How to get InDesign on a Mac

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Macworld

If you’re looking to get a copy of Adobe InDesign for Mac, and wondering how and where to download it, this article contains everything you need to know. Also, we explore whether you can get InDesign for free.

What is Adobe InDesign?

InDesign is Adobe’s design software for magazine and other publication-style layouts. You can put together great-looking brochures, newsletters, posters and of course longer-form magazines, all with powerful tools to make everything look cool and professional. It comes with plenty of tutorials to get you up and running, plus 100GB of cloud storage for your creations.

Can I get InDesign for free?

Yes, but only for a limited period: Adobe offers a 7-day free trial allowing you to test out the package to see if it’s what you’re after. And this gives you access to the full version, not a feature-limited one, so it’s well worth giving it a go even if you intend to buy the software later.

To grab the free trial, go to the InDesign page on the Adobe site (there’s a separate UK page) and click the Free Trial button next to Buy Now. You’ll need to create or sign into an Adobe account to be able to use the software, but this is easy to do when you’re at the checkout.

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How much does InDesign cost?

$22.99/£21.98 per month (if you commit to a year-long subscription)

$34.49/£32.98 per month (if you want to be able to cancel at any time)

$263.88/£262.51 per year (pre-paid)

If you want ongoing use of the full version of the software, you’ll need to sign up to one of Adobe’s various subscription tiers for Creative Cloud. Gone are the days when you could pick up a boxed copy of the software and have it for years; now Adobe insists upon a monthly charge. If this sounds a little daunting, you might be reassured to hear that the software does get regular updates, and any new features are immediately added to your version of InDesign. That’s the good part of the subscription approach.

If you go to the main page for Creative Cloud, it can be tricky finding the subscriptions that just come with InDesign. Your best bet is to visit the InDesign product page (or the UK equivalent) and click the Buy Now button.

At time of writing, the standalone cost for InDesign is $22.99/£21.98 per month if you sign up for a year-long subscription. (That’s $275.88/£263.76 in total.)

If you’re prepared to pay up front for the whole year, then it costs a little less: $263.88/£262.51. On the other hand, there’s also the option to have a rolling monthly subscription, where you can cancel at any time, but that costs more: $34.49/£32.98 per month. (That would work out as $413.88/£395.76 if you kept up the subscription for a year.) The latter option might work for you if you only need InDesign temporarily, but for longer than the free trial lasts.

Alternatively, if you want to use other Adobe products alongside InDesign, then a Creative Cloud subscription (here’s the UK page) offers access to a wide range of Adobe software, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro and Acrobat Pro. Obviously, the price is somewhat higher for this comprehensive package, with the current cost coming in at $59.99/£56.98 (annual, paid monthly), $659.88/£656.21 (annual, paid up-front) or $89.99/£85.48 (monthly, cancel any time).

To see all the pricing for the various apps in Creative Cloud read: Adobe Creative Cloud pricing: How to get the best deal.

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Is there a student discount for InDesign?

Yes. The Student and Teachers subscription (click the tab with this label rather than Individuals) offers a huge discount over the normal prices. You can’t get a student subscription solely for InDesign, but instead Adobe knocks the price off the Creative Cloud tier so that it’s actually cheaper than just paying for the individual software. With the discount, you can get Creative Cloud (with more than 20 software titles, including InDesign and Photoshop) for $19.99/£16.24 (annual, paid monthly) or $239.88/£196.27 (annual, paid up-front).

Adobe offers deals for students at certain times of the year.

Where to buy InDesign and get the best price

You can buy and download InDesign direct from Adobe. (Here’s the UK page.) From time to time you can save money by buying direct, with Adobe offering deals at certain times of the year, such as up to 40% off for Black Friday.

If you’re looking for a good deal on the full Creative Cloud subscription, try the Adobe page on Amazon (or here for Amazon UK), where we often see the prices cut. At time of writing Amazon has a solid 23% discount for the 12-month option in the U.S. ($507.99), and a brilliant 42% discount in the U.K. (£378.99). Amazon’s prices change regularly, however, so it’s worth taking a look to see if the price is better when you’re shopping.

You can also sign up for a rolling monthly subscription at Amazon, although that’s currently the same price in the U.S. as if you bought direct: $89.99. But even if you manage to snag a good deal, it’s important to remember to cancel before it auto-renews if you only plan to use it for one or two months. This option is not available in the U.K.

Are there any good alternatives to InDesign?

If you’re not desperate to pledge fealty to Adobe, there are some decent alternatives that can help you create publications on your Mac. Perhaps our favourite comes from Affinity, which makes the excellent Photoshop alternative Affinity Photo 2. Its InDesign rival comes in the form of Affinity Publisher 2, which features a huge range of tools to make designs that really pop. Best of all is the price, which is fantastic for the powerful software you’ll be getting.

Affinity Publisher 2 will set you back $69.99/£67.99, which is a one-off payment with no subscription required. The excellent iPad version, meanwhile, can be picked up for $18.49/£17.99 with the same lack of strings attached. (And in both cases, at time of writing there’s a substantial discount, bringing those prices down to $48.99/£47.49 and $12.99/£12.49 respectively. We don’t know if that deal will still be available by the time you read this.)

The best value remains Affinity’s V2 Universal license, which includes all three Affinity products–Designer 2, Photo 2 and Publisher 2–on all platforms (Mac, iPad and Windows) for $164.99/£159.99 with nothing extra to pay. (And again, at time of writing there’s a discount on that price.)

But there are plenty of other InDesign alternatives out there. Other solid choices for include VivaDesigner, QuarkXpress and Swift Publisher.

Related reading:

How to get Photoshop on a Mac

Best Mac for photo editing

Best Mac for designers and graphic design

Personal Software

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