InDesign CS2: Improved Productivity Features

The jump from InDesign 2.0 to the CS version was a no-brainer. The move from CS to CS2, however, required a lot more thought on my part. Is it worth it? Is it a justified expense? Is there anything new that I really need, or is it all luxury?

As a design company of one, time is of the essence. The productivity features that are included in InDesign CS2 were a godsend. Not only are they designed to save time, but they have the potential to increase consistency, reduce repetitive tasks, and streamline integration with Microsoft programs such as Word and Excel. Of course, everyone will have their own favorite features but here are some of the best of the time savers.

Object Styles

Paragraph Styles Palette
(Enlarged version)

With CS2 you can now create and apply styles to objects in the same way that you do with paragraph and character styles. The Object Styles options are extensive and will save hours whether you are formatting individual objects, grouped objects, or even text frames.

Apply Next Style

Object Style Options(Enlarged version)

For those with too much to do in too little time, the option to apply multiple styles at once will save loads of time. InDesign CS2 added a nifty little feature called “Apply Next Style” which allows designers to apply multiple styles with one click. When either creating or modifying a style, all that’s necessary to make use of this feature is to designate the next style option in the edit style box. When applying the style, the feature is available when you right click (control click on a Mac) on the actual style name in the palette.

Interactive Layers

(Enlarged version)

Whether you are importing layered PSD or PDF files, the new interactive layers feature is amazing. Not only can you choose which layers you want visible upon placing, but after placing, the Object Layer Options dialog box allows you to turn the visibility of each layer on and off. This saves the time usually reserved for creating, placing, and replacing multiple versions of a graphic.

Multiple Page Place

Place PDF Window(Enlarged version)

This has got to be one of my most favorite additions to InDesign. With CS2 importing multiple page PSDs is a breeze. Not only that, but you now can access and change the layer visibility of PSDs as well. Enough said.


Snippets. A fast, cool, and totally user friendly way to save an object so it can be dropped into a document, library palette, or email message. It’s as simple as selecting any combination of objects that you would use frequently, dragging and dropping them into either the Adobe Bridge or your desktop where a INDS file will be created.

Other Awesome Time Savers

Drag and Drop: Now you can just select your text and drag it anywhere you want. This option has to be turned on to work in Edit, Preferences (InDesign, Preferences on Mac).

Autocorrect Feature: Although mostly used for correcting frequently misspelled words (acn instead of can), or missed initial caps, the autocorrect options can be customized to include your own personal typing shortcuts.

Automatic Bullets: Finally. No more fooling around with indents and tabs to line up a bulleted or numbered list. And, along with an icon on the control palette for both numbers and bullets, the ability to select and format multiple items all at once, and the option to change the appearance of both bullets and numbers through a simple dialog box, the automatic bullets are an admirable addition.

Footnotes: Not only does the InDesign footnote command work really well, but the ease with which InDesign can now work with Word footnotes is a real eye-opener. Footnotes autoflow with the page they correspond to, and, being someone who has to work with this feature on a regular basis, all I can say is “Thank you, thank you, thank you”.

Although the interface looks pretty much the same as in InDesign CS, CS2 encompasses some of the most welcome productivity enhancements I’ve seen in a long time. Someone was really thinking this time around.

© Copyright 2005 Katherine Huck.

Katherine Huck is the owner of Keystone Consulting. Established in 1998, Keyston Consulting exemplifies professionalism enhanced by creativity and whimsy. Katherine’s impressive hands-on experience as a marketing agent and designer includes: visual and performance arts, education, underground technology, transportation and heavy equipment, communications, and computer solutions. Her extensive copy writing experience is reflected in weekly contributions to The Sudbury Star’s business and arts sections. Visit her website: