Do you want to download InDesign but you're not sure which route to take? If so, we're here to help. Adobe's various subscription models can be somewhat confusing, with three paths to choose from. You could download Adobe InDesign for free (on a trial basis), sign up to a standalone Creative Cloud Subscription for InDesign, or you could subscribe to all of Adobe's creative apps.
This post will explain all your options, outlining exactly what you need to do to begin using InDesign to create professional page layouts with this advanced page layout software. Adobe InDesign is the industry standard for publication design, used by both students and professionals to create posters, brochures, flyers, newspapers, magazines, books, ebooks, presentations and more (and once you've made them, be sure to save them in the best cloud storage).
Plus, don't forget to take a look at our guides to other Adobe software, such as how to download Photoshop or these brilliant Illustrator tutorials. And if you try InDesign and decide it's not for you, look at these best InDesign alternatives, which include freemium options.
Can I download InDesign for free?
The short answer is: yes, kind of. InDesign is a paid-for tool, but Adobe does let you download a free trial of InDesign for both Windows and Mac. Once you’ve done that, you’ll get seven days to use the full version of the page layout tool, which gives you access to all the latest features and updates.
To take out a free trial, you’ll need an Adobe ID. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, it’s free and only takes a couple of minutes to create. Just go to the Adobe account page, and click Get an Adobe ID.
You’ll also have to give Adobe your credit card details. If you cancel your subscription before the end of the trial, you won’t be charged a penny. If you don’t, though, Adobe will then bill you for an ongoing subscription, so do keep your eye on the calendar if you don't want to pay.
Taking out a trial is the only way to download InDesign for free. Downloading a pirated version from the murkier parts of the internet is not only illegal, it’s also highly dangerous to the security of your devices and data. Along with the pirated software, you’re likely to unwittingly download viruses and malware, and your bank account might end up getting emptied as a result. So that is very much a false economy and we certainly don't recommend it.
How do I buy InDesign CC?
The only way to buy InDesign is as part of a Creative Cloud membership, for which you pay either monthly or annually. Your cheapest option is to subscribe to InDesign alone. Alternatively, you might prefer to take out the All Apps subscription, which is more expensive, but will give you access to all of the Adobe Creative Cloud apps, along with a range of other benefits. (If you’re not sure which CC apps would benefit you, then check out our article Adobe software list: Which apps do you need?).
Tempted by the latter, but worried about the cost? Adobe often runs promotions that might change your mind. Plus, there are always discounts for students and teachers, as well as separate pricing for businesses, schools and universities. So it’s always worth having a look at our Adobe Creative Cloud discount page see what deals are on offer.
What’s the price of InDesign CC?
The cheapest way to buy InDesign CC is through the Single App InDesign plan, which usually costs £19.97 / $20.99 / AU$29.99 per month on an annual plan, and will give you InDesign, plus 100GB of cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Spark.
The other way to buy InDesign CC is through the Creative Cloud All Apps option, which gives you access to InDesign as well as Adobe’s entire collection of creative desktop and mobile apps. This doesn't cost much more than the single app option, so is probably worth it, as you'll no doubt need at least Photoshop too if you're working with images.
InDesign discounts for teachers and students
If you’re a student or teacher, you can buy InDesign as part of a discounted All Apps plan at a much lower rate. Normally, you can get all the Creative Cloud apps, plus 100GB cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Spark for just $19.99 / £16.24 / AU$21.99 per month for the first year, and $29.99 / £25.28 / AU$43.99 thereafter. You can avail of even further discounts on these already-low rates during Adobe's sales throughout the year.
How do I get started with InDesign?
Once you've downloaded InDesign, head over to our collection of the best InDesign tutorials to get started with the software, and improve your skills and understanding. We’ve gathered together a great range of InDesign lessons, all free to access, which will teach you new tricks and how to work smarter and more creatively, whether you're a beginner, intermediate-level or a professional user.
InDesign CC: key info you need to know
Debuting in August 1999, InDesign CC is nearly 22 years old and has become the industry standard for page layout software in the newspaper, magazine and book publishing sectors. It’s typically used by graphic designers, editorial designers, marketing professionals, art directors and production artists to create posters, flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, presentations, books, and more. It's primarily used for print, but it also has digital publishing capabilities.
InDesign is often used in conjunction with the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to create content suitable for tablet devices, and it supports export to EPUB and SWF formats for the creation of ebooks and other digital publications. It also supports XML, style sheets, and other coding markup, allowing for the export of tagged text content for use in other digital and online formats.
As part of your CC subscription plan, you’ll receive all InDesign updates free. The latest version is Adobe InDesign 2021. The latest update (May 2021) has fixed bugs related to previous stability and performance issues, although the previous update (April 2021) added the ability to map optical size to font size.
Adobe InDesign: Android and iOS apps
InDesign is currently only available for Mac and PC desktop computers. However, you can use the free app Adobe Comp to create layouts on your iPad, your iPhone or your Android device, and send those files to InDesign to work on further. Terry White walks you through this process in the video below.
In our view, the best InDesign alternative is Affinity Publisher, which was launched last year by Serif, the makers of Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer. Affinity Publisher is available for a low-cost, one-off fee and requires no subscription.
Another good paid-for option is Quark Xpress, which predates InDesign and still offers a decent alternative for those who prefer a one-off payment to a subscription (albeit a much more expensive one than Affinity Publisher). Our favourite free alternative is the open source tool Scribus, which does a pretty good job at page layout for creatives on a budget. You can see a full list of InDesign alternatives here.