Speeding up your InDesign CS5

Posted by Marco on Jun 14, 2010 in INDD

InDesign CS5 is here and not everybody is a happy camper. So what’s up? Well the same old problem… For some people InDesign is really slow even though their hardware is not that old. There are a few things you can do to get InDesign to feel faster though. First thing you might want to consider is to change ‘Live Screen Drawing’ to ‘Delayed’. Choose Edit > Preferences > Interface (Windows) or InDesign > Preferences > Interface (Mac OS). Choose Live Screen Drawing and set to Delayed, and click OK. Now InDesign will work just like the previous versions, so you won’t really notice anything.

Next one up is ‘Live spell checking’. Kill it as it will eat up memory as well. Another quick win is to turn off page thumbnail. And —last but not least— don’t use Photoshop .EPS files. Their preview can slow down InDesign CS5 as well. Another thing you’ll notice straight away is exporting PDF files. After you export it looks like InDesign is just sitting there. It’s not. PDF export is now a “background task”. But you’ll never know because it would appear nothing is happening. You can activate a task bar that will show you the status. Window > Utilities > Background Tasks. If you want to stay informed or read up there is a good topic in the Adobe User Forum discussing the slowness.

Hits: 19577 Comments: 14


  1. Dot | June 23, 2010 | 20:36 CET

    Thanks for that - very helpful.

  2. Bridget | July 16, 2010 | 20:08 CET

    You saved me from throwing my (or actually my company’s) computer out the window. Thanks!

  3. Joe | August 11, 2010 | 16:30 CET

    Bridget I am totally with you on that! I have just been warned that my huffing and puffing isn’t do me or my colleagues any favours… and Mr. Digital Engineer… your a legend. Thanks!

  4. Marco | August 12, 2010 | 09:53 CET

    Thanks guys! wink I know updates on the blog have been a bit slow right now (that will change soon) but I’m moving this site to another hoster and there are some DNS-issues. (Not to mention the fact I got fired. That is taking up a lot of my time right now). Funny how getting fired makes you feel “more alive than ever” by the way.

  5. Matt | December 9, 2010 | 20:27 CET

    Hey thanks! You just helped me shut my co-worker up.

  6. Lynda | February 10, 2011 | 14:07 CET

    I wish I had found this before I had already pulled my hair out and figured it out, but I have one question on the background tasking. I have “view pdf after exporting” checked and after I export the pdf, the file is generated, then the screen immediately flips back to the open InDesign document. Does anyone else have this issue?

  7. Marco | February 11, 2011 | 08:38 CET

    Nope. Can’t say that I’ve that behavior. InDesign did manage to delete all my preferences. I had placed all my tools on a 2nd monitor and InDesign has wiped it back to default several times now.

  8. Zi | June 5, 2011 | 05:42 CET

    Thank you for useful imformations!

  9. Michael Weijenberg | June 16, 2011 | 08:02 CET

    Major Typo Alert in header “Indesign” should of course be “InDesign” (you know me…) wink

  10. Marco | June 16, 2011 | 08:24 CET

    Fixed ‘InDesign’ for you.

  11. Julia | December 6, 2011 | 10:26 CET

    THANK YOU! It seems that delaying the live drawing feature has miraculously worked - wish I’d tried this yesterday before I spent 12 hours slowly ploughing through an InDesign document! You’ve saved me from spending £1500 on ‘urgently’ buying a new Mac this year!

  12. Alan from The Marketing Firm | December 18, 2011 | 00:19 CET

    There is no way I could live without my page thumbnails however turning off the spelling and the redraw settings made a great difference.

  13. Darlene | March 8, 2012 | 19:41 CET

    THANK YOU!!! Works like a charm! I have been dying over here!! You are a GodSend!

  14. Victor | April 5, 2012 | 19:36 CET

    My hero!

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