme. The cost of subscribing to the Creative Cloud is about the same as buying an upgrade under the old system, so that’s a wash. But Adobe gives you much, much more software than you got with the Creative Suite, even if you bought the massive-priced Master Collection. Will you use all of that new software? Not a chance in the world. But might you use some of it? You bet. (At least I know that I will.)

Another advantage of the Creative Cloud is that you no longer have to wait a year or two for a major upgrade for your software. As improvements, upgrades, and bug-fixes are made to any of the components of the Creative Cloud, you will be able to download them immediately. And speaking of downloading, you will indeed be downloading the software and running it on your local computer. The software itself doesn’t reside in the Cloud, and you don’t need to have access to the Internet to use the programs once you’ve downloaded them. But you do need to be online at least once a month while you start up any Adobe program to ping their server in the Cloud and let them know that you’re still there. (It’s automatic. No action required on your part.)

Early Adopters

Here at Data Designs Publishing, we’ve been Creative Cloud users since it was first rolled out last summer. Except for the fact that we’re paying a software bill every month like it was a utility bill, we’ve experienced no change to the way that we do business as a result of using the Creative Cloud. Don’t be afraid. It won’t hurt you. Some people have expressed a fear that after everyone gets signed onto the Cloud, Adobe will jack up the price of their software and you’ll either have to pay up or they’ll turn off your ability to use it. That scenario is in no one’s best interest. How many subscribers, how much revenue, and how much trust and reputation would Adobe lose by doing something stupid like that? It would be suicide for them. It isn’t going to happen. But it is true that if you don’t pay your subscription bill, they disable your software until you do.

OK, so how much is that bill? For new users — those who aren’t upgrading from a qualified copy of Creative Suite — a Creative Cloud subscription is $50 per month with a full year commitment. For those who are upgrading from CS3 or above, Adobe is offering a 40% discount until July 31, 2013. That takes the price to $30 per month with a full year commitment. $360 for a full year of all of Adobe’s best software. That’s a great deal! If you want to jump on that before the deal expires, CLICK HERE.