Whether you’re an established designer or keen to develop your publishing skills, you’ll probably want to download Adobe InDesign, Adobe’s market-leading publishing platform. InDesign is one of the best desktop publishing software platforms available and used by professional magazine, book, newspaper, and brochure designers.
There are three options to choose from. You can either download a free software trial, subscribe to Creative Cloud on a single-app basis, or go all in and sign up to the complete Creative Cloud suite. In this article, we’ll run through each of the options so you can decide which is the right one for you.
- Also check out our roundup of the best free writing software
Can I download Adobe InDesign for free?
The only way to try out InDesign without paying for it is to sign up for a free trial. As standard, InDesign is a paid-for service, but you can test out the publishing software with a 7-day trial.
The software is compatible with both Windows and macOS, and the trial enables you to access all the features, including the latest updates. You might be pleased to know that you don't need a credit card to benefit from the free trial; instead, you just have to enter an email address, and if you haven't signed up to use Adobe products before, set a password too.
Once the trial ends, you can continue to use the service by signing up for Adobe's Creative Cloud service. As your payment details aren't required for the trial, there are no automatic charges in place. However, if you like the platform and want to continue using it, you can convert to a paid membership during the trial.
Although there are many services online claiming to provide the use of InDesign for free, downloading a hacked copy of the software is illegal. On top of this, you will put your computer at risk of viruses and other malware, as there is no way to confirm the safety of the download.
How do I buy InDesign?
If you want to use InDesign beyond the free trial period, you'll need to sign up for Adobe Creative Cloud. You can choose from several options to do this. Either select InDesign as a Single App, or choose a plan that provides access to more apps in Adobe's creative suite.
Although there is a specific bundle for photographers that includes access to Photoshop and Lightroom, InDesign users are limited to either purchasing InDesign as a standalone app or signing up to the full Adobe suite.
The All Apps plan includes over 20 Adobe apps. Some are likely to be familiar, such as Photoshop, Acrobat Pro, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro. However, many are a little more specialized. For example, Adobe XD is a program that designers can use to work on UX, while Audition is purpose-built for audio technicians.
The jump from the single app price to the full-suite is quite high, so it's worth considering how many of the apps will be useful before signing up. That said, there are savings to be made, as Adobe regularly provides discounts. For example, at the time of writing Adobe was offering a 20% discount on InDesign subscriptions.
Furthermore, Adobe has different rates for individuals and businesses, and students and teachers can benefit from a 65% discount on the All Apps plan.
What’s the price of InDesign?
As you've probably realized by now, InDesign is available to buy on a subscription basis. The cheapest option, if you just want to use InDesign software, is to purchase it as a single app.
The cost of the subscription varies depending on how you choose to pay for it. For individuals, the annual plan costs $20.99 per month when paid in monthly installments, or $239.88 a year on a prepaid basis. You can also pay for a rolling plan paid on a month-to-month basis for $31.49 per month.
Each of these plans includes access to the most up-to-date InDesign features and updates, 100GB of cloud storage space, and use of Adobe Portfolio (a portfolio website builder), Adobe Fonts (a massive, fully-licensed font library), and Adobe Spark (a platform for quick graphics and video creation) as well.
If you are a small business owner and wish to purchase InDesign for a team or department, the price is $33.99 per month per license on an annual contract. The business plan also includes an Admin Console for license management, 24/7 tech support, two one-to-one expert support sessions per user annually, unlimited job posts via Adobe Talent (a jobs board for creatives hosted on Behance), Slack and Microsoft Teams integrations, and 1TB of cloud storage.
To get InDesign through an All Apps solution as an individual costs $52.99 per month on an annual contract, $599.88 on a yearly pre-paid plan, and $79.49 monthly with no annual contract. For business users, the All Apps plan costs $79.99 per license per month.
Although InDesign may be the best known desktop publishing app, it’s not the only one in the market. There are other options available.
Some of the most popular include Microsoft Publisher (an easy-to-use publishing platform that seasoned Microsoft users will have no issues navigating) and QuarkXPress (a well-established desktop publishing software that has been gradually pushed into second place by InDesign).
More recently, Affinity Publisher has entered the space with an affordable offering that could one day rival InDesign, especially in regards to home users.
However, today, InDesign is the undisputed industry leader and beloved by professionals and amateur designers alike. If you’ve never tried it and want to test the features, there's nothing to lose by signing up to the free 7-day trial.
- Also check out our complete list of the best desktop publishing software