When you are ready to purchase the most recent release of your graphic design or desktop publishing application to get the latest and greatest tools, make sure you know what you're paying for. We've taken a look at some of the most popular titles and provided a list of reviews from around the Web. Before you head off to the computer store, find out if the upgrade is worth the price or whether you might want to wait until the next version.
Adobe Acrobat 9 (designer-info.com)
With its incorporation of Flash-based media handling and new integration with Acrobat.com, the Acrobat platform fully embraces the internet age – at last.
Adobe Acrobat made its public debut back in 1991 and the PDF (Portable Document Format) it introduced was intended to become the universal format for design-rich, cross-platform electronic communication. The launch of the World Wide Web in the same year forced Adobe to radically revise its plans, but the Acrobat platform survived and eventually prospered by making itself indispensable to a whole host of workflows: documentation distribution, forms handling, secure exchange, searchable archiving, document review, commercial print and so on.
Adobe Illustrator CS4 (macworld.com)
Adobe’s illustration program turns a page (at last).
If you’re someone who started out with Adobe Illustrator back when it was called Illustrator 88, then you’ve seen lots of changes over 20 years. Illustrator is one of a handful of powerful vector drawing products aimed at graphic artists and illustrators, and it’s always been elegant and production-ready. Even if Adobe has sometimes been slow to add cool new features, you could always count on Illustrator’s stability and its color and output engines to perform well in a professional production environment.
If you’re a Mac user who needs a vector-based drawing tool, Illustrator is the biggest and best player around, and the new CS4 version is a solid, impressive upgrade that adds some cool new tools.
Adobe InDesign CS4 (macworld.com)
Pleasant but middling update offers some compelling new tools but no must-have advances
The newest version of InDesign CS4 would be welcome on any layout designer’s desktop. But it may not be worth the price of an upgrade in and of itself; the degree of change is not nearly as strong as users saw in the move to InDesign CS3.
Adobe Photoshop CS4 (macworld.com)
Adobe made some pretty serious changes in Photoshop CS4, especially in the workspace. And while some of them, like the new Application Frame, will take some getting used to (and are optional), they’re changes that are long overdue. Each new version has piled new tools on top of old, and important bits and pieces were getting lost in the shuffle. In fact, you’re liable to see several “new” tools in Photoshop CS4 that aren’t really new at all (like the Hand and Zoom tools); they’ve merely clawed their way back to the surface after being buried. As a result, a few tools have been cut.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 4 (cnet.com)
Adobe Photoshop Elements 4 adds even more power to an already top-flight image editor/organizer package. Equipped with a chic interface and a fantastic toolbox, Elements is the best choice for digital photographers who want to put their photo collection in order and share with others.
Microsoft Office 2008 (cnet.com)
Microsoft Office for Mac 2008 offers good looks that encompass deeper features than other Mac productivity software; business users get full Word mail merge, robust Excel spreadsheets, and better tools in Entourage; amateur desktop publishing features more polished documents; runs on Intel-based Macs.
Microsoft Publisher 2007 (designer-info.com)
New designs, projects and output options boost Publisher's office-based publishing.
QuarkXPress 8 (designer-info.com)
A modern makeover and new Flash authoring capabilities put a real spring in the step of the old timer.